Staying within the traditional perimeters of the field of law, you may decide that you want to go into private practice or join an already-established firm. You may also want to consider a law department in a major corporation—a job which can often prove to be very lucrative. The political world is also well known for hosting those with law degrees. From mayors to senators, government and state officials must understand our rights and laws before they can protect and enforce them.
If you’ve decided on law school but are searching for a more non-traditional way to use your law degree, take into consideration that many non-profit organizations are headed by lawyers. For example, Elizabeth Dole, former head of the Red Cross, holds a law degree. According to the American Bar Association, 11 percent of law graduates enter the workforce in non-traditional careers. Since they’ve honed their research skills and ability to elicit what they need from people, lawyers are often in non profits because they have strong persuasive-writing skills to obtain grants and funding. Along the same lines, many lawyers are also fundraisers, such as development officers at universities, hospitals, or political campaigns.
If you're searching for some additional ideas as to where your law degree can take you, check out Alternative Careers for Lawyers (Princeton Review) by Hillary Mantis or the perennially popular What Can You Do With A Law Degree? (Niche Press) by Deborah Arron. Despite noise that the market is saturated with lawyers, these books will reinforce that no matter your interests or ideals, the skills and knowledge that lawyers have are an asset in almost any career.
Carlin Carr writes for the bimonthly magazine New England Watershed and for Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and her M.A. from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has taught English in Italy and the United States.