Category Archives: Exploring Alternative Legal Careers

What Are In-House Counsel Looking For?

If you would like an in-house counsel position, it is important to understand what General Counsels are looking for in a new hire.  Some of the skills and qualities that General Counsels are seeking include:

  • Someone who can understand the company’s goals and objectives and can analyze legal risks in light of those goals and objectives.
  • Someone who works well on a team and can collaborate with others.
  • Someone who has a desire to grow and can learn new things quickly.
  • Relevant experience in the company’s industry.
  • Some in-house legal departments prefer attorneys with a broad skill set, while other in-house legal departments look for attorneys with niche practice areas.

More Ideas on What You Can Do With Your JD

Here are some more thoughts about what you can do with a law degree.  From Anthony Balderrama with

Corporate Investigator
What they do: When companies suspect their employees are violating workplace rules or committing serious breaches, they hire investigators to conduct internal investigations, which can reveal illegal behavior such as theft or fraud. They also conduct external investigations if a company suspects its clients or vendors are violating an agreement or engaging in illegal behavior.
Annual salary:$47,098*

Employee benefits managers
What they do:
Employee benefits managers design and implement the benefits plan for an organization. They formulate a plan that incorporates the needs of employees, ranging from health and mental well-being benefits to stock options and flexible spending accounts. In addition to creating and implementing the plan, managers also stay abreast of all legal guidelines to ensure that the company is not violating any state or federal laws.
Annual salary: $91,023

Law librarians
What they do:
In law firms, libraries, corporations and universities, law librarians are experts on researching any law-related issue. Attorneys, professors, paralegals and patrons of all industries often need to access reference materials, case studies and other legal documents. Law librarians know where to find relevant information and ensure that the library remains stocked with the appropriate materials necessary for its patrons.
Annual salary: $60,732

What they do: When two parties (individuals or organizations) need to settle a disagreement that they would prefer not escalate to a trial or other public forum, they turn to mediation. A mediator sits in on the discussions and sometimes offers advice, but he or she does not dispense a ruling or orders of any kind.
Annual salary: $50,660

Personal financial advisers
What they do: Personal financial advisers work with clients who need guidance on how to handle their finances, from investments to savings to insurance.
Annual salary: $77,723

Risk managers
What they do: Often employed in financial organizations, risk managers identify potential financial threats to the company and implement methods to reduce or eliminate them.
Annual salary: $96,395

*Salary figures based on data from and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Click here to read the entire article.

Best Places to Work as Compiled by

According to the following companies are the best places to work.  This list is based on the reviews of those who would know this information the best – the companies’ employees!

  1. Facebook
  2. Southwest Airlines
  3. Baine & Company
  4. General Mills
  5. Edelman
  6. Boston Consulting
  7. SAS Institute
  8. Slalom Consulting
  10. Susquehanna International Group

Click here to see the entire list of the top 50 Best Places To Work.



Explore In-House Counsel Careers Through an Externship

Clinics and externships are great ways to gain legal experience while also earning class credit.  In the past, externships have been available with the in-house counsel departments at Fidelity, Pacer, The Stellar Group, and Wounded Warrior Project, among others.  Externships are a great way to explore whether a career as in-house counsel is right for you.

Come find at more about the different experiences available, how you can sign up, and how you earn class credit at one of these information sessions:

  • Tuesday, September 20th: 5-6 in Room 425
  • Thursday, September 22nd: 12-1 in Room 425
  • Friday, September 23rd: 11-12 in Room 425
  • Monday, September 26th: 2-3 in Room 425

Event – “Managing Your Career as In-House Counsel”

The North Florida Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is holding a CLE titled “Managing Your Career as In-House Counsel” on Thursday, September 15th from 12 – 1:30 at a location off of Southside (close to JTB).  A full description of the event and the presenters is included below.

ACC events are usually not open to students, however, the ACC President has extended an invitation for a limited number of current Florida Coastal students to attend this event free of charge.  The first 5 students to email me ( confirming that they can attend the event will get to go!  Please note that you cannot attend the event unless I have RSVP’d for you.   Students who are attending will meet in the Career Services Office on Thursday, September 15th at 11:20 and we will carpool to the event.  This is a great networking and educational opportunity, so I hope you can go!!  Feel free to email or call me if you have any questions!

Seminar Description:

The seminar will begin with a discussion of national and regional in-house compensation data and trends provided by representatives of Special Counsel, the nation’s premier source of customized legal workforce solutions.    

After the in-house compensation review, a panel discussion by general counsel of three of Jacksonville’s top in-house law departments will answer your career-related questions – where to look for in-house counsel positions, how to interview to win the position, how to get promoted, how to keep your skills fresh and remain valuable to your clients, etc.  Our distinguished panel will include

  • Michael Herman, Vice President and General Counsel of Rayonier Inc., a publicly-traded global forest products company with 2010 revenues of $1.3 billion
  • Barbara Johnston, General Counsel of Regency Centers, a publicly-traded national developer, owner and operator of grocery-anchored and community shopping centers operating almost 400 shopping centers throughout the United States
  • Charlie Joseph, Senior Vice President and General Counsel & Corporate Secretary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida provides health care coverage for over 4 million enrollees in the State of Florida.

Department of State – Student Career Experience Program

The U.S. Department of State’s Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) is now accepting applications!  The application deadline is September 30, 2011.  If you are interested in a career with the Department of State, this is a great chance to try it out! 

The SCEP allows students to gain Federal work experience while in school and offers the hiring agency the option to convert SCEP participants into the Federal Civil Service.  SCEP participants are paid a government salary and are expected to work either full-time or part-time, as compatible with their course load.  A specific work schedule will be submitted that fits with the student’s academic schedule as well as the bureau’s need.  SCEP positions are typically only available in Washington, D.C., however, individuals interested in working in field offices should contact those locations directly.

Click here for a brochure with details on the application process, selection criteria, contact information for field offices, what to expect if you are selected, and the non-competive conversion to the civil service.

What Do You and John Grisham Have in Common?

A desire to do something different with your law degree!  John Grisham turned his law practice at a small firm in Southhaven, Mississippi into inspiration for 24 books – 9 of which were turned into films.  Grisham graduated from law school at Ole Miss is 1981 and specialized in criminal defense and personal injury litigation for nearly ten years before being inspire to write his first novel.  According to Grisham’s biography on his website:

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. 

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?  Is your hobby something that you can turn into a full-time career?

Check Out This Website!

Have you ever thought of combining your desire for an alternative legal career with your passion for helping the community?  Do any of these jobs in Florida sound interesting:

  • Associate Organizing Representative with Sierra Club – responsible for recruiting and motivating people to build grassroots power around Sierra Club water quality initiatives and other conservation goals.
  • Volunteer Coordinator with Women’s Breast Health Initiative – responsible for establishing new relationships and maintaining existing relations to fill all volunteer needs.
  • Program Coordinator for The Posse Foundation – responsible for organizing and managing programs for foundation focusing on youth leadership development and college access.

If so, check out

What Can You Do with a JD?

Here are more ideas of things you can do with a JD! 

  • Civil Mediation Program Manager
  • Contract Termination Specialist
  • Contract Administrator
  • Economic Policy Analyst
  • Estate Administrator
  • Labor Negotiator
  • Law Firm Recruitment Director
  • Law School Librarian
  • Legal Researcher
  • Paralegal Program Instructor
  • Political Campaign Manager
  • Regulations Analyst

Want to learn how your JD is relevant in these fields?  Make an appointment with a Career Services Counselor!