Career Talk: Opportunities Beyond the Law Practice

Gavel on a laptop

Contrary to popular belief, the legal market is not limited to the practice of law. There are a lot of career opportunities out there for individuals who wish to partake in the legal service but prefer not to get involved in the nitty-gritty of law education. Additionally, these occupations also offer rewarding median salaries that don’t fall too far from the generated income of practicing lawyers.

If you have high analytical and writing skills and are particularly inclined to the legal field, then here are several career pathways that may be suitable for you.

Court Reporters

Also called stenographers, court reporters are tasked with making records of court statements, testimonies, and speeches to construct a completely accurate and verbatim written transcript of every word spoken in legal proceedings. They utilize specialized stenographic equipment which allows them to transcribe at extremely high rates that go beyond 200 words per minute.

Other work responsibilities of court reporters include reporting for webcasts as well as creating broadcast captions. This profession reportedly faces a shortage of interested job-seekers, thus salaries are skyrocketing to fix the gap between the high demand and low employee rate. In fact, Forbes shares that particular court reporters actually earn annual salaries totaling six figures.

Mediator

Businesspeople in a mediationTo save themselves from surging litigation costs, plenty of corporations and individuals turn to mediators for handling settlements on legal disputes outside the courtroom. The Balance reports that as the demand for alternative dispute resolutions increases, mediators now steadily grow both in popularity and number.

Mediators, also known as conciliators and arbitrators help people settle arguments by reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. Having some legal knowledge may be beneficial in persuading people to compromise rather than engage in a costly and time-consuming court trial, but a law degree is not a requisite in this field. In fact, there’s no certain degree required for this position.

Acquiring a paralegal certification can be an asset as it can effectively boost the number of your legal jobs and even raise your median salary, but it’s also not required. However, a background in psychology and business strategy may help you qualify better for this career.

According to Michael Roberts of Mediate.com, employment law is among the most rapidly developing areas of conflict. Thus, many companies turn to the non-binding process of mediation to prevent damages caused by disputes. This makes employment law mediation an especially lucrative field.

Jury Consultant

Jury consultants help lawyers decide who to include in the jury, especially in high-stakes cases when they can’t just leave the selection to chance. Moreover, they provide observational information as well as insight into juror behavior and assist lawyers in crafting arguments and formulating strategies to convince juries. They also employ empirical data that guide them in making predictions regarding the predispositions of the jurors.

If you have a background in human behavior, psychology or sociology, considering this type of consulting job. Like in the case of mediators, legal knowledge can be helpful, but it’s not a requirement for this position.

Jury consultants earn hefty sums, especially in high-scale cases—their consultancy fees can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Web writer Sally Kane also shares that jury consultants usually have six-figure median salaries.

The Bottom-line

Career opportunities in the legal field don’t always necessitate a law degree. Although law education can be an asset in getting more jobs and is an effective salary booster, it’s not an absolute requirement. Explore different pathways in the legal system and assess job descriptions so you can find a position that matches your abilities, skills, and interests.

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