Even during times when law firm jobs were more readily available, Richard L. Hermann also always looked to see where else a legal education could be put to work. In the 1990s, he wrote three editions of JD Preferred: 600+ Jobs You Can Do with a Law Degree (Other Than Practice Law) and says today the number of that type of job exceeds 1,000.
Employers have a 20+year track record of hiring attorneys for law-related positions. The evidence is in that attorneys make excellent employees in these JD Preferred ( a.k.a. JD Advantage) positions. They are used to hard work; they are intelligent; they tend to see the “macro” picture while also being attentive to detail; they are trained in exercising good judgment; and they can express themselves better than most, both verbally and in writing. These consistent and recurring positives encourage companies, government and other employers to look for other areas where legal training and talent can flourish.
Below are some of today’s hot employment fields for JDs:
Compliance: The Fastest-Growing Corporate Discipline
Compliance is exploding all over the map. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov) says that compliance is one of the fastest growing occupations in the U.S. A cascade of laws and regulations, plus vigorous government enforcement, has also upgraded the nature of the compliance function. Consequently, candidates armed with law degrees are viewed very favorably by employers seeking compliance professionals.
The Education Sector: Overwhelmed by Law
American education is experiencing tectonic shifts that bode very well for legal employment. These result from a variety of factors—globalization, technology, dissatisfaction with dismal academic results, runaway tuition costs, and regulatory complexity. Education is undergoing creative destruction that is throwing over old ways of doing things such as delivery of learning while creating new opportunities in both mainstream legal venues and JD Advantage realms.
Law Teaching and Training: Opportunities Knocking at the Schoolhouse Door
U.S. law schools are a mature industry and not a great place these days to be looking for teaching positions. But that does not mean that law teaching jobs are static or disappearing. There are far more law teaching positions available outside of law schools than within. Attorneys now teach law courses in undergraduate institutions, graduate departments, paralegal schools, foreign universities, government, corporations and even law firms.
Risk Management: Attorneys as Indispensable
Risk management is the process of identifying and managing threats to an organization, including its very survival. Risk management has been a rising JD Advantage profession for almost two decades, and one in which attorneys can enjoy a very rewarding career. It is estimated that approximately 20 percent of risk managers have a law degree.
Insurance Legal Careers: Opportunity in Expected—and Unexpected—Places
The Insurance industry is doing very well and continues to thrive regardless of the ups and downs of the global or national economies. Insurance jobs for attorneys are proliferating. The number and diversity of both mainstream and law-related jobs favoring candidates with a JD is large and growing. The insurance industry knows from experience that lawyers bring both a strong skill set and dogged work ethic to their jobs.