For college graduates and non-graduates alike, it’s been shown that most people will change career paths 4 times — before they’re 32 years old. If you’re considering a career change, the legal industry is one of the most stable paths you could choose.
But without already having a degree in the legal field, how can you break in?
Thankfully there are some great jobs related to the legal industry that offer the same kind of stability and intensity without requiring a degree.
If this seems like it might be the right move for you but you’re not sure where to start, why not try one of these 8 paths for breaking into the field.
1. Get An Apprenticeship
Because of high tuition fees and the number of paralegals flooding the market, legal apprenticeships have become a great path for people starting out in law. Some firms are even spending money to recruit people for these positions.
Starting positions can carry a low salary depending on where you’re located and what the firm specializes in. While you might find the supply is higher than demand working for a personal injury lawyer, moving to the tech sector could bring in more money.
Think about how your earlier employment or college degree could inform your work as an apprentice. If you have a degree in the arts, you might find a fit in a firm specializing in entertainment law. A degree in sciences could help you hit the ground running with a firm specializing in medical malpractice or patent law.
Legal apprentices are expected to learn on the job. They get practical experience as they go and can either work their way up in a firm or build skills for a later position.
Think creatively when looking for an apprenticeship. If you have friends in law ask around. Be bold and contact one of the partners directly.
If you have experience leading people, highlight that in your application. Sometimes, writing a good pitch or strong cover letter is worth more than having the perfect degree.
2. Apply To Be A Legal Secretary
Every business remotely related to the legal industry needs strong legal secretaries. There are qualifying tests to become certified. The plus is that they don’t require prior knowledge of the law.
Becoming a legal secretary gives you the insider’s knowledge that will give you an edge in any interview. The position will pop out to potential employers when listed on your resume.
You could end up climbing the ladder and studying for higher qualifications once you get your foot in the door of the legal industry. If you prove to be an asset by helping to earn more money for your employer, they will help you to receive better qualifications.
When you step into another legal office, you’ll be confident in the lingo and your ability to communicate in a legal context. If you’re interested in a job in the corporate world, this could be your start.
3. Work in Legal Technology
As many firms switch from paper and law library research to more tech-friendly solutions, there is a greater need for legal professionals that understand technology.
If you’ve got a background in IT or software, you could become an advisor or a software developer for a large firm. Some firms work to build their own databases while others are still working on catching up to the 21st century. You could end up making great money in computer forensics or litigation support.
If you have experience with any legal tech apps or specialized software, put that first on your resume. You will find law firms jumping at the chance to add you to their team. You also could think about how your expertise could fit with a legal vendor or a big corporation.
4. Try Legal Publishing
If you have experience in the publishing or literature world, you’re halfway there. Legal professionals privilege the ability to do good research and succinctly summarize through strong writing and editing.
Working in the publishing industry as a legal publisher can link you to lawyers, court reporters, and other legal professionals. The legal industry has a plethora of niche publications that help to inform or advice lawyers and judges.
Talented writers are invaluable to any legal publisher.
If you’d prefer to work from home or if you’d rather not box yourself into a paper magazine, there are a lot of opportunities working for websites and databases. Online newsletters and law firm websites need good content and strong editing skills. This could be a great way to write for better pay than the average magazine.
5. Stay In School
As the legal industry booms, so do the number of people seeking degrees in legal academia. If you have any training in administration or have a background in law at all, you could fill one of the many teaching positions for paralegals.
There are continuing ed legal organizations that need great teachers who can help guide students who, like you, are considering a career change. They need people to work in their law libraries and career services centers, helping to guide new students to great jobs.
You might stumble upon something great for yourself while you’re there.
6. Big Banks and Finance
If you ever watch the news, you know that banks and the financial sector are constantly dealing with legal issues. They’re not only facing lawsuits from individuals. Banks can now be sued by entire cities.
This means that the legal industry needs people experienced in finance, security, and taxes. Whether it’s a position with a bank, financial firm, or a law firm specializing in the financial sector, experience in this area can be leveraged for a lucrative career.
There is a need for people who understand insurance, estate tax, and risk management. If any of this is in your background, you might find a pivot to the legal industry easier than you thought.
Many Paths Into The Legal Industry
There are so many paths into the legal world. If you have experience with dispute resolution, human resources management, or the entertainment industry, you might find your skill match the field perfectly.
If you’re struggling to navigate your pivot from your current position to one in the legal industry, contact us. We can help point you in the right direction.