I love meeting other people who advise lawyers on career change, and one of those great advisors is Marc Luber. Marc is the author of 99 Things You Can Do With A Law Degree and the founder of a video website exploring what to do with a law degree and sharing advice for professional development called JD Careers Out There. Marc is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and has used his law degree to work in the music industry and as a legal recruiter in Los Angeles.
Marc advises lawyers and law students who are interested in exploring non-law careers to do the following eight things:
1) Be proud of your decision. Don’t feel guilty for one second that you’re pursuing a career path other than law. It’s not a sign of failure or a step down for your life. Earning a JD gave you a great foundation – it’s up to you to build on that foundation in a way that fits you.
2) Be aware of the skills that you’ve developed through law school or practicing law. You may not realize it, but you bring skills to the table that much of your non-JD workforce competition lacks.
3) Don’t expect that having a JD attached to your name by itself will get non-law positions to roll out their red carpet for you. Instead, be able to articulate your special skill set and explain how those strengths help to accomplish each step of the mission of whatever role you’re chasing.
4) Be in touch with what you like doing and be able to articulate it. Do you enjoy problem solving? Analyzing documents? Meeting with people and charming them? Working with numbers? People want to feel your passion if they’re going to invite you onto their team.
5) Do your research to find what roles or paths have a market demand and combine those things you like doing with the skills that you have. Law school only told you about a fraction of the career paths available to JDs. It’s going to take some exploration on your part. Do it so you can move forward.
6) Fully assess your financial situation and goals so that you choose a path that will meet your obligations (like food and student loans) and provide for your lifestyle of choice.
7) Consider meeting with career counselors and taking assessments – these can be helpful in both your self-discovery and career path exploration processes.
8) Meet with as many people as possible face-to-face to learn about their paths and determine whether those paths fit you. Informational interviewing is essential. You’ll be building your network while you discover your path.
Readers, what is helping you change careers? Where are you in the process? What are your sticking points? Let me know in the box below.