Whether you’re passionate about defending the rights of a minor or navigating international legal matters, law school is an investment. And like teachers, nurses and plumbers, society doesn’t function without lawyers.

If you’re not sure law practice is for you, here are some alternative careers that use a law degree.


Many people who earn law degrees seek to become attorneys and work in the legal industry. These careers offer a great opportunity to help the public, serve clients and work with a variety of other professionals. However, the skills learned during law school can also translate to other career paths that may not require an attorney’s license or a job in the legal field.

Careers that use legal knowledge but are not traditional lawyer jobs include paralegal and legal assistant roles. These positions offer experience in a legal office and the ability to build strong organizational skills. They may also require an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in a related subject.

Another option is a position as a special agent for a federal law enforcement agency. These professionals investigate crimes and work closely with prosecutors. They also interview witnesses and review evidence. The salary range for this career can vary.


Although a lot of people with law degrees become lawyers, there are a number of alternative jobs that can be found with the same degree. This is because a law degree teaches you analytical and communication skills that can be used in a variety of different industries and careers.

One option is to work as a paralegal. This career path involves working closely with attorneys and learning the laws as they pertain to a particular case. This career requires a lot of research and fact-checking, as well as interviewing clients and witnesses. It is important to exercise a great deal of tact and diplomacy in this type of job.

Another option is to become an educator. This job will require a certain amount of teaching experience and credentials, but it can be very rewarding for someone with a law degree. It is a great way to share your knowledge and expertise with others. This type of career also requires excellent writing skills, as you will be creating and editing lesson plans and testing materials.

Legal Researcher

Legal researchers investigate facts and precedents to support attorneys in legal proceedings. They work with a wide variety of sources, including online databases and law libraries to find relevant information and precedents. A legal researcher may work in the private or public sector.

Many people with a legal degree choose to take a detour from the traditional path of becoming an attorney, which requires three years of full-time study and can lead to student debt in excess of five figures. A career as a legal researcher offers an alternative that can still give graduates a broad range of professional skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking.

There are also plenty of jobs in the government for those with a legal background, such as human resources managers. These positions involve understanding the laws for hiring, firing and compensation. A law degree is also helpful when it comes to working in politics, where the ability to interpret and apply existing laws and develop policy is crucial.


Whether you are an attorney or not, having a law degree opens up many career options that include judicial jobs. The role of a judge is to preside over legal proceedings, make decisions and uphold the law. This is an intellectually challenging career, as judges are expected to analyze complex laws and precedents while upholding the constitution. Judges also are given a significant amount of power and respect in society, making the job quite satisfying.

To become a judge, you will need to earn the Juris Doctor (JD). The JD is the only legal degree that can be used in the United States to work as a lawyer. However, other graduate degrees that can be obtained with a law degree are a Master of Laws (LLM) or the Master of Dispute Resolution.

A Master of Dispute Resolution is ideal for individuals who want to focus on negotiation and mediation. Some universities offer this degree as part of a joint JD program. Other career paths that require a law degree can be found in government, politics and business.

Chief Executive

There are many different career paths that people can take after graduating with a law degree. Some choose to practice as a lawyer or a paralegal, while others use their knowledge in a more nontraditional way. One of the most popular choices is to become a chief executive officer (CEO).

This position requires strong leadership and vision. CEOs are responsible for strategic planning and goal-setting, and they work closely with financial professionals to monitor company finances and make decisions that will help optimize business resources. They also communicate with employees and external stakeholders, building relationships and seeking feedback.

Alternatively, a law degree can be used to pursue a career in business development. This role involves creating opportunities for new business ventures, and it can be a great fit for graduates who are interested in working in the field of finance. A legal studies degree also prepares students for careers in compliance, which focuses on ensuring that companies follow regulatory standards. Compliance officers can earn a median salary of $71,100 per year.

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