Category Archives: Exploring Alternative Legal Careers

Career Spotlight: Government Contract Specialist

A Contact Specialist for the government develops and awards a full range of contacts for goods and services used by the government.  Duties of a contract specialist may include:

  • Plan solicitations for supplies and services and analyze contract proposals.
  • Negotiate and evaluate contact terms.
  • Award contracts and perform detailed administrative functions.
  • Ensure compliance with contract terms and conditions during term of contract.
  • Terminate contracts when necessary and perform contract closeouts.
  • Formulate contracting strategies and advise on contracting actions.
  • Meet with employees at all levels on all types of procurement issues and concerns.
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of clients’ procurement requirements and serve as subject matter expert on the clients’ professional fields.

Interested in a Broadcasting Career?

Are you interested in a career in the broadcasting industry?  The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Education Foundation will host its annual spring Career Fair during the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. 

The Career Fair provides an excellent opportunity for media companies to network with students and entry-level job seekers interested in a career in the broadcast industry.  In addition to a variety of media recruiters, the Career Fair includes a series of informative sessions, and one-on-one career coaching.

For more information or to register for the Career Fair, click here.

Career Spotlight: Policy Analyst

Policy analysts research, evaluate, and shape policy.  Policy analysts can be involved in developing new policy or in analyzing existing policy, and their role will usually be determined by the type of organization for which they work.  Policy analysts can work in a variety of settings including government offices, nonprofit organizations, think tanks, and corporations. 

Key skills that a policy analyst should possess include an analytical mind, an ability to think creatively, attention to detail, excellent oral and written communication skills, and an ability to understand and analyze statistical information.

Most policy analysts have a graduate degree such as a masters degree, J.D. or Ph.D.  Policy analysts will usually start out by specializing in a particular field to develop an expertise in that area.  Because most employers seek policy analysts with particular specializations, it is very important to gain experience in this field prior to graduation.  Experience can be gained while in school through internships, working with professors, and joining public policy clinics. 

Check out these resources for additional information on a career as a policy analyst:


Things to Consider Before Going In-House

Above the Law recently published an EXCELLENT article on things to consider before going in-house.  This article should be required reading for anyone thinking about an in-house career. 

Just one topic covered is the misconception that in-house lawyers enjoy a better lifestyle than their billable-hour counterparts at law firms.  To that misconception the author very accurately states:

…while an in-house attorney’s hours may be more predictable and not require working on weekends, it is typically not the easier, laid-back, stress-free practice that is generally envisioned to be the case for in-house lawyers.

If you are considering a career as an in-house lawyer, click here to read this can’t-miss article.

Alternative Career Highlight: Court Administrator

So what does a court administrator do?  A court administrator is responsible for the day-to-day management of a court system’s administrative duties.  The responsibilities of a court administrator often include:

  • Analyzing the court’s case docket and improving case-flow management
  • Personnel management
  • Preparing the court’s operating budget
  • Development and implementation of policy and procedures
  • Managing the court’s information technology
  • Responding to public inquiries
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with individuals in the state legislature, county and city governments, law enforcement agencies, and the media

Some general qualifications for a court administrator may include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, public administration, public administration, or a closely related field
  • Juris Doctor degree preferred
  • Experience managing personnel, complex budgets, and information technology

To find jobs in court administration, check the job board of your local courts, as well as the National Center for State Courts’ job board (click here).

Alternative Dispute Resolution Conference

The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution is holding its Spring Conference April 18 – 21, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Capital Hill in Washington, D.C.

The Spring Conference is a vibrant forum appealing to a broad range of interests with two full days of concurrent panel presentations, a poster presentation session and reception and ample opportunities for information sharing and networking.

Registration is currently open and there are special law student rates. Click here to register.

Best Companies to Work For 2012

Fortune Magazine just released its report of the Top 100 Companies to work for in 2012. Google tops the list this year, and had impressive job growth (33%) over the last year.  Other companies appearing on that list that also had impressive job growth last year?  Net App (30%), Zappo’s (70%), (39%), and Rackspace Hosting (37%). 

Take a look at the complete report to find Top 100 Companies near year, to see which companies currently have job postings, and to check out the perks and benefits these companies offer.  Click here to see the complete report.

Check Out This Book

Many people look for an alternative legal career because they are trying to raise children, deal with an illness, take care of elderly parents, or just to pursue other interests.  If this sounds like you, check out Staying at Home, Staying in the Law by Julie Tower-Pierce.  This book discusses part-time and alternative careers that you can do from home, including freelance writing, telework, and compressed workweek options.  Come by the CSD library and check this book out!

Career in Mediation

A mediator is a neutral individual who facilitates the resolution of a legal issue between parties.  A mediator is not a judge or an arbitrator and does not decide which party is “right.”  Rather, a mediator assists parties in arriving at a compromise to find a win-win resolution to their disagreement.

Mediators can work in a variety of settings including community mediation centers, court-appointed programs, government programs, or a private office.  Mediators can specialize in a practice area (such a family law or mortgage foreclosures), or mediators can have a more general practice (such as commercial litigation).

If you are interested in a career in mediation, these are some helpful websites to visit: National Association for Community Mediators (; National Center for State Courts (; Florida State Courts Alternative Dispute Resolution (