Best Alternative Careers for Lawyers

There are many options if you are considering pivoting in your legal career. From being an agent to a professor, there is no shortage of ways to use your legal knowledge without actively practicing law.

Being a lawyer is both rewarding and demanding. It's a competitive field that requires dedication and grit to succeed. Burnout and stress have become normalized as part of the job description.

Degrees are pricey, and it takes a while to pay back the student debt accrued through law school. It’s not uncommon for lawyers to feel trapped, wondering what else they can do with a law degree besides actively practicing law.

Recently, ABA released an article reporting on a Bloomberg Law survey. The survey  stated that burnout rates are at an all time high, with 52% of lawyers reporting that they have experienced burnout.

If you are growing tired of practicing law, that doesn’t mean your legal degree is worthless. There are many alternative careers for lawyers that utilize the knowledge and expertise you’ve gained.

Alternative Career Paths

Sports/Talent Agents

How to become an agent

Agents are responsible for negotiating contacts. For example, a sports agent manages contracts between players and their teams. A talent manager is accountable for networking to set up auditions and negotiate contracts for their client. It's high risk and high reward. They recruit talent, and how much they make depends on the status of their clients.

Agents get paid a portion of their client's earnings for negotiating their contracts. They're also responsible for image maintenance. They help maintain positive PR around the clients they manage. Most agents have a legal degree and work for an agency.

How much do agents make?

According to Glassdoor, the average sports agent salary is about $77,734. The Sports Agent Blog is a great resource to learn more about the career. Entertainment agents make about the same with the average salary sitting at $75,780.

Marketing Director of a Corporate Firm

Law firm marketing director job description

A marketing director needs various communication, analytical thinking, creativity, and organization skills.

Their role includes:

  • Collaborating with teams to execute marketing plans
  • Working with managers to review budgets and goals
  • Managing staff
  • Using analytics to measure the effectiveness of campaigns

A Marketing Director wears many hats and gets to use both the creative and analytical sides of the brain.

How much do marketing directors make?

ZipRecruiter reports the average salary of a Marketing Director is $68,423. A 2021 article by Reuters stated that since 2020, the wages for in-house legal marketing professionals have increased by 20%. The industry is predicted to grow as Global Chief Marketing Officers for the most prominent firms make $550,000 to $1 million a year.

Law Professor

How to become a law professor

If you’re currently a lawyer, chances are you’ve worked closely with law professors over the years. They educate students and help them apply legal ideologies to real-life situations. Law professor jobs are incredibly competitive. It is required that applicants have established themselves as authorities in the field.

How much does a law professor make?

The average salary for a law professor is $179,635 with the lowest 10% making $86,250 and the highest 10% making $310,271.

Legal Operations Manager

Job description

Legal operations manager jobs are great for people who thrive in a fast paced environment. It requires thinking on your feet, heading strategic initiatives, collaborating with cross functional teams, and making decisions to optimize workflows. It is a generalist role that involves managing projects across multiple departments within a law firm.

How much does a legal operations manager make?

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for this position is $95,150 per year.

Additional career options

These are just a few examples of legal careers to explore. Other options include legal writing, e-discovery, and legal technology. Before deciding which is right for you, be sure to research the field and talk to mentors.