Seeking a Second Career? Consider These Alternative Legal Jobs
By Jamy J. Sullivan, JD, Robert Half
Dreaming of a new career? You’re not alone. In the last two years, many professionals started to reassess their roles and are wondering whether a new one would suit them better. If you still love the field of law but want to make a switch, there are plenty of alternative careers that require legal knowledge.
First, make sure you’re ready. Assess your skills, not just in terms of what you use most often but also what you find most enjoyable. If combing through electronic records and piles of documents makes you happy, a position centered around research could be the way to go. Or perhaps you simply want a role that offers flexible hours or allows you to stay fully remote.
Second, look before you leap. Ask your manager about alternative career paths in your current law firm or legal department. A new challenge in a familiar environment could be just what you need. But if it’s clear you’ve reached a dead end, it’s time to consider one of the following alternative legal careers.
Mediator/alternative dispute resolution
More and more cases are getting decided outside of the courtroom, generating an uptick in demand for mediators. If you’re skilled at analytical reasoning, are a good listener and enjoy helping two parties reach a consensus, this may be the career for you.
If you love using technology to find, organize and analyze data, consider a position as an eDiscovery analyst or litigation support manager. These are roles that will only grow in importance as more information is stored digitally and litigation teams dig ever deeper for the information they need.
Federal and state governments are continuously enacting new rules and regulations, and companies need compliance analysts to help them stay on the right side of them. (Just think of the increasing number of rules related to working safely during the pandemic.) This career may suit you if you’re a consummate organizer with a passion for interpreting complex legal language.
If you enjoy digging up information and working at your own pace, consider becoming an investigator. A key position in every law office, these are the people attorneys rely on to find witnesses, unearth evidence in unlikely places and help build a solid case.
Legal technology specialist
Technology is evolving quickly, and law firms need experts to help them keep up. Do you have an interest in becoming a legal technology specialist who helps manage digital information and works with an eDiscovery manager to streamline the process of collecting, sorting and analyzing data?
If you’ve worked for a while in the legal field, you can probably identify the skills and personality types that make good legal professionals great. That might just mean you’d shine in a recruitment role, either at your own law firm or as a recruiting specialist at a talent solutions agency specializing in the legal field.
Legal sales representative
If writing is what you love most about the job, why not do it full-time? From blogs and articles to e-books and case studies, everyone needs content these days, including lawyers, paralegals and legal managers. Use your talent as a wordsmith to optimize a firm’s website or find a job as an editor with a legal publisher or journal.
Changing career paths can be daunting, but thanks to your education and experience in the legal field, you already have plenty of transferable skills. If you’re determined to succeed and willing to take a risk, you’ll find there are plenty of non-traditional career options.
Jamy J. Sullivan is executive director of the legal practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. Robert Half offers contract, temporary and permanent placement solutions, and is the parent company of Protiviti®, a global consulting firm. Visit RobertHalf.com.