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Five Ways to Change Legal Careers

By Jason Beahm | Last updated on

Are you thinking that your current career as an attorney is for the birds? If you wish you were doing something else, you're probably facing a dilemma due to the economy.

It's a difficult time to try to change jobs, let alone to change legal careers. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't go for it, if a change is what you really want.

Professionals with legal training can offer a lot of utilities to all kinds of organizations. Further, waiting may not be a good option, as the economy could remain sluggish for a number of years to come.

FindLaw contributor Clifford R. Ennico wrote a piece on changing legal careers, including five ways to change legal careers. The strategies are worth revisiting:

Strategy No. 1: Work for Free

This is a good way to get your foot in the door. The problem is, most organizations will be fearful of letting you work for free, due to U.S. labor laws.

Strategy No. 2: Try the "Of Counsel" Gambit

Becoming of counsel could land you a free office and a steady stream of referrals, in exchange for working on some of the firms cases for free.

Strategy No. 3: Free-Lance for Other Lawyers

Another option is to freelance for other attorneys or law firms. In this case, you can work out of your home or office functioning essentially as a subcontractor.

Strategy No. 4: Get an Advanced Degree

You could always go back to school. While the idea of taking on more debt might be daunting, it has the potential to pay off down the road, especially if education qualifies you to participate in a hot specialty.

Strategy No. 5: Become an Expert

Have you seen what experts charge? Why not become one yourself? Surprisingly, it doesn't require an advanced degree or special certification in most cases. The best way to change legal careers is to start is to figure out what you're an expert on, and then start writing about it. Compose articles and books and pursue a continuing pursuit for specific knowledge and soon you might be getting paid $800 hr to talk about something you love.

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