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What Types of Jobs Can You Get with a Law Degree?

Wondering what jobs you can get with a law degree? Many people’s understanding of jobs available after a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree are likely informed by the media we consume, whether it’s from shows like Netflix’s new big-law focused Partner Track or John Grisham’s best-sellers about public crusaders. But the truth is, receiving a degree from a  full time or part time law school program can set you up for a surprisingly wide range of jobs and alternative careers outside of being a lawyer in the public or private sector. The list that follows is nowhere near exhaustive, but it should give you a sense of the many jobs you can get with a law degree!

Many companies and institutions have compliance officers, whose primary role is to ensure that the company stays in line (or “compliant”) with both internal policies and external regulations. In tightly regulated industries like finance, compliance officers are especially crucial. However, you can find them in just about any industry, from healthcare to energy.

As technology advances and integrates into the world around us at an exponential rate, previously unexplored legal questions are becoming increasingly salient. If you have an interest in data, cyberspace, innovation, and privacy, you might consider a role as a data privacy attorney. This will require a good deal of technical savvy as well and could run the gamut from consumer protection laws to data-sharing agreements to electronic evidence.

In a diverse, globalized world, many companies are doubling down on their commitment to promoting racial justice, uplifting marginalized voices, and championing social issues both through their business activities and in their employment and workplace policies. If you are passionate about these issues, a legal acumen provides an excellent jumping board to operationalize systematic changes that will make an impact.

As opposed to working for a law firm, a job as in-house counsel means that you are providing a host of legal services to the company/institution that hired you. You will often provide legal advice to various stakeholders across the corporation, and you will have a chance to develop short- and long-term legal strategies and solutions based on the products and services in question.

If the prospect of working with a variety of clients on legal strategy and long-term planning appeals to you, a career path of a legal consultant might be appealing. This may be housed as a division within a general management consulting firm. You would liaise with in-house counsel at companies across industries to help troubleshoot and transform their operations and policies.

There is a reason that so many of our senators, representatives, and presidents are law school graduates . The rigor and training of a Juris Doctor degree are well-suited to the persuasiveness and analytical thinking needed to campaign, build coalitions, and assess policies at all levels. For that reason, a background in legal studies can serve as valuable training for a job as a lobbyist, think tank analyst, a budding politician, or government analyst.

If the idea of being just one of many in a big law firm doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you may be more drawn to a boutique law firm. As the name suggests, these firms are much smaller in size, and tend to specialize in the services that they provide. If a particular, niche area of the law is most interesting to you, then a boutique law firm might be a great fit.

If you are committed to serving your community, then an alternative career in civil service can be extremely rewarding. Depending on your expertise and interest, you may work with clients on a variety of issues from eviction to government benefits to education access to immigration to employment.

Sports-lovers, this one’s for you! Sports attorneys often work closely with athletes and/or teams on issues of contracts, negotiations, litigation, and unions. Agents also interface with these issues and do not require any specific training, but a background as an attorney is especially valued as athletes and teams are often negotiating extremely complex and lucrative trades and transactions.

A job as a judicial clerk means working as a full-time legal assistant to a judge. They are often extremely competitive, but rewarding positions. You will be researching and drafting bench memos, orders, and opinions; assisting during oral arguments and trials; and helping to manage cases. Former clerks often describe their work experience as incredibly formative and puts them leaps ahead of their colleagues.

Obtaining a law degree does not mean that you need to be a lawyer. There are many jobs that law school graduates can pursue post graduation, so the opportunities are endless! Check out our guide on how to choose the best law school for your educational career.