“So, what do you want to do after high school?”
Many of us remember that conversation, and chances are, someone you know – maybe even yourself – answered, “I’m thinking of going into law.” The unspoken equivalent of that statement is usually interpreted as, “I am going to become a lawyer.”
However, with a law degree requiring 7 or more years of postgraduate study, and the additional hurdle of passing the bar exam (success rates vary by state, but the statistics from the National Conference of Bar Examiners puts the national average around 60%), not everyone who aspires to obtain a law degree is successful at it. For many, the cost of school alone is prohibitive. Time to give up the dream? Think again.
According to the folks at CaseWorks, a company that provides advice and resources to legal firms nationwide, it turns out that there are a number of (lucrative!) professions within the legal field that do not require a law degree, and a number whose postgraduate requirements are minimal.
Obviously, having a bachelor’s degree in legal studies – or even a few classes under your belt – will stand you in good stead, elevating you above the pack in any job within the legal field. But those coming from other fields will find opportunities here, too. If you are rethinking your career trajectory, consider your background and the types of offerings it might lend itself to within the legal field.
For those with a medical background:
If you have a bachelor’s degree in health information management or coding, a medical record reviewer is an option, interpreting medical terminology and conveying its meaning to lawyers on the case. Similarly, those currently working as nurses can work for law firms as a legal nurse consultant, coaching attorneys as to how to approach medical cases. Those with psychology backgrounds may find their next role as social workers or as jury consultants, who analyze and create profiles of potential jurors on a case.
For those currently in marketing or sales:
You may be able to apply your skills in legal marketing, assisting the firm to grow and promote itself, or as a legal intake representative, who evaluates potential clients to ascertain if their case is a good fit for the firm’s talent. A contract manager may be a good outlet for those with a business administration or finance degree. These individuals write new contracts, as well as resolve conflicts between existing contracts.
For those with a general college degree:
Anyone with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is a possible contender to become a paralegal, provided they continue on to earn a paralegal certificate. Paralegals, or legal assistants, help with everyday court processes and contacting clients. Becoming a mediator, conciliator or arbitrator is also a possibility, especially if you have knowledge of – or a specialty in – a certain field like education, finance, technology or medicine. All three of these roles help two or more conflicting parties come to a resolution, and are becoming more popular, due to the high cost of utilizing the traditional legal system.
For those without a college degree:
A legal intake representative or title examiner may be options, though a bachelor’s degree may widen your opportunities. A title examiner is a good choice for those currently in the real estate business, as they assist law firms in reviewing public and private records to find information about property titles. A legal writer, who writes summaries and briefs for legal cases, may be another option for those without a college degree, provided you have very strong writing skills.
These are only a small sampling of jobs related to the legal field that do not require a legal degree. For a full run-down of the jobs, salaries and educational requirements alluded to in this article, visit the CaseWorks website.
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