When you want to enter the world of law, there are plenty of different ways to get involved. Although some people find it easiest to enter the field of law after graduating from law school and getting their educational credentials in order, other folks might find it best to use their current level of education and experience to slowly pivot into a career in the world of law that suits their background. While you might think of the only professionals in law as lawyers and paralegals, there are a surprising amount of other careers you could consider if you like the idea of working in the legal field.
Work with Criminals and Prisons
If you like watching shows about crime or criminal justice on TV, you may dream of working with criminals or working in the prison system. If you have nothing more than a high school equivalent or diploma, you may not be ready to work as a criminal defense lawyer until you finish years of schooling. If you need or want a job in the legal field right now, you can enter the world of law by starting out working in a correctional facility as a correction officer, custodian, office worker, or even culinary arts professional. Depending on what specific jobs require for you to apply for them, you may need to take some extra classes or gain on-the-job experience before employers in this aspect of the world of legal studies would consider you as a candidate.
When you have gone to law school and taken all of the steps to become an attorney, you could work in this part of the world of law by becoming a criminal defense attorney. You could also generally work as a criminal attorney who both defends clients who have been charged with a crime and works with victims to sue those who have committed a crime against them. If you get creative, you’ll find that there are many ways to work in the criminal justice field no matter what your background may be.
If you’re coming into the legal field after working years in another industry like education, healthcare, food service, or drug and alcohol treatment, you may want to leverage your current set of skills and background to get a job that relates to the work you used to do. Although it might seem like the main types of jobs that exist in the criminal justice field are lawyers, police officers, and other corrections-related professionals, you’ll find that many prisons have programs that could use the talents and expertise of professionals outside of the field.
For those who have worked in education, it can be rewarding to take up a job teaching college-level classes in prison or correctional facilities and preparing those who are detained there to take their GED test if they’ve never gotten a high school diploma or equivalent before. Folks who have worked in healthcare may find that working as a nurse or another healthcare professional in a corrections facility can be fulfilling and interesting work. When you have an unusual background in fields like the arts, you may still be able to use your talents to provide workshops for inmates and teach them how to express themselves using your favorite medium or methods. Overall, there are a lot of ways that you can dip your proverbial toes into the legal field without committing to spending years and hundreds of thousands of dollars going to law school if you’re not sure if it’s the right path for you yet.
Work with Real Estate
When you have worked in real estate, you know that real estate law is an important part of the legal field. For those who want to transition from the real estate industry to the legal one, it’s possible to enter the world of law as an attorney who specializes in real estate or work with an attorney with that background as a paralegal professional. When you work as a real estate attorney, you’ll have a variety of tasks, from defending your real estate clients in civil or criminal cases to preparing important documents related to real estate.
If you already have a booming real estate business but you want to transition to working in the legal field, it may be helpful to start by taking part-time classes at your local university or community college related to real estate law. You may be able to take a part-time job after that working as a paralegal for a real estate attorney. For those who have a passion for real estate, the law, and marketing, it can be a great idea to see if there are any jobs available in your area for marketing or communications professionals with real estate legal offices.
Partner with Small Businesses
While some folks envision themselves becoming corporate lawyer for major companies, others may either want to work for a bankruptcy lawyer who helps small businesses get a fresh start or as a commercial lawyer who specializes in commercial law as it relates to small businesses. When you have a background in business, it can feel most intuitive to work in these areas of law since you’ll probably end up working with folks who you can understand on a professional level. When you have years of experience working in your own small business, it can help you gain the trust of potential clients who own their own small businesses and are nervous about navigating the bankruptcy process.
For many people, supporting small businesses can be especially rewarding because it allows you to support your local economy and local community in ways that are harder to do when you’re working with large international corporations. Although you may be interested in working with small businesses at first, you might find that your preferences change over the course of your career. If you start out working with a certain type of client and end up shifting what your cases look like over time, there’s nothing wrong with that. As with any field, you’ll find that you’ll inevitably grow and change over the course of your career as a legal professional.
Become a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you see commercials on the television late at night for an accident injury attorney, you may think that anyone can become this kind of lawyer. While the world of law is a mysterious one, it would be inaccurate to think that folks magically become personal injury lawyers overnight or that every personal injury attorney becomes a famous face on the billboards. Although some personal injury law professionals do become the types of people that we see in commercials and advertisements, most people in this field don’t have that level of notoriety.
As long as fame and notoriety aren’t the only reasons why you dream of becoming a personal injury professional, you should be okay to pursue this career without experiencing too much disappointment if you don’t become a rockstar lawyer. You can do a lot of good on a regular basis even as a paralegal who works under a personal injury attorney. Additionally, you could work in marketing or advertising campaigns for these attorneys if that’s what your background is.
For many people, the idea of becoming an accident injury lawyer or working in this area of law can seem exciting. While it’s exhilarating to help people in this field, it’s not for everyone. Some folks may find that the material of working with people who have been personally injured or gotten into horrific accidents can wear them down over time. Although it’s noble to help people who have experienced this kind of tragedy to recover their lives or protect their best interests, it’s okay if you balk at the idea of hearing about accidents and injuries all the time as part of your job and decide not to become this type of attorney or legal professional.
There’s nothing more rewarding than helping families either stay together or navigate a new kind of normal within the family dynamic after divorce. For those who have an interest in helping parents figure out the best custody arrangements for their children or gain rightful custody of their children, you could try working with custody attorneys as you enter this field. Since emotions can run high during custody trials and other proceedings, you’ll need to be cool under pressure and keep a handle on your own feelings as this happens.
Sometimes, people may want to work with families in family court because they have family issues of their own. While this can be helpful, you should work on yourself to get to a point where the issue has been resolved, and you feel comfortable objectively evaluating custody situations before you start working in this field. Although it might feel like it’s unfair that you have to do the work to heal yourself before you can work in this field, it will only make you a more effective representative for your clients and more compassionate for what they’re going through if it matches what you went through with your family.
Work in Tech
Since technology is booming as an industry, many people who have worked in tech want to use their skills to assist other professionals in other fields. If you’ve been working in information technology for a while, you may be bored, and what a new challenge in your career. This is where working in something like IT security can be helpful to restore a sense of excitement and novelty into your life. When you work in IT security, you can help protect companies from all of the security concerns that come up in the modern digital age.
Depending on what you plan to do in technology as a legal professional or in the legal field as a former tech professional, you may need to go back to school to take classes in your desired field. It can be a good idea to look into job descriptions for roles that interest you. From there, you can take those requirements and try to match your resume or qualifications to them over time.
Work on Medical Malpractice Cases
If you’ve worked under plastic surgeons, you can take that medical experience and translate it to a career in medical malpractice. In the world of law, whether you work as an attorney who handles medical malpractice cases or opt for another avenue, this work can be a rewarding career. It can also be hard to stomach, so be prepared to have a thick skin.
Partner up with Insurance Companies
When you’ve owned a fire damage business, you can work in insurance law. You could either become a paralegal in a law office that works in insurance companies or become an attorney who does that. You can also see how the insurance field and legal field intersect in types of insurance like worker’s compensation insurance and commercial insurance.
Work with the Law in Other Ways!
Although it might seem like you have to become a lawyer or paralegal to work in the law, there are so many jobs associated with the world of law that might not be the first ones that come to mind. You could work in a crime scene cleanup crew and make people’s homes return to their relatively normal state after a crime has happened there. You could also become an advocate for victims of crime as a volunteer in a domestic violence shelter.
When you think about what you might want to do in the world of law, you should evaluate all of your options. Considering what areas of law interest you may be a good place to start in determining what type of law professional you’d like to be. For some folks, working in the world of law can also involve working as an administrative professional, so your first step to working in the legal industry may involve getting experience on your resume in related fields like administration or office work. No matter how you end up becoming a professional in the legal field, you should make sure that you’re following all of the requirements for education, clearances, and other factors when you’re applying for jobs in this industry