JD Preferred Career Opportunities After Law School
There are a variety of reasons why people go to law school. Some people aspire to find themselves looking out of the window of their corner office into the big city below. Others see themselves defending the innocent or prosecuting the villains. Still, others imagine the life of a small-town attorney or in-house counsel. Then there are those who imagine none of those things—in this post, we highlight some JD preferred career opportunities.
JD Preferred Career Opportunities After Law School
On its face, law school appears to be exclusively about black letter rules and exceptions to those rules, however, this is only part of what a law school education provides. Yes, the content of many courses revolves around the bar exam, but many courses deviate from a “traditional” law school course. Furthermore, in all law school classes, law school students are required to compare, distinguish, and debate. In fact, to argue a position, you must know the other position. This in and of itself, is an incredible skill for non-lawyer jobs. Law school demands that students pay attention to minutiae, synthesize copious amounts of information, and work under pressure. These skills are not skills that are exclusive to the legal profession. Rather, a juris doctorate is arguably one of the most versatile graduate degrees a student can earn.
Mediation and Arbitration
Many students with a JD choose to take their analytic abilities to an organization that provides mediation or arbitration services. Because jobs in these areas require the ability to hear both sides of an argument and then help individuals resolve their dispute by coming to a reasoned compromise, mediation and arbitration are high on the list of JD preferred career opportunities. Law school graduates are a perfect match because they have training in areas such as ethics and professional responsibility. Therefore, they naturally understand the necessity of confidentiality. Students who are interested in this line of work may also consider taking a specific class to learn more about the day-to-day work of mediators and arbitrators. Some law schools even offer competitions in this area!
Like mediation and arbitration, careers in financial planning also call upon the skills for which law school students are trained, including maintaining client confidentiality, the ability to understand complicated regulations and procedures, and knowing when a decision may be legal, but not necessarily ethical. Careers in financial planning are broad and varied: from helping individuals to identify desired financial goals, to managing large and complex portfolios. The world of financial planning contins many JD preferred career opportunities. Law schools frequently provide topportunities for students to learn about financial regulations and policies.
Legal education also includes a host of JD preferred career opportunities. Many students graduate and begin life-long careers in JD journalism, writing for newspapers, magazines, and other online media. There are also, of course, law blogs, segments on television that aim to provide their audience with an accessible understanding of complicated legal issues, podcasts, and the like. These spaces are almost exclusively occupied by people with JDs because of the many challenges legal languages present to non-JDs.
Law school graduates can also use their law degree to go back to law school—but this time law school pays them! Teaching and working in jobs that encompass student and academic services are incredible ways to put your JD to work. In addition to understanding the actual content that students are learning, you, as a former law school student yourself, can also provide mentorship and guidance in a way that non-JD employees likely cannot.
Human resources is another great example of a profession that draws upon the skills taught in law school. In fact, human resources is an amalgamation of mediation, arbitration, financial planning, and yes, even legal education! Tasks for those in human resources include dispute resolution, understanding and explaining legal issues regarding employment, and of course, navigating many financial issues.
Internships and Jobs
In addition to courses that can help you to better understand the various career paths you can have with a law degree, internships and jobs serve as an excellent way to get relevant experience. Working with a law school career office or alumni affairs office is the fastest way to find out what (and who) is available to help you. Law schools often work with other law schools, sometimes globally, to provide unique experiences for students to pursue their interests—and if the opportunity is not available, students can often create it. Internships and jobs throughout law school are direct ways to help you identify potential JD preferred career opportunities.
In closing, even if you are certain that you want a “traditional” legal job following law school, don’t foreclose on the possibility that one day you may be interested in doing other kinds of legal work. Take a class. Do an internship. In the end, the experience will only strengthen your legal acumen!