Gone are the days when a person would enter into a profession and stay there until retirement, as these days it has become increasingly common for people to have three, four or even more careers within their lifetime.
This is especially true of the law profession, where many factors, including bad work to life balances, stress and pressure all lead to lawyers leaving roles and choosing to work in different professions instead. To put this statement into perspective, a study completed in 2008, surveyed a poll of junior lawyers and showed that 85% of them would contemplate changing careers. We can only assume, (given all the stress that the law profession has seen since the economic crisis hit) that this percentage has either stayed the same or increased over the last 4 years.
So, if you are a lawyer and have found yourself in this position then you are definitely not alone. Changing careers is not always easy though and lawyers can find themselves worrying that their legal experience might have made them too specialised, which can make it harder to find a new career.
However, there is no need to be worried. Coming from a career in law, you will have already proved time and time again that you’re an employee worth having and there are a number of career opportunities out there that would suit you. You just have to be aware of what it is that you are fed up with in a law career and make sure you don’t end up doing the same things in a different career.
Alternative opportunities for those leaving a career in law include:
Policy & Contracts: Consider jobs that require a lot of issue spotting and research, as well as analytical and communicative skills, such as policy writers, contracts managers, negotiators and corporate advisers. As a lawyer you will have great understanding into how corporations, charities and other non-profits organisations work and this will be deemed as highly valuable to potential employers.
Teaching: Consider jobs where you can use your advisory skills to teach others. Some jobs may require extra training so make sure you do your research. Generally though, many lawyers can find themselves happily working within a variety of coaching careers or advisory positions to the government, individuals or corporations. Others can find themselves settling within university administration positions.
Consulting: There are a number of consulting positions where people with great analytical skills and a knack for identifying and overcoming (or getting round) obstacles and problems are needed. People who can follow rules and understand regulations are also in high demand in auditing and compliance consultancies.
Specialist: Consider using any of your specialist skills and knowledge to enter alternative specialist careers that require great attention to detail such as, detective work, writing, developing training materials and public speaking.
Just keep in mind that you have a lot to offer and at the bare minimum, lawyers are characteristically intelligent and incredibly hard working, so be confident and believe that you can do any job you set your mind to.