Legal Lanes – 6 Interesting Career Options For Law Students

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Some law students know from the start that they want to get into environmental law or become a criminal defense lawyer. However, many people undertake the degree because they don’t yet know what they want to do. What they do know is that a law degree is an excellent foundation for numerous exciting, stimulating, and potentially lucrative career paths. If you count yourself among the latter group, and you’re starting to crave more direction regarding your future, the following ideas might just offer the inspiration you crave:  

1. Author

If you’re a creative soul, and you just can’t see yourself trawling through case law and endless piles of paperwork for the majority of your career, then you may wish to apply the skills and knowledge you’ve learned during your degree to writing. You could make a name for yourself as a crime fiction writer or perhaps branch out into non-fiction. Either way, with your extensive legal knowledge, you’ll be able to hit each plot point with perfect accuracy. Look no further than John Grisham to see where this path could lead.

2. Journalism

This is another great option for creative types. Law students make fantastic journalists, not just because of their comprehensive understanding of the legal system, but also because of the attention to detail, healthy skepticism, and writing skills they develop throughout the degree. With this career path, you could focus on writing, or if you have a love for public speaking, you could work towards breaking into radio or television. 

3. Lobbying

Though it’s easy to be cynical about the ethics of lobbying, there truly is a lot of good that can be done. If you’re passionate about certain causes and dream of being able to have a positive impact on the world, a career as a lobbyist may be for you. Lobbyists use their extensive legal knowledge and persuasive power to influence politicians, the media, and the general public to win support for the causes they represent.

4. Activism

This is another career opportunity that could see you doing some good in the world. Though you likely won’t be paid as well as your compatriots who head into criminal law, there’s a lot to be said for the personal satisfaction gained for dedicating yourself to a worthy cause. To make a living as an activist, your best bet is to seek employment with larger non-profit organizations such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth.

5. Judge’s associate

If you love burying your head in research but aren’t really interested in the theatrics of the courtroom, a position as a judge’s associate may be ideal for you. Basically, you get paid handsomely to hone your legal research skills. Indeed, many judge’s associates earn the same amount, or in some cases more, than their classmates who go straight into law firms.

6. Politics

According to the Congressional Research Service, 95% of members had an academic degree (as of 2018), and of those, 168 representatives and 57 senators possessed law degrees. The argumentation and advocacy skills you learn during your degree stand you in good stead to become a politician. Focus your class choices on the political system and other relevant subjects, and you could be well-placed to step into politics, either after you graduate or down the line.

It’s perfectly fine to enter your law degree without much of a clue as to what you want to do when you graduate. However, as you progress through the semesters of study, it’s important to develop an idea of the career trajectory you’d like to take. Use the ideas above as inspiration, but don’t stop searching until you find an idea that lights you up with motivation. 

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