Tag Archives: Alternative Legal Career

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).

Apply Now: Foreign Service Officer

The U.S. Department of State is accepting applications for Foreign Service General Services Officer positions.

Click here (http://careers.state.gov/specialist/vacancy-announcements/gso) for more information, and to start the Gateway to State online application process via USAJobs.

Please note that the deadline to submit completed applications is January 24, 2012.

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 (www.nafcm.org); National Center for State Courts (www.ncsoline.org); Florida State Courts Alternative Dispute Resolution (http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/adr/index.shtml).

Using the Occupational Outlook Handbook in Your Alternative Career Search

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (“OOH”) is a fabulous resource for exploring career options.  Along with presenting detailed information on employment projections for hundreds of careers, the OOH provides summaries of the career field, work environment, training and qualifications, average salaries, related occupations, and professional organizations.  Ever thought about writing or editing?  Go to the OOH first to find out the latest trends in fields employing writers.  Just starting your career search and wondering what areas have the best prospects for job growth?  Go to the OOH Overview to discover that the number of compliance officer jobs is expected to increase and the employment services industry is expected to have large growth, but that you should stay away from jobs in textile production.  To check it out click here.

So What Can I Do with My JD?

I often hear the question, “So, what can I do with my JD other than practice law?”  That is a very broad question!!  And the very broad answer is, “Almost* anything!”   

Deciding what kind of alternative legal career is right for you depends on a lot factors.  One of the biggest factors is your background – your undergraduate degree, any other graduate level degrees, and prior work experience.  It also depends on your interests, your goals, and your network of connections.

Further, what you can do with your JD can be thought of as a continuum – on one end, those jobs that are very closely related to being an attorney (think paralegal) and on the other end, those jobs where having a law degree helps develop your skills but is not required (think real estate developer). 

So what are some job examples along that continuum?

Closely related careers

  • Paralegal
  • Contract administrator
  • Law school librarian
  • Insurance claims examiner
  • Compliance officer
  • Dispute resolution professional
  • Clerk of court
  • Lobbyist
  • Undergraduate legal studies instructor
  • Grant writer
  • ADA coordinator
  • Director of law firm marketing
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Market research analyst
  • Journalist
  • Financial planner
  • Real estate agent

Indirectly related careers

These are just a very few examples of what you can do!  Since everyone is unique, it is a good idea to meet with a career counselor to find a field or area of alternative legal careers that is right for you. 

*Like any good attorney, everything must be prefaced!! 

Launch of the Alternative Careers Blog!

WELCOME to the Alternative Legal Careers Blog!  The purpose of this blog is to explore the wide world of non-traditional legal careers. 

An alternative or non-traditional legal career is any career that someone with a JD can pursue other than a lawyer in a law firm, public interest or government setting.  That means all other careers out there!  WOW – that’s a lot to explore!! 

Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss any valuable information.  Here are some of the topics this blog will cover:

  • In-depth look at various non-traditional legal careers.
  • Exploring whether an alternative legal career is right for you.
  • Steps to identify and pursue the right alternative legal career for you.
  • Updates on FCSL’s resources to assist in your non-traditional career search.