What are the Alternatives to Law School? 5 Worthwhile Alternatives

At some point in life, most of us think that they should join a law school. In fact, you could be contemplating joining law school right now, but wait, you’re wrong. No matter the nature of your life’s facts (it doesn’t matter after all), you shouldn’t be an exception, right? Well, for a majority of people, law school isn’t the right choice.

If you’re thinking about joining law school, start by asking yourself why you want to join law school. After listening to your instincts and balancing all the options at your disposal, also list all the alternatives that you really have. But don’t feel overwhelmed by that simple yet often overlooked process. This article has got you covered. Keep reading…

a pile of books

Alternatives to Law School

Legal Support Professionals

This is arguably the best option for individuals interested in a career in law but who are not set on going the law school path. Legal support professionals pursue what we call alternative legal careers. They, for example, allow you to learn various aspects of the practice of law while you get paid.

Yes, lawyers may find it hard admitting that at times, their staffers are versed in certain legal procedures and laws than them, and that such workers are of great value to their law firms. If pursuing a career in law is one of your goals, a career as a legal assistant or paralegal will certainly let you learn on the job, see law in practice, and set you up for law school. And who knows? Maybe your first client after law school will be this happy businessman you helped a while ago while practicing as a paralegal.

To become a paralegal, you’ll first of all need to pursue a paralegal program. After that, you’ll be able to perform such duties as drafting pleadings, legal research, legal assistance, etc. You see, a paralegal acts as an attorney’s right hand man, as they ideally takes over some tasks to create more time for the attorney to handle things that only the attorney can handle, such as appearing in court, and giving legal advice when need be.

Legal Secretary

Also called administrative assistants, legal secretaries have less responsibilities than paralegals but often more advanced than the traditional office secretary. Responsibilities that come with this position include the normal secretarial roles, file maintenance, and drafting correspondence such as letters to remind clients of upcoming and important court dates.

Both legal secretaries and paralegals can be categorized as legal assistants.

Court Messenger

Just like the traditional messenger, court messengers are people who are always on the go. Their work entails delivering court documents whenever they are needed, and delivering evidence to attorneys and courts.

Conflict Analyst

If there are people who handle delicate roles in law firms, then they’ve to be conflict analysts. Their work entails conducting thorough research to ensure there’s no conflict of interest between parties involved in a given case (including judicial staffers) and personnel at the law firm. This role requires that you hold a high level of confidentiality. 

Legal Recruiter

Legal recruiters don’t practice law nor do they work in law firms, but they offer their professional services to law firms, who are their clients. They help law firms to recruit suitable employees. Legal recruiters can be attorneys, paralegals, or yet still, human resource professionals. But it’s important to obtain a Juris Doctor degree first. 

IT Legal Assistants

alternatives to law school

Bearing in mind that we’re operating in an internet-driven age, a career in IT legal support can be a great alternative to law school. This career requires a good understanding of the practice of law. Paralegals under this category also need to be tech savvy. Basically, IT legal assistants handle software and computer applications that help a law firm to manage crucial case litigation data and information.  

Law Clerks

These ones are to magistrates what paralegals are to lawyers- they’re their right hand men. They may be law grads or young attorneys, but such an entry on a resume is a prestigious one. The work of law clerks is to maintain case files, do research, and draft reports on documents as per the judge’s guidelines.

Mediators

This is yet another lucrative career you can consider pursuing, at least if you don’t want to go the law school route. Also known as arbitrators, mediators handle what is known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Pursuing a career as a mediator will certainly guarantee you a quick job because such services are in demand, especially now that may states have made it compulsory for all civil lawsuits to pass through mediation prior to proceeding to the trial level. 

So, what’s the role of a mediator? Well, what a mediator does is to try to convince the conflicting parties to compromise their stances. They may or may not be government employees, but they don’t represent any side either.

That said…

Other Alternatives to Law School

Your Current Job

As per now, your current job should be your priority, do you get the idea? Well, explore the career goals you can confidently achieve at your current job. You see, it doesn’t make sense to give up a job that pays you a good salary to go and pursue a 3-year law course full-time. Think about additional costs such as tuition, expenses, and opportunity costs. Giving up work experience, salary raises, job promotions, and future opportunities to work for even bigger companies is certainly the worst injustice you can do yourself.

So, since law school is 3-year journey, think about where you should see yourself in the next three years while on your current job. If you feel that your career growth is happening at a high speed, maybe you should start bracing yourself to be a director, sales manager, or even the company’s vice president within three years.

For some of us, joining law school may come across as the simplest option simply because they hate their current manager or assignments, or even fellow co-workers. In this scenario, take a break from your career or consider joining another company.

Accountancy

Being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is not all about financial reporting and filling taxes. The folks also do auditing and compliance audits. This career is dependable especially if organization and logic is your second nature. You see, most people choose careers based on expected earnings. So, if money is your motivation, you can expect to take home $60,000 if you’re employed as a CPA. This hefty salary alone makes the career one of the best choices if you don’t want to go to law school.

Nursing

alternatives to law school

Nursing should be the top of the best alternatives to law school, because registered nurses are now in demand than ever. We’re talking about the earning potential of a registered nurse – $75,000 for an entry-level nurse. Besides the fat salary, the number of vacancies available on Monster.com is more than 4X greater than other fields. What this means is that, without a doubt, there is a huge shortage of nurses across the globe, so it’s a path to pursue right now. It’s a great alternative to law school if you obtain the necessary qualifications and licenses.

Patience, interest, and compassion for your fellow humans is, above all, what you need to have a fulfilling career as a nurse.

Management Analyst

If you’re passionate about telling people what to do or you always have answers to all questions on earth, you can consider pursuing a career as a management analyst. Your job will entail advising companies and individual entities on how to become organized, more efficient, and profitable. Management analysts sit down and critically analyze company structures to see how they can make them improve.

With the starting salary currently set at $56,000 or more in some states, you can reap big being a problem solver. But you’ll obviously need to be a passionate individual who stays on top of trends. Additionally, this career calls for top-notch presentation skills and a bachelor’s degree in management analysis.

Sales and Financial Services

This is yet another high-paying alternative to law school. If you’ve a knack for numbers, a career as a sales agent might be your calling, so abandon law school as early as now. From helping clients to make informed investment and retirement goals to making stock recommendations, you could easily become the go-to expert as regards money matters.

Before making a move towards law school, sit down and figure out what a median salary of $55,000 means for an entry level grad. To enter into this high-paying, a Master’s in Business Administration in Finance or Business will work best for you.

Public Relations Officer (PRO)

As the name suggests, public relations is all about getting brands noticed with ease. The work involves employing an effective strategy to create buzz around a certain commodity or service, which calls for good relationship skills as you will mostly work with media agents and outlets.

Besides top-notch communication skills, you’ll also want to have sharp presentation and writing skills that come in handy when drafting press releases and media articles. It is projected that public relations will remain in the list of the best careers for the next 10 or so years. Currently, the starting media salary paycheck reads $50,000.

Software Developer

We can’t say that we’ve enough lawyers, but it’s important for all of us to choose different paths, yeah? In a world of advancing technology and the internet, one thing that can set you apart from the crowd is how computer knowledge. Being a tech-giant is even much better, because a hefty salary of $60,000 makes it one of the best career paths out there. Though it’s good to have a degree in software engineering or computer science, you can still learn a lot from free online tutorials.

Marketing Manager

Do you fancy communicating with others? Well, a career in marketing management might be your thing. Your work will entail controlling and overseeing a brand’s image. You’ll also be tasked with creating strategies (social media and old media strategies) and campaigns that target different audiences for products.

A marketing manager also works hand in hand with public relations officers besides launching new products and dealing with advertisements. But it’s never been easy, as you will want to have relationship skills and a deep understanding of how people think. With a starting salary of more than $55,000, marketing management still remains one of the best paying careers, so you can pursue it as the best alternative to law school.

Technical Jobs

One good thing with technical jobs is that they don’t rely much on college degrees but on certifications. For example, a certification as a physical therapist assistant could make you ripe for a $42,000 job in that booming field. Career experts have placed 10-year growth frequency in the technical jobs field at 42%. In this pool, you’ll be spoilt for choice. But you can choose a career in dental hygiene, veterinary tech, among other simple yet best paying options.

Consulting

These days, companies are struggling with bad economic times, which has led them into looking for creative means to help save on operational costs. One trick they’re now employing is by outsourcing tasks to freelancers and consulting firms. This way, they don’t have to cater for such costs as insurance or pension. Think about that.

As a result, consultants are high in demand, which has made it a lucrative industry for anyone looking to get into.

a woman in the library

Now What?

There is this other lot that doesn’t have other options- they’re working in a harsh environment, the job is hitting a dead end and there’s no respect between you and the bosses. In this case, you don’t have to give sales or medicine a shot, nor should you join law school. You should critically analyze your individual situation to figure out what you want exactly.

There’s a majority of people who are not happy being attorneys, because someone might have ruined the fun somewhere. Lawyers who have already made it are not willing to share tips on how they made it, but this article will go a long way to help you if you want to switch careers, or worse still, disillusioned. Good luck!

Read our guide to 30 college reading and study tips here!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *