Lawyers are great public speakers and have the power to change the way people view things. Their job can also change the world for better or for worse depending on which side they choose to work from.
In the United States, having a family member who works as a lawyer can bring much prestige, admiration, and fortune to the family. It is common knowledge that lawyers bring home higher-than-average salaries, after all.
And many parents also hope for their children to pursue careers in law for the prestige and to have a higher standard of living.
But no matter what reasons a person may have to pursue a career in law, it is important to know that you are not stuck in the same career field once you graduate from law school.
Having a JD degree is highly valuable and sought-after in the job field. In this article, we will outline some of the things you can do with your law degree, both traditional and non-traditional.
How to Obtain Your Law Degree
Before we move on to the jobs available for law school graduates, it is important to have a basic understanding of what it takes to obtain a law degree. Believe it or not, getting a JD, or Juris Doctor degree takes many years of education at the post-secondary level.
So if you are interested, you must make the commitment to dedicate a good decade of your life to becoming a lawyer in the United States.
The first step to getting a law degree is to complete a bachelor's degree first. The American Bar Association does not recommend any specific bachelor’s degree for those interested in studying law, and people with all types of undergraduate backgrounds can apply and be admitted into law school.
After getting a bachelor’s degree, the next step is to write the LSAT - an exam that is used by law schools across the United States to admit students. Only after writing the LSAT can aspiring law students apply to a law school of their choice and hope to be admitted for further law studies.
After getting into law school, aspiring lawyers will spend another three years studying all types of law. Upon completion of law school, they will be granted with a JD degree. This degree is recognized all across the U.S. and also gives law students the option of choosing to specialize in a specific area in law of their choice.
The last step to lawyer work is to pass the bar exam. This is a two-day test that will determine whether a law student is fit to practice and work as associate lawyers or not. It is only after passing the bar exam can a law student finally practice law as an associate under the guidance of experienced lawyers.
After several years they will be able to work independently or become partners in a law firm.
Traditional Jobs Available for Law Degree Holders
Most law school students apply to law school with the expectation to work as lawyers upon graduation. And this is where the majority of law school graduates will work in, especially during the first few years after they complete their law degree.
There are many different fields of law a student can study, and their choice of study can often affect the area of law they end up working in. Below are some areas of law that law school graduates can work in.
Intellectual Property Lawyer
Lawyers working with intellectual property helps protect the creative rights of artists and inventors from theft. They will deal with laws such as patent law which allows inventors to profit off of their work and to give incentives for companies and individuals to continue to make innovations in various fields. This field is best suited for those with scientific or technical background knowledge.
These lawyers ensure companies and a company’s employees are obeying the government’s regulatory requirements for the industry they work in. The job tasks for compliance lawyers include monitoring the implementation of a company’s own policies as well as recognize and fix problems within businesses before they turn into bigger issues.
The U.S. - being the land of the free and the American Dream, is a hotspot for immigration, especially from Latin America. That’s why being an immigration lawyer in the United States is a highly in-demand job that can also be extremely gratifying.
Job tasks of immigration lawyers include helping immigrants understand and complete the immigration process, providing legal advice to employers, and assisting governments with the enforcement of immigration law.
As the world focuses its attention on climate change and the human activities affecting the environment, environmental lawyers are becoming more in demand to help companies and individuals navigate the ever-changing environmental laws. Environmental lawyers can work in government agencies, environmental nonprofit organizations, or companies that are affected by environmental laws.
Trial lawyers are attorneys who are also great public speakers. That’s because being on trial requires a certain charisma that will hold the attention of the audience, including the judge, the jury, and any spectators and media watching and broadcasting the trial.
Human Rights Lawyer
Human rights law is also known as civil rights law. These attorneys will work with clients to represent them in human rights or civil rights cases. Usually, their clients will have experienced situations where they feel their rights have been violated, making human rights law a stressful but also rewarding field to work in.
Non-Traditional Jobs Available for Law Degree Holders
If you realize that practicing law is not for you only after getting your law degree, don’t panic! A degree of any type is useful in today’s job market, especially those with advanced law school training.
Another reason why you might want to pursue a non-traditional job after law school is because there simply aren’t enough full-time law positions in today’s job market. This is especially troubling for those who have large student loans from law school. Here are some non-traditional jobs you can get with your expensive law degree.
Government and Politics
Many famous politicians have a law degree, including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. That’s because law and politics are often entangled subjects, making lawyers the ideal political candidate or employee for political organizations and parties.
Start Your Own Business
A law degree gives you valuable knowledge in the industry. Whether you’d like to start your own consulting business or start over in an industry entirely different from what you studied in college, the skills and perseverance you gained from completing law school will give you the work ethic and an edge when you start your own business.
A technical writer requires technical knowledge, and with a law background, you can work for patent companies preparing patents or for the government examining technical documents.
Many big consulting firms offer consulting services of all types. With a law degree, you can work as a consultant for a consulting company on areas such as legal technology consultant, private law consultant, management law consultant, and an immigration consultant.
Tips on Finding Your Dream Lawyer Job
In today’s tough job market, it is important to make yourself stand out amongst other job applications who may have the same or better qualifications than you do. The first tip is to become involved at your school and keep yourself updated on the latest news and events in the world of law.
The second tip is to make friends who can help you get through law school as well as connect you with others in the law field. The third tip is to not give up on looking for your dream law job. You may face many rejections before getting there, but it’s important to not get discouraged after each rejection.