You’ve spent three years in law school—and perhaps some time practicing law—and realize now that the idea of spending time in a courtroom, reviewing contracts, poring over financial statements, taking depositions, dealing with clients, going toe-to-toe with opposing counsel, or keeping track of billable hours turns your stomach. And this isn’t merely a passing phase, but a certainty—you do not want to practice law. Further, you don’t want to undertake additional schooling. What now?
First, take a deep breath. You certainly aren’t the first person to be in this position. A recent survey found that while 97% of the members of the class of 2018 were employed, only 51% were working in law firms. Fourteen percent of the surveyed graduates were working in business, and 13% were in government work.[i] Another report—this one from the International Bar Association—showed that 20% of 3,000 junior lawyers surveyed worldwide are considering leaving the profession altogether by 2027.[ii] Second, take heart. Don’t become preoccupied with thinking that you need to practice law, or that you’re selling yourself short by not directly using your law degree. Third, take steps to use your law degree to your advantage. Having a JD makes you very marketable, and serves as an excellent foundation for doing things other than practicing law. The skills acquired in law school “have broad applicability across a range of fields.”[iii]
What are some of the best options for lawyers who don’t want to practice law?
Alternative Careers to Consider
Preparing for or spending time in a particular career can be quite an investment—in terms of time, money, and effort—and changing jobs can be a daunting undertaking. However, with a law degree or legal experience, you are uniquely situated and prepared for positions in many different fields.
[i] Weiss, D.C. (2022, June 28). Only half of class of 2018 law grads practice in law firms, NALP report finds. ABA Journal. https://www.abajournal.com/web/article/only-51-of-class-of-2018-law-grads-practice-in-law-firms-nalp-report-finds
[ii] Walker, H. (2022, February 1). Over Half Of Young Lawyers Considering Quitting by 2027, IBA Research Finds. Law.com. https://www.law.com/international-edition/2022/02/01/over-half-of-young-lawyers-considering-quitting-by-2027-iba-research-finds/
[iii] Kuris, G. (2022, June 27). Go to Law School if You Don’t Plan to Practice? U.S. News. https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/law-admissions-lowdown/articles/is-law-school-worth-it-even-if-you-dont-plan-to-practice-law
[iv] St. Francis School of Law. (2021, April 16). How Does a Law Degree Benefit HR Professionals. https://stfrancislaw.com/blog/law-degree-for-hr-professionals/
[v] Kolakowski, M. (2019, January 23). Career Options in Finance for Law Degree Holders. LiveAbout. https://www.liveabout.com/lawyers-in-finance-1287193
In our last post, Part 1, we detailed the findings in Section 1 of the Vault Law 2022 Diversity Survey report pertaining to firm policies, efforts, and initiatives in the DEI space. Today, we will walk through the key findings from Part 2, going over current law firm demographics.
Being a lawyer is stressful. Many factors—demanding workloads, long hours, deadlines, billable hour requirements, pressure to secure favorable outcomes for clients, student loan debt, the demands of keeping up with ever-changing law, and innumerable others—contribute to this.
For many of today’s law students, firm culture, location, and practice area remain the most important factors in deciding where to apply. Recently, students have discovered that evaluating these factors — and making the right choice for their legal career — is easier when opting to apply directly to firms for summer positions.
Every year during the week before Thanksgiving week, we take the time to recognize our public school communities by celebrating American Education Week. Now, this week isn’t just about teachers and students, it’s also about some of the unsung heroes of our education system, including administrative staff, janitors, cafeteria workers, and even our school bus drivers.