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Non-Traditional Legal Careers Online Degree |ALU

A Juris Doctor degree does not mean that one must practice law for the rest of his or her life. There are a wide range of career options available for those who have legal training but either do not wish to practice law or cannot find work as an attorney. The writing, reasoning, and critical thinking skills necessary for law school success translate to many different careers. Here are a few career paths available for those who have training as lawyers but are looking for something a little different.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Court dockets are overflowing with litigation. As a result, many parties are seeking to resolve disputes in a less costly, timelier way. Alternative Dispute Resolution involves negotiation, mediation, and arbitration, and a legal background is the perfect training for these professions, which can include ombudsmen, domestic resolution specialists, administrators and managers. ADR firms are a growing field taking a different tack for legal and other negotiations.


For a long time, the main jobs for legal professionals in the business world were as in-house counsel, but that is changing as the education and training attorneys undergo has been proven useful in other areas. Now, many people in management and administration are also legal professionals. A legal degree can lead to rapid advancement and promotion as it sets one apart from others in the field.

Government Service

Government agencies hire hundreds of new lawyers each and every time a new administration comes into office, be it on the federal, state, or local level. Non-practicing attorneys can often find work as government staff.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement organizations seek to hire attorneys even beyond prosecuting attorneys, clerks, and legal aid. For example, many FBI special agents are educated in the law; competition for these jobs is high, but being a qualified attorney gives applicants a leg up in many law enforcement fields.

Public Service

Many non-profit and community organizations require employees with legal training in order to maintain status and comply with annual requirements. Legal training combined with an interest in community service and non-profit work can open up a wealth of opportunities that, while often not high-paying in comparison to many attorney jobs, are often more fulfilling.

Publishing and Media

Legal expertise is useful in management positions in radio, newspapers, television, and the internet media. In addition, attorneys can oversee contract negotiations and other transactions in the entertainment world.

Another area in which legal experts can gain employment is in the field of journalism, where legal expertise is necessary for the reporting and commentary on a large number of big stories.

Educational Institutions

In-house counsel positions are available at school districts and universities, but beyond that non-practicing attorneys are also often employed in other areas, ranging from teaching and management to student services and fundraising. Public school systems, from elementary grade levels all the way up through the university level (state schools) generally start employees with an advanced degree off at a higher pay-rate, another benefit for seeking employment in these areas as someone with a J.D. degree.

Entrepreneurial Ventures

Small businesses generally need a legal professional if not on staff, at least involved part-time to help with the arcane laws surrounding business requirements in America. Getting in on the ground floor of a small business while taking advantage of legal studies can be a great, non-traditional way for a lawyer to make a living.


There are a great many career options available to those with a law degree who do not wish to practice law in a traditional way. Keep these in mind as you consider a legal education, knowing full well that the opportunities are not limited to those traditionally thought of as lawyer jobs.

Learn more about the online J.D. program at Abraham Lincoln University or call Admissions at (866) 558-0999.

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Explore how ALU’s online distance education courses can work for you. As one of the top distance education universities in California for non-traditional students, our Admissions team has the information you need to help you with your application and succeed with our school. Additional information is available for those who seek transfer credit or want to study at ALU as an international student.

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