Work + Growth

Build Your Legal Escape Plan: The Top Careers for the Lawyer Who is Ready to Move On


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  • Even if you don’t want to practice law anymore, there are other opportunities within the field you might still enjoy
  • If you look outside of law for your next job, a number of career paths will allow you to put the skills you developed as a lawyer to use
  • If you think you know what you want to do next, reach out to your network and set up informational interviews to learn more

How many of your friends and family supported your decision to go to law school with the old adage “you can do anything with a law degree?”

For those of us who’ve decided to move on from practicing law, it’s good to know they’re right.

If, like plenty of lawyers do every year, you’ve come to the realization that it’s time for a new career, you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of options to explore – all of which will leverage the skillset you built in law school and on the job.

To that end, we’ve laid out seven of the top careers for lawyers ready for a new career that won’t force you to spend another four years (and many thousands of dollars) going back to school.

Teacher/Professor

Did you like law school a lot more than you like being an attorney?

Perhaps you could become a law professor or teacher. Professorships can be difficult to come by, but they’re not the only option for those who think teaching could be a fit – you could teach continuing education, prep students for the bar exam, or even teach at a school for paralegals.

Management Consultant

If you enjoy putting your analytical skills to work, you might consider consultancy. Management consultants are hired by companies to identify operational issues and resolve them, and plenty of lawyers make the transition seamlessly. Be warned, however: A consultant’s schedule can be as demanding as a lawyer’s. Be prepared to travel frequently or work similar hours.

Sports or Talent Agent

Let’s say you’re passionate about deal-making, negotiating … and pop culture. A career as an agent might make a lot of sense. While it isn’t required to be a lawyer to be an agent, many agents are, in fact, lawyers. Actual responsibilities of the role can vary, but generally boil down to overseeing your clients’ career-related needs. Note than being an agent is different from being a sports or entertainment lawyer.

Journalist/Editor

While it might not be a wise move to join the staff of your local newspaper thanks to ongoing industry cuts, there are plenty of legal publications that need informed writers, reporters, and editors … and who’s better informed than a former lawyer? Add your industry expertise to the interviewing and investigating skills you learned on the job, and this career path might be a perfect fit for you.

Recruiter

Whether you opt to recruit in-house for a law firm or another kind of company, you’ll utilize a number of the skills you developed as a lawyer. Recruiters are charged with attracting and evaluating prospective hires, as well as making sure recruiting processes are up to date and legal. Former lawyers are highly in demand for legal recruiting roles, which definitely doesn’t hurt!

Lobbyist

You already understand laws. If you enjoy politics as well, lobbying might be a perfect next stop on your career journey. Lobbyists are charged with figuring out how to sway politicians’ votes on legislation to get them in line with their employers’ interests. Sure, lobbyists don’t always have the most stellar reputation – but by this point, you’ve probably heard every lawyer joke in the book, too.

Investment Banker

Looking for a job in finance in which your lawyerly skills will have some overlap? Consider becoming a banker, perhaps working in M&A or Restructuring, in which knowledge of the legal code is pretty much a requirement. This area might be a logical step for lawyers with experience in corporate or finance law, and is right for those willing to work the long hours you’re likely already accustomed to.

No matter what you’re interested in doing next, your first step should be the same: Reach out to your network to learn about the opportunities that are out there. Informational interviews can give you an idea of what it’s really like to work in an area in which you have little or no experience. And now that you have an idea of what you don’t want (read: to be a lawyer), you’ll be more in tune with what you do want out of your next role.