WHAT TO DO AFTER LAW SCHOOL

What to Do After Law School? Your Guide to Top Legal Jobs

Introduction

Completing law school is a remarkable accomplishment, but as you near graduation, you might ask, “What to do after law school?” This moment of uncertainty is perfectly natural. Fortunately, there’s no cause for concern. A law degree is incredibly versatile, leading to various law school career paths. Whether you’re sure of your direction or still weighing your options, understanding the jobs you can get after law school can provide direction and motivation. Let’s look at what jobs can you get after law school once you’ve achieved this educational milestone.

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Law School Overview

The experiences of law school students are as varied as those who pass through its hallways. Every student has a distinct experience that is influenced by their objectives, passions, and decisions made along the process. Law school gives everyone a wide range of experiences that help them find what they really want to do.

Academic Experience in Law School

Academically law school is rigorous, challenging students to think critically and analytically. It’s a place where legal theories and principles are learned and applied. This academic journey often takes about three to four years to complete, answering the question of how many years is law school. However, law school part-time can be a feasible option for those balancing work or personal commitments, extending the duration but providing greater flexibility.

Financial Aspects of Law School

The cost of this education is an important factor to consider. Understanding financial planning is a critical component of the preparation process. Students must be mindful of how to pay for law school and seek law school scholarships, grants, or part-time work possibilities because the average law school debt is large.

Practical Training and Extracurricular Activities

Law school is full of practical experiences outside of the classroom. Students learn by participating in clinics, internships, and externships. They get to use what they’ve learned in the classroom. You can also get a feel for different areas of law through these experiences. This can help them decide what career path they want to take.

Student organizations also serve an important role, providing a forum for personal development, networking, and exploring diverse interests in the legal area. These clubs can range from subject-specific societies to larger law school communities, all contributing to a law student’s personal growth. Whether you have a clear career path in mind or are still considering your law school career options, this journey offers many opportunities to shape your future in the legal world.

What Happens After Law School

Taking the Bar

As you are aware, there are several procedures you must follow to begin the legal process of becoming a practicing attorney. Taking the bar test is undoubtedly one of them. Now, passing this test is essential if you wish to practice law as a legal representative.

You must invest the time and energy necessary to prepare for the bar. You will typically discover that 3 months of thorough preparations are required. Your studies must be your exclusive priority at this time, and you should try to keep yourself as free from distractions as you can.

Enrolling in an LSAT prep course like Odyssey Test Prep is another smart move to improve your chances of passing the first time. The weeks running up to the bar might be rather stressful, but remember that it will all be worthwhile in the end. Boost your LSAT scores for a strong start to your legal journey with a trusted and proven LSAT prep course!

Obtaining an Advanced Degree

Staying in school to acquire a post-JD degree is another option to explore after getting a law degree if you want to concentrate in a certain sector of law. You might wish to pursue this type of degree after gaining appropriate work experience, which can help you determine which area of law you want to study first. 

Consider Doing an Internship

Many law students are unsure of their desired path. Now, a big part of this is because you still don’t have much experience working as a lawyer.

Take into consideration obtaining an internship at a legal firm if you want to change this. This allows you to see more clearly the world you might live in in the future, all the while maintaining flexibility. Getting a firsthand understanding of what each job involves in the real world is one of the primary advantages of internships.

As a result, choosing the kind of law you want to practice in the future will frequently be simpler for you. It will also help you comprehend the expectations that lawyers face on a daily basis. That way, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way when you do decide to enter the employment.

Get a Judicial Clerkship

A judicial clerkship is a good option if you want to be active in the legal system. You will receive hands-on training just like in a typical internship. Here, however, is where things get different because you will get an even closer look at how judges and attorneys work in the legal circuit.

It should be mentioned that these are not positions to be accepted lightly. The majority of law students are competing for this, and the competition can be rather intense. You must make an impression if you hope to get selected. Submit law school resume, recommendation letter, and other requirements to be considered.

You will need to demonstrate your outstanding writing and research abilities. Judges will also want to know if you can collaborate with professionals in the same industry as well as exercise sound judgment. You must therefore adequately prepare for this role.

Take the Academic Path

For some, however, their real love is teaching and imparting their knowledge of the law. Being a law professor is undoubtedly difficult. Therefore, if you think this is the professional path for you, you need to start preparing right immediately. Choosing an area of interest and producing top-notch content are usually wise decisions. Later on, this can significantly increase your chances of landing a job.

There’s more study and writing involved in becoming a law professor now than in your time in school. You will need to do research, formulate theories, and write articles. For many professors, publishing their articles in a journal is their primary objective.

What to do after law school? There are numerous careers for law school graduates. Take a step back and think about what you want to do with your life. 

List of Jobs for Law School Graduates

What to do after law school? You have several alternatives for jobs after law school graduation, each with varied potential compensation. Here is a quick summary of some typical legal school graduate positions and the most recent information on their anticipated salaries:

Type of Lawyers:

  • Civil Litigation Lawyers: $61,496
  • Personal Injury Lawyers: $65,904
  • Bankruptcy Lawyers: $73,612
  • Family Lawyers: $94,409
  • Criminal Lawyers: $98,794
  • Tax Attorneys: $108,745
  • Immigration Lawyers: $115,536
  • Intellectual Property Lawyers: $120,622
  • Corporate Lawyers: $120,712
  • Real Estate Lawyers: $131,851
  • Medical Malpractice Lawyers: $139,525
  • Employment Lawyers: $172,244

Alternative Jobs After Law School Graduation

Job Title Median Salary Education Required Experience
Attorney $126,930 Juris Doctor (Law Degree) None
Judge $124,200 Juris Doctor (Law Degree) 5+ years
Legal Consultant $82,178 Law Degree 5+ years
Legal Professor $80,560 Juris Doctor and teaching/education degree 5+ years

Jobs for Former Lawyers

These are jobs for professionals who used to be lawyers but are no longer keeping their licenses for whatever reason.

Job Title Median Salary Education Required Experience
Regional Planner $79,950 Master’s in regional or urban planning None
Arbitrator $66,130 Bachelor’s in a related subject (e.g., law) None
Law Librarian $56,320 Law degree and library science degree None (but legal experience is helpful)
Real Estate Agent $51,220 Real estate courses None

Alternative Law Degree Careers (No Law License)

There are numerous career paths after law school even though you are not licensed to practice law. These law degree careers without passing the bar allow you to put your broad legal knowledge to work, even if it isn’t in courtrooms, contracts, or legal advising.

Job Title Median Salary Education Required Experience
Human Resources Manager $121,220 Bachelor’s degree 5+ years
Chief Executive $107,680 Bachelor’s degree 5+ years
Paralegal $52,920 Associate’s degree None
Entrepreneur Varies widely None None

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Budgeting and Financial Planning for New Legal Professionals

Starting a legal career sometimes requires handling loans. Entering the legal profession requires knowing how to handle this debt. A good financial plan can help new lawyers, especially those considering professions beyond law school.

Managing Debt During Your Studies

During your time in school, repayment of federal student loans is not required. Nevertheless, it is wise to start repaying the interest accumulated during this period. This proactive strategy can avert the accumulation of your total debt. Paying off the interest early can result in significant savings over time and a smoother transition into your post-graduation life, part-time employment, or smart budgeting.

Creating a Post-Graduation Budget

It’s important to balance managing savings, emergency funds, credit card bills, and student loans. With law graduates’ average student loan debt of around $180,000, efficient repayment is crucial. Have a feasible repayment plan after law school, no matter your career path. Having an emergency reserve while paying off debt is a wise decision.

Refinancing Options

Your law school loans may be a good candidate for refinancing. During this process, your current federal and private student loans are combined into a single new loan, presumably with better terms—such as a shorter payback term or a reduced interest rate. But, especially with government loans, you must weigh the pros and cons. Federal loan refinancing can hurt Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-driven repayment schedules.

How to Earn a Law Degree

Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree

First, earn a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies or a similar degree from an accredited university. Aim for high grades and consider internships to increase your job prospects. For some, this degree is adequate for some legal positions. The next step is to study for and take the LSAT if you want to pursue a more advanced legal career.

Ace the LSAT Exam

The Law School Admission Test, administered by LSAC is essential for entrance to law schools. Using this standard measurement, LSAT results are compared between applicants from various educational backgrounds and institutions by law schools. Getting professional advice through tutoring or LSAT prep classes can be quite helpful.  

Odyssey Test Prep offers individualized LSAT tutoring based on each student’s needs. Our expert tutors evaluate each student’s strengths and weaknesses to increase the LSAT scores and provide individualized study plans including exercises and tactics. Ace the LSAT with personalized tutoring for a confident law school application and law school success!

Get Accepted into Your Dream Law School

Research and choose a law school that aligns with your goals, considering factors like program rankings and cost. To help you with the admission process, Odyssey Test Prep assists students with our Admission Consulting service. Consultants help students identify target schools, craft compelling application materials, and develop admission strategies for each target law program. Craft a winning application with expert guidance for a successful law school admission!

Pass the Bar Exam

You should be proud of finishing law school and getting your license. When you finish law school, your family and friends may give you law school graduation gifts, but the best gift you can give yourself is passing the bar exam. 

Completing the bar exam is a prerequisite to practicing law legally. The difficulty level of the bar exam differs among jurisdictions, with its magnitude being determined by the intricacy of the legislation in each specific country. This aims to assess an individual’s comprehension of legal principles and their ability to practice law proficiently.

In each step, from getting your undergraduate degree to passing the bar exam, focus on aligning your academic journey with your ultimate goal of getting a job after law school and pursuing various careers after law school.

Final Thoughts: What To Do After Law School

Is law school worth it? People who have graduated from law school can look for a lot of different jobs. You learn things that are helpful whether you want to be a lawyer, run your own business, or help people. You should consider your personal and professional goals to find the best path for your values and goals.