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What if I don't want to be a lawyer anymore?

Whilst deciding whether you want to pursue law as your career, you might have encountered this problem:

"What jobs can I divert to if I choose to change my career path (aka not do law anymore) after I get a law degree?"

Here is a list of questions that you should ask yourself before making up your mind.


 

#1 Do I dislike "lawyer" or "law"?


a) I dislike the common type of jobs that lawyers have to do (you know, the ones we've watched on tv — high-pressure environment).

Sometimes, we will have the misconception that if we get into the field of law, we need to become a lawyer. And you might even have a specific image in mind of what lawyers do — working in a law firm, negotiating with clients, and going to court. This high-intensity and stressful working environment might not be something you want.


But did you know the type of attorney mentioned above is only a stereotype of lawyers?

The exact definition of a lawyer is:

"(also called attorney, counsel, or counselor) is a licensed professional who advises and represents others in legal matters"

~ American Bar Association


As you can see, the definition is quite broad, so it encompasses quite a variety of jobs. So you might want to reconsider other options of lawyers too (e.g. In-house IP/general legal counsel).


b) I dislike "lawyers" in general.

Ok! Then you might want to check out other legal careers other than lawyers:

  1. Law Professor (average salary: $149,246 per year)

  2. Judge (average salary: $193,330 per year)

  3. Judicial Law Clerk (average salary: $61,875 per year)

  4. Mediator (average salary: $64,623 per year) - help parties to agree on conflicting matters (alternative for court)

c) I realized I dislike "law".

It's not too late for you to change your career path! Carry on reading to give you some inspiration!

 

#2 Evaluate yourself.

You should be list out the following three things:

  1. What is my strength? What am I good at?

  2. What do I like/enjoy? Where do I have the most energy in?

  3. Is there demand from the market for my work? Will people be willing to pay for my work? How can I attract prospective consumers?

You can create a venn diagram similar to above to begin with.


 

#3 Don't forget about the skills that you will develop whilst studying in law school!

Although law school will definitely be the most intense and tiring experience for the most of us, it will nevertheless benefit each of us immensely in numerous ways.



First and foremost, holding a law degree can speak loads to employers about your intelligence and work ethic. As our analytical, management, and organizational skills will be developed through all the paperworks and readings. Yes, you will be shocked about how much you have improved after you get out of law school.


Getting a law degree is hard. Having attended a law school will be a plus (definitely not a minus) to your resume if you want to change your career path!


And law is quite unique from other subjects, it exists all around us. Any job, that you decide to change into, will definitely associate with law — in some sort of areas. That being said, your knowledge of law will definitely make you stand out out of all other candidates!

 

#4 Some potential options if you have decided to change your career path....

  1. Account Manager

  2. Career Counselor

  3. FBI Agent

  4. Financial analyst (average salary: $73,073 per year) - analysis of a company's fiances

  5. Headhunter

  6. In-house at a startup (average salary: $50,000 - $300,000 per year) - to help startup company in legal areas

  7. Journalist (average salary: $41207 per year)

  8. Labor relations specialist (average salary: $79,486 per year)

  9. Lobbyist

  10. Paralegal (average salary:$51,455 per year) - use their legal knowledge to assist lawyers

  11. Political campaign manager

  12. Politician

  13. Realtor (average salary: $79,106 per year) - guide clients through transaction process of buying real estate

  14. Union Organizer

  15. and so on and so on

 

#5 Shortlist 10-15 career options and do some research on them yourself. Rate each career option and note down pros and cons.

Here are some helpful webs below:

  1. Legal Nomads - Thrillable hours, career change, fear, and life after law

  2. Provides author's personal experience in becoming a writer, resources to help decide on career changes

  3. Beyond Billables - Leaving the law: 24 realistic alternative careers for lawyers

  4. Provides short explanations for each career

  5. Indeed - 60 Alternative Jobs for Lawyers

  6. Provides salary and short description of jobs

 

#6 Spend a week to think about the options and use your network to see whether you can intern or get some advice from others working in those particular fields.


 

#7 Apply for position. Send out your resume.

You can keep a list of 3 potential career options and send out resumes to companies you would like to work in. Make sure that you open yourself up to different possibilities!


 

I hope this guide had somewhat help you in some ways; whether it is boosting up your confidence in studying law or help you discover new career options that are other than 'attorney'.


Remember, life is about trying out new things. So never be afraid to change your 'old ways' and seek the 'new changes'!


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