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How To Land Non-Legal Jobs For Lawyers

Landing Non-legal Jobs For LawyersYou’re thinking about leaving the law, but how can you actually get a different type of job? Maybe you’ve applied for non-legal jobs for lawyers only to be ignored or told “we’re not looking for a lawyer”.

I know from experience that making a career change is hard work. And it can be pretty scary. But don’t let fear hold you back from achieving career fulfillment.

To help you move forward, I produced this webinar presentation on “How to Transition from Law to Fulfilling Alternative Careers”. It’s full of helpful, actionable tips for anyone considering leaving the law. It will also tell you how to get additional step-by-step guidance if you want to take things to the next level. Click here to select a start time and check it out:

Click Here for my
“How to Transition from Law”   Webinar

 

On this page, we’re going to dig deeper into Step 3 of JDCOT’s 3-step Path to Career Fulfillment. As a reminder, here are the steps:

 
If you haven’t yet seen the Step 1 page, you may want to visit the page titled, “I hate being a lawyer.”

If you’re not interested in leaving law, to find targeted career help visit “Start Here” for law degree jobs that fit you.

 

STEP 3: BREAKING IN

To bring your law background and experience to a new career will require you to be able to articulate how what you have to offer fits the needs of the role you’re pursuing.

Determining what you have to offer and what you want to pursue ties back to Step 1, which is self-reflection. Tackling the self-reflection part of the process can be challenging for us lawyers. We tend to be over-thinkers, over-analyzers, and therefore get stuck in our own heads as we over-catastrophize the stressful aspects of a career change.

This is why I provide The Career Mirror document on the Step 1 page: to help you start the process of self-analysis. Being forced to answer specific questions about yourself can pull you out of your head and get you thinking more objectively about what you want out of your next role and what you have to offer.

Once those things come into focus, you’ll want to be able to communicate them to others. After all, you can’t be seen as a top candidate anywhere unless other people can see how you fit what they do and why you would want to do what they do. When other people see this, they’ll be more willing to help you with understanding where you fit into their line of work, growing your network, breaking into their line of work and hiring you.

Right now you can assume that others see you as just a lawyer and likely do not see you as someone who does whatever they do. Keep in mind that most people don’t even know what lawyers really do – or what skills lawyers bring to the table. If you had known what lawyers really did, you may not have considered becoming one! So don’t expect employers or people you network with to think outside the box and see you as anything more than their preconceived idea of what a lawyer is.

Not only are they likely in the dark as to what you have to offer, but they’ll probably fear that you’ll leave whatever job you do next the second a law job becomes available. They also might see you as overqualified and fear that you’ll demand a higher paycheck than what they can afford.

This is why you will need to be able to articulate in their language why you are interested in a new role and how you would be an asset once given the opportunity. It’s not enough just to figure this stuff out and have it in your own head. You need to be able to communicate it too. I talk about this extensively in my “How to Transition from Law” webinar presentation.

As you explore careers both through online research and then meeting with people who do the work that interests you, your understanding of what paths excite you will get progressively sharper. Same goes for your understanding of what you have to offer and how you would be an asset to a role in that career path.

Hearing the interview guests on this website explain why they like their career paths and what they, as law grads, bring to those paths, can help you get a better sense of what you would like and what you would have to offer.

When you bring that knowledge to your meetings with real people who do the work that interests you, you will simultaneously be doing a deep level of career path exploration (by interviewing them to build on your knowledge about the career path, how it fits you and how you can best break into it) and growing your network (by making a good impression and developing a relationship with a new person who has shared their time with you).

As your network in your path of interest grows, so will the number of job opportunities you’ll hear about – and, more importantly, so will your ability to apply to new roles through a referral. You’ll be able to say “goodbye” to sending resumes to random online job postings and never hearing back from anyone. Applying as a referral will create some trust that you are actually a good fit for an opportunity and you’re not just some fancy courtroom star on a law job hiatus.

Those steps will help you break into your next career.

As you poke around this website, in addition to the career path interviews featuring alternative careers for lawyers, you’ll find “career skills” videos filled with professional development tips. Most of these are for JDCOT members only, but you’ll find plenty of public ones too. These videos feature our interview guests sharing tips for landing non-legal jobs for lawyers. Here are examples of two categories with general advice for breaking in:

Interviewing Tips   Networking Tips

You can also hear more about Leaving Law here:

Leaving Law

Remember: you are not alone. Countless lawyers have left law for new careers – and it’s pretty rare to find a lawyer who regrets leaving law!

Ready to get started? You can explore the public video content on this site and even consider becoming a member for full access to the JDCOT Career Video Library.

For step-by-step guidance through this entire process, I run an online course called the JD Refugee® Class.

In the class, I help you determine what paths fit you, what you have to offer, how to communicate effectively about yourself, and build your network so you can break into fulfilling non-legal jobs for lawyers.

You get to consume the class videos and exercises on your own schedule. Plus you get personalized guidance from me and access to a community of lawyers going through the same life experience through our biweekly evening phone calls.

You can get more details from the class registration page or see me describe the class in detail during the second half of my webinar presentation on “How to Transition from Law to Fulfilling Alternative Careers.” You can click here to select a time and watch the presentation:

Click Here for my
“How to Transition from Law”   Webinar

 

Even if you choose not to register for the course, you’ll still get a lot of value out of the webinar.

I’ll see you around the site – and hope to see you in the class! If you have any questions along this journey, don’t hesitate to contact me.