What kind of jobs can you get with a juris doctor?

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: November 5, 2014

So you’ve finally made it through three grueling years of law school, and you just don’t want to do “it”…“it” meaning be a lawyer.
Contrary to popular belief, a JD does not have to equal becoming an attorney.

Really, you can in fact do a lot with a JD besides practicing law. The transferable skills that a law degree helps you develop are useful in a variety of non-law related professions.

What can you do with a law degree that doesn’t include working in the hottest law firms in the country? Surprisingly, quite a bit:

  1. Professional Counseling
    If you have a law degree and a counseling degree this could be a double whammy in a good way! This allows a counselor to understand and sympathize with the stress of a law student, but remain objective and guiding for the long road ahead.
  2. Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
    While you don’t need a law degree to work as a mediator, legal knowledge can help during the mediation process and can quickly get you in high demand.
  3. Development Agencies
    Your degree can help if you plan on working with a non-governmental organization. After all, a lot of them work in countries where knowledge of the law is crucial to their mandate.
  4. Government and Politics
    This may be obvious but having a JD can help you navigate the often murky waters of the law especially if you find yourself becoming opinionated.
  5. Banking and Finance
    Politics not your thing? How about the old finance sector? There are certain fields where a law degree certainly couldn’t hurt such as estates, tax and small business. Even if you don’t want to practice law in the finance sector and prefer to deal with the money, having one can help since finance does require legal knowledge.
  6. Entrepreneur
    The fairy tale story of big time corporate lawyer turned entrepreneur never seems to get old. Of course you don’t need a degree to be an entrepreneur but some of the most successful lawyers turned entrepreneurs credit their degrees for helping them understand and negotiate contracts related to their business.
  7. Academia
    Law professionals may not want to practice the law but they might be interested in teaching it or doing research on the law to look at ways to improve or update the law.
  8. Journalism or Writing
    Some lawyers have found work as legal analysts and as television anchors. One of the most famous writers is John Grisham who came to fame thanks to his books about the law.
  9. Public Interest Advocacy
    And if you are still not convinced that the above jobs are aligned with your hard earned JD, then here are 99 other jobs to look into and a lawyer ain’t one of them.


We would like to thank our guest blogger who requested to remain anonymous.

If you are interested in guest blogging for us, please email chamm@zaneslaw.com.

Doug Zanes
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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