Alternative Careers for Today’s Law Students

BY: Emmy Gordon Case Manager National Pardon Center of Canada
Many fantastic careers await today’s law students upon graduation. There are the typical directions down the criminal justice road that many will take such as working as a public defender, a pardon attorney, a probation officer, or working in an already successful law firm. There are those, however, who would prefer something a little less traditional, careers to better accommodate their unique talents and interests. Fortunately, there are plenty of exciting alternative career options within the law umbrella which can help these soon-to-be professionals put their degrees to good use. As many as 10% of law students entering the workforce today, do so at an alternative angle as they vie for non-traditional jobs.

Non-Profit Organizations

Very few law graduates consider non-profit agencies as a potential career path, as they feel that “non-profit” stands for “no-paycheque.” They couldn’t be more wrong. Non-profit organizations are in constant need of grant writers, and while they may not pay as well or be as prestigious as the big firms, they also don’t require the ridiculous amount of hours and all-nighters that big firms often demand. Non-profit organizations are also more thinly staffed which exposes the working attorney to a wide array of assignments in a shorter period of time. People who are attracted to the non-profit sector are usually less motivated by monetary rewards and would prefer to go to bed at night knowing they made a positive impact for the greater good.

Information Technology (IT) Lawyer

With the advancement of information technology and the ever-increasing amount of internet users, IT law has been forced to evolve and upgrade keep up with the rise of IT crime. There are many legal enactments currently in place around the world relating to the protection of computer software, privacy, security, access and usage, and E-commerce. IT laws are sometimes described as “paper laws” for a “paperless environment.” Crimes such as identity theft, credit card theft, and web-stalking are occurring at higher rates than ever and are placing IT lawyers in a position of high demand. Another great advantage provided by the internet is accessibility. People looking for an attorney or people applying for “>Canadian pardons can easily do so with the click of the mouse.

Law School Professor

Quality teachers are needed more than ever. Fortunately law is a field that can both be practiced as well as taught. What many law graduates discover is that they prefer the research, the writing and the supervising of other lawyers aspect of the profession, rather than bringing criminals to justice or helping the innocent avoid “>criminal records. One factor that discourages many law graduates interested in applying for law professor positions is they feel they need years of experience practicing before they can teach. The truth is schools do most of their hiring at the entry level, which is fantastic news because it means that you can get hired with zero years of practice just as easily as someone with 20 years in the field. One recommendation for becoming a law professor is to write a law review article. Applicants who’ve already been published are ahead of the game, and it will help them decide if the scholastic side of law is for them.

These are only three examples of the many career opportunities available for graduates entering the workforce today. A law degree doesn’t necessarily pigeonhole someone into becoming a criminal lawyer, there are many interesting paths to take, all of which offer promising futures for our up-and-coming sharp minds.

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