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Research and writing, but not practicing.

By Hillary Mantis

Q: I am a recent law school grad/bar admit. I have started off in litigation, and am, for a variety of reasons, dissatisfied with litigation, and maybe even practicing law.

I love research and writing, so I thought a career in legal publishing, journalism, etc. would be more suited to my interests and temperament. How do I break into the business?

A: Breaking into legal publishing or journalism is a great idea, because unlike other alternatives to law, it does not necessarily require retraining or expensive education. If you are a good writer, all you really need are "clips" to break in. For those who don't know, clips are copies of articles that you have written which you would send to a newspaper or magazine that you would like to write for. It's not hard to get clips if you are willing to write for free, at the beginning. Write for your local legal newspaper, bar association newsletter, or even a local community paper to start. Try to find a cutting edge legal development that has not been written about. Write or call one of the editors and pitch your idea--remember that as a practicing lawyer, you will be considered an expert. Once you have developed a body of clips, you can then approach publications that pay, and write freelance article s for them,and also apply for paying full-time jobs in journalism, using your legal expertise and writing experience as your main selling points.

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