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What Else Can You Use Your Law Degree For?

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

U.S. News, the magazine known for its annual rankings of the best law schools and firms, has come out with a new list for lawyers in a struggling economy: five non-legal career options "in which you can leverage your law degree."

There's no special issue or controversial tiers with this list, however. U.S. News'  "5 Unique Career Paths for Law School Grads" is a guest blog post, written by an attorney who started his own test-prep and admissions-counseling business. (Not surprisingly, he uses his guest post on the U.S. News blog to plug said business.)

With that caveat in mind, here are the five non-legal career paths suggested by U.S. News -- along with some of our own thoughts:

1. Journalism

Research and writing? Check. Fact-checking? Check. A way to affect social change? Check. It's no surprise journalism is on the U.S. News list, considering the skills similar to both professions. Many famous journalists were once (or are still) attorneys, U.S. News points out. The magazine mentions only TV reporters, but options abound to write for print and online outlets as well.

2. Real estate investment

Your lawyerly negotiating skills shouldn't go to waste. Coupled with knowledge about financial transactions and tax law, your J.D. could be a ticket into the real-estate investment market. U.S. News cites real-estate magnate Sam Zell as one successful example of a lawyer-turned-tycoon.

3. Nonprofit management

Lawyerly problem-solving and leadership skills come into play when an attorney becomes the head of a nonprofit, according to the U.S. News blog. Lawyers who focused on public-interest or social-justice issues may especially enjoy working to promote a cause.

4. Entrepreneurship

Critical- and creative-thinking skills put lawyers at the top of the pack when it comes to creating new businesses. For example, did you know that Tim and Nina Zagat, publishers of the world-famous Zagat restaurant guides, actually met in law school? Many other lawyers have found similar success in starting their own businesses.

5. The arts

Legal actions almost always involve drama, so why not use your aforementioned writing skills to launch a career in the arts? Lawyers have successfully used their law degrees to jump into new jobs as novelists, screenwriters, and producers, the U.S. News blog post suggests.

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