101 THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH A LAW DEGREE
|1. legal clinic managing attorney
2. corporate general counsel
3. bank trust officer
4. government agency staff attorney
5. Judge Advocate General attorney
6. federal/state public defender
7. in-house insurance defense
8. deputy attorney general
9. administrative law judge
10. legislative analyst
11. deputy district attorney
12. probate referee
13. county counsel
14. rent control hearing officer
15. law enforcement legal advisor
16. legal aid staff attorney
17. court research staff
19. judge/pro-tem judge
20. O-R/Bail/pre-trial diversion advisor
21. labor union manager/administrator
22. labor negotiator
23. school district general counsel
25. public interest lawyer
26. legal publication editor/writer
27. legal reporter
28. computer-aided legal researcher
29. computer research sales rep
30. law professor or instructor
31. director of law center
32. clinical education program director
33. bar association director
34. bar association disciplinary prosecutor
35. bar association projects coordinator
36. volunteer legal services director
37. lawyer referral service director
38. law firm manager
39. director of training in law firm
40. in-firm corporate communications
41. law firm public relations manager
42. law firm recruitment director
43. affirmative action officer
44. commercial loan administrator
45. contract compliance administrator
46. director, employee/labor relations
47. estate administrator
48. newsletter publisher/editor
49. trust officer
50. regulation analyst
51. prepaid legal plan administrator
|52. political campaign manager
53. city/county clerk
54. court administrator
55. director of agency/commission
56. elected official
57. foreign service officer
58. political fund-raiser
59. land use examiner
60. court reporter instructor
61. paralegal instructor
62. continuing legal education instructor
63. law librarian
64. law school assistant dean
65. law school placement director
66. family or business mediator
68. CIA/FBI agent
70. police administration
71. psychologist or counselor
72. legal newspaper writer/editor
73. computer product sales/service
74. law book/legal supplies sales
75. deposition videotaping
76. owner of contract lawyer agency
77. consulting in area of expertise
78. exhibit design and preparation
80. civil or criminal investigator
81. management consultant
82. owner of paralegal agency
83. business valuations expert
84. communications consultant
85. law-related insurance sales
86. financial planner
87. marketing consultant
88. pension and profit sharing planner
89. college/high school teacher
90. agent for athletes/entertainers
94. technical writer
95. claims adjuster
96. human resources manager
97. investment banker
98. commercial/residential real estate sales
99. real estate developer
101. director of charitable foundation
. . . . and innumerable others!!!
|© Lawyers in Transition, 2013. No reproduction of this list without
express written permission.
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Job Satisfaction/Evaluation Exercise
If you have been questioning your job satisfaction, maybe it's time for a change-of practice focus, job, location, or even career. Here is an exercise that may help you clarify whether your dissatisfaction is really with your current work or perhaps with some other aspect of your job. Maybe all you need is an adjustment in your current job-or maybe you need a complete change of job or career.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with a score of 5 being the most satisfied and 1 the least, estimate your present level of satisfaction with your current (or most recent) job and write a number next to each of the following phrases:
___Opportunity for friendships
___Adequate resources to do job
___Opportunity for professional growth
___Opportunity for personal growth
___Respect/fair treatment from superiors
|___Lack of undue pressure
___Personal/organization values compatible
___Allows adequate leisure time
___Reasonable work hours
___Able to use special skills
___Able to use creativity
___Can regulate own work
___Limit on unrelated work
|Add your score. The highest
score you can get is 125, but you probably wouldn't be reading this if
you scored that high. If your score is higher than 90, you probably are
reasonably satisfied with your work, needing only a few minor
adjustments. A score between 60 and 90 indicates that you have some
noteworthy aggravations that need remedying if you are to continue in
your current job or even in the same practice area. Examine which items
scored low and evaluate whether there is any way to improve your
satisfaction level. For example, if the location is bad, maybe
transferring to a branch office nearer to home or a closer, similar
firm will improve the commute. Or if you no longer feel challenged by
your work, perhaps changing your practice focus will once again
stimulate your gray matter.
© 2013 by Hindi Greenberg, J.D./Lawyers in Transition. Adapted from the highly acclaimed and best-selling, The Lawyer's Career Change Handbook, 2nd edition, written by Hindi Greenberg and published by HarperCollins. No reproduction in any format without express written permission.
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Article: Careers In and Out of Law
If you are unhappy with your current work and thinking of making a change, you are not alone. In fact, it may even seem that all your colleagues are also questioning their career choices.
Lawyers have always experienced some dissatisfaction with their work. However, in earlier decades people repressed discontent because loyalty and continuity were prized. A newly licensed attorney who worked hard was almost always made a partner after five or six years. Now, partnership is uncertain and lateral transfers are the norm. Loyalty seems to have disappeared on both sides of the equation.
In times past, many individuals went to law school without a lot of soul searching or active decision-making. They went to please family or friends, or because they viewed law school as a good background for some later step. After a few years of practice, however, some of them realized that they should have given more consideration to such an important decision. For some, that may be because the image of lawyers has also changed from that of counselor and confidant to intimidating opponent, aggressive litigator, and unemotional combatant-a new style not necessarily relished by those with gentle, non-confrontational characters.
For those attorneys who decide to change their careers, the alternatives, both inside and outside of law, are numerous. Law school and law practice are fertile training grounds for desirable skills-communication skills, management skills, creative skills, organizational skills-that can be easily transferred and applied to a wide variety of jobs.
For the majority of lawyers, a radical move out of law is unnecessary. Perhaps all they need is a minor adjustment such as a change of practice area, size of firm, or location. Or perhaps going in-house to a corporation, bar association, or educational institution is remedy enough.
For some lawyers, the desire to continue in a similar practice on a part-time basis is a sufficient compromise. Or if discomfort is caused by the confrontation necessary in a litigation practice, the conciliatory field of mediation may be the answer. Those attorneys who love the law in its theoretical rather than its practical application can often find contentment working in research and writing positions-with the courts, legal book publishers, or research services.
Some lawyers enjoy working with other lawyers but not practicing law. Companies that provide services to lawyers often prefer to hire lawyers for their ability to communicate with the customer. These companies provide computer and telecommunications consulting, office management, law book or office product sales, lawyer and support staffing, or office design, to mention just a few services.
The majority of attorneys who switch careers go into banking, real estate, insurance, politics, one of the communication fields, or management. However, there are no limits. I have worked with many clients, including lawyers who chose to be humor consultants, real estate developers, psychologists, art professors, journalists, humane society presidents, career counselors, chain store owners, and screen writers. If you are contemplating a change, you are in good company.
Career reevaluation and change is stressful and can cause great insecurity. Considering a change may entail working through some very difficult issues, such as change of identity, fear of loss of prestige or respect, lifestyle changes necessitated by change in income, loss of time and money invested in pursuing a legal education, and fear of the unknown. But it can have extremely positive results. As a former lawyer-turned-administrator emphatically told me, "I have misgivings sometimes when I look at my paycheck but never when I look at my life".
© 2013 by Hindi Greenberg, J.D./Lawyers in Transition. No reproduction in any format without express written permission.
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Article: What Can You Do With A Law Degree?
Do you wish you could feel happier in your work, but you know something is wrong? If you answered yes, you are not alone. There are many lawyers who are examining whether the job they currently hold is the right one for them, or whether they should even stay in the legal field. However, my rough statistics, after counseling lawyers for more than sixteen years, indicate that for every ten lawyers who say they are unhappy with their work, at least four eventually carve out a comfortable niche in a job within, or related to, law. Only two actually leave the law and move into other fields.
The balance of those ten-four lawyers-fall into the following categories: one, after researching the alternatives, makes a reasoned choice to continue in her current legal job; one decides it is the wrong time financially or emotionally to make a change; and the last two spend a short time thinking about a career move, then decide it takes too much effort and continue unhappily in their jobs.
But if you are one of those individuals who does want to cultivate increased job satisfaction, it is beneficial to spend some time reflecting upon your reasons for wanting to leave law. You might come to the conclusion that you don't have to completely leave the profession, but instead can find a legal job that better fits your abilities, interests, and work style. Maybe all you need is a minor adjustment to your current working situation to remedy the frustrations-perhaps moving to a different firm, area of law, type of client, or community will suffice.
Those individuals who have worked at only one or two law offices are often surprised at the varied dynamic of other offices and practice specialties. They think, incorrectly, that all law practices are like the one where they are unhappily working. In many work situations, it is the intraoffice relations that cause work to be enjoyable or contribute to its aggravations. If you are dissatisfied with your work environment, talk to attorneys in other firms about their office culture and relationships to discover if perhaps you do need to move because you are in a particularly bad work situation. As a result of this research, you may find that your discomfort isn't really with the law, but with your colleagues.
If collegiality isn't the problem, perhaps a move to an alternative practice-one that removes some of the stress factors-would be enough. Ask other lawyers about the daily routine, the stresses, the benefits, and the growth and income potential in their areas of practice. For example, if your discomfort is caused by the confrontation necessary in a litigation practice, switching into a business or corporate transactional practice may be the answer. Keep in mind that various practice specialties often require different work styles and personality types. A lawyer who enjoys plaintiff's personal injury work, handling intense negotiations and conducting trials, would probably be bored with the detail and documentation of an estate planning practice. Conversely, a quiet, methodical, contemplative thinker would be constantly traumatized running in and out of court as a public defender or district attorney, but might thrive when drafting detailed contracts or researching complex environmental regulations. Therefore, investigate different practice areas that might more comfortably fit your work and personality style.
Some lawyers even propose alternative practices to their firms. One of my clients discovered that all that was necessary to avoid the anxiety caused him by litigation was to develop an appellate practice at his firm, handling appeals from the firm's own cases as well as cultivating outside appeals. He loved the strategizing, analyzing, researching and extensive writing, and he did not have to go into court nor deal with opposition attorneys on a day-to-day basis. And his firm liked that it no longer had to hand over its clients' appeals to outside attorneys.
If you always envisioned yourself becoming a legal "star," it is often a harsh realization that gaining recognition in a large city is difficult. For that reason, some lawyers decide to move to smaller communities, where they can become a "big fish in a small pond." A client of mine, who in law school had formulated the goal of achieving broad recognition, is now a name partner in a law firm established in a small town in a tourist area. His five-lawyer practice is the largest one in the area. He serves on the town planning commission, acts as the grand marshal at the yearly parade, and is known by everyone in the community. He acknowledges that he never would have had the same success or recognition if he had stayed in a big city. But in the smaller environs in which he practices, he has achieved his goal.
There also are many opportunities to work as a lawyer outside the narrow confines of traditional law firms. If you love the law in its theoretical rather than its practical application, you may find contentment working in a research and writing position-with the courts, legal book publishers or legal research services. If you like to operate as part of a team, to further the business of an employer and to counsel and work preventively, then seek out an in-house position. You can also find legal work, as a litigator, as a transactional attorney, or as an in-house counsel, within not-for-profit organizations, bar associations, universities and colleges, or with the biggest legal employer, the government.
Individuals who decide to examine the various options outside of law are often very surprised at how their legal training has developed useful, transferable skills that are much in demand in the workplace. Legal education and work provides excellent training in analytical thinking, communication, writing and persuasiveness, all skills that can be used in many endeavors.
Large numbers of lawyers who switch careers move into politics, real estate, banking, finance, the communications fields, or business management. Other defectors seek even father afield. Lawyers who are no longer practicing law range from a humor consultant, to a retail store owner turned real estate developer, to a land use planner turned psychologist. Former lawyers are growing their own small businesses (and not so small, like The Sharper Image and California Pizza Kitchen). They are managing companies and not-for-profit organizations. Teaching high school. Developing public speaking careers. Working in corporations or universities or government agencies or hospitals as ethics officers or risk managers. Writing screenplays. Running for political office or managing a political campaign or its fundraising. Getting licensed as business appraisers or investigators. Leading gourmet bicycle tours of Europe. Involving himself or herself in some aspect of the publishing world, from publisher to editor to novelist. Training as massage therapists or mediators or acupuncturists. And so on. When my book, The Lawyer's Career Change Handbook, was first published, I gave a talk at a very large Border's Bookstore. The woman who worked as the publicist said that she, as well as a number of other people, in various jobs within the bookstore, were former lawyers. Any interesting career option that exists probably has at least one former lawyer already involved in it.
So if you aren't happy in your current work, look around and ask around. Keep your eyes and ears open. You don't necessarily have to leave law; perhaps you will find there actually is a legal niche for you. But if you do decide to take a big leap, your options are limited only by preference, imagination, ambition, and the willingness to spend the time and energy necessary to investigate and cultivate your next professional incarnation.
© 2013 by Hindi Greenberg, J.D./Lawyers in Transition. No reproduction in any format without express written permission.
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