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Alternative Legal Careers

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Dissatisfaction and disillusionment are common in the legal industry. High billable hour quotas, ceaseless deadlines and large workloads are a few reasons legal professionals leave the profession.

If you’ve determined that a career in the law is not for you, you can apply the skills you’ve developed as a lawyer, paralegal or legal professional to countless opportunities outside the legal profession.

Below are a few alternative legal careers you might explore in your search for a new career path.

Legal Consulting

If you have experience in the legal industry, you can leverage your knowledge into lucrative opportunities consulting for law firms and businesses on law-related issues. Consultants share their expertise on everything from legal marketing, strategic management and communications to legal software and trial strategy.

Large-scale litigation and high stakes jury trials have fueled the need for a growing range of trial consultants. If you have litigation experience, you can put your expertise to use as a jury consultant, trial presentation specialist, trial technology consultant, trial strategy consultant or legal investigator.

In medical malpractice, personal injury, products liability and other matters involving medical issues, nurses with legal knowledge work as legal nurse consultants. Legal nurse consultants review medical records and offer advice to attorneys on the medical issues of the case.

Legal Technology

The dawn of the digital age has ushered in new opportunities for the tech-savvy legal professional. Lawyers, paralegals, IT professionals and legal personnel with a knack for technology can find lucrative positions in the growing fields of litigation support, e-discovery and computer forensics. Your knowledge of legal software and technology applications combined with your insight into the legal process and the needs of clients may make you a good fit for litigation support with a law firm, corporation or legal vendor.

Legal Publishing

As a legal professional, your research, writing and editing skills are top-notch. Put those skills to use in the publishing industry as a legal publisher, editor, writer or web manager. The expanding legal industry has sparked the birth of a diverse range of legal publications that cater to lawyers, paralegals, secretaries, court reporters, litigation support personnel and other legal professionals. Every legal profession has its own series of niche publications that seek skilled writers with experience in the industry.

The Internet has also created new opportunities for the legal professional-turned-writer. You can share your knowledge of the law and showcase your writing skills by writing web content, contributing to on-line legal newsletters or writing copy for law firm websites.

Education and Administration

Another worthy career alternative for the legal professional is a career in legal education or academic administration. While the path to the ivory towers of the nation’s elite law schools is steep, teaching opportunities exist in paralegal schools and continuing legal education organizations. Legal education institutions also hire individuals with legal experience to work in career services, law libraries, alumni relations and admissions.

Dispute Resolution

Crowded court dockets and rising legal fees have prompted a movement to settle disputes outside the courtroom. In the dispute resolution process, neutral arbitrators collaborate with the disputing parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Legal professionals with strong communication, negotiation and conflict resolution skills can find jobs in the growing field of dispute resolution as mediators, conflict analysts, arbitrators or conciliators.

Banking and Finance

The banking and finance industry involves complex legal, regulatory and compliance issues. Legal professionals, particularly those with backgrounds in finance, banking, securities and tax, can leverage their knowledge into lucrative positions in the finance industry as escrow agents, compliance specialists, bank probate administrators, funds administrators, insurance brokers, trust examiners, risk managers and other related positions. Lawyers can also give legal and transactional advice to financial institutions, corporations and the government.

Human Resources Management

Law firms and corporations need talented professionals to manage their legal staff and recruit legal talent. Individuals with management experience, strong interpersonal skills and knowledge of the legal industry can find employment as law firm administrators, hiring coordinators, professional development directors, training managers and legal recruiters.

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