Don't want to practice law? There's a lot you can do with your JD!
Some lawyers pursue nontraditional legal careers. The reasons are numerous: better working hours, less stress, or a different set of challenges. A law degree can open a whole host of new possibilities; and it can make you a lot more desirable to employers. However, leveraging your legal background requires serious effort and thought on your part.
Two good resources to start with are the following books available in the OCS office:
- What Can You Do With a Law Degree? by Deborah Aaron
- The Creative Lawyer by Michael Melcher
We've listed below some of the most common alternatives. For more information on a non-law career and available resources, make an appointment with an OCS counselor.
Many law students find a career in business. You can get into venture capital, consulting, investment banking, private equity, business development, sales and marketing, to name just a few.
Law Firm Administration
Increasingly, more JDs are getting into professional development or recruiting roles at law firms. In fact, today, most of the individuals who hold these positions are attorneys who have stopped practicing law. Other opportunities for JDs within law firms are legal information services manager, legal assistant manager or client relation manager.
Law School Administration
Another trend is JDs and former practicing attorneys taking on administrative roles within law schools, such as law librarian, career counselor, dean of students or law school admissions director.
Many lobbyists today hold a law degree. Other positions in this field include campaign manager, political campaign planner, public information officer or public relations officer for a bar association.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Transitioning into a career in ADR is a natural for many practicing attorneys. Consider a position as an arbitration administrator, an ADR professional, a domestic resolution specialist, a mediator or an ombudsman.
In the HR field, positions for JDs can include director of HR, employee benefit plan specialist, career counselor or legal search consultant.
If you have a technical background and a JD, you may be qualified to serve in the following IP roles: copyright or trademark examiner, intellectual resource director, patent administrator, patent examiner, patent/technology licensing officer or university corporate liaison officer.
If you have an interest in publishing or broadcasting, you might want to look into a career as a legal writer/editor, law firm business development editor, legal correspondent/reporter, legal newspaper/journal publisher or technical writer/editor (law).
Office of Career Services
Stanford Law School
559 Nathan Abbott Way, Room 145
tel: 650 723.3924
fax: 650 723.0212
M - F 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.