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options with law degree other than lawyer?

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What is something you can do with law degree other than becoming a lawyer? I want to work for the government but not something like prosecutor etc. Can anyone currently in this field or have info/resources about this share their experience? Much appreciated!

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In my view, a law degree on its own (i.e. without being Called) is pretty useless. I think it is much better to complete a graduate degree such as an MPA if you're looking to do government work that is not in the capacity of a lawyer.

Once you're Called, even if it you've only articled, I think that your marketability for jobs outside of law is much higher. Plenty of people leave law after a short period of time, but it seems that very few elect to never even become licensed in the first place.

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Basically, whatever you could have done with your undergraduate degree. 

There are some options after you become a lawyer, though. 

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1 hour ago, osbaldM said:

I want to work for the government but not something like prosecutor etc.

You know you can be a government lawyer and not practice criminal law (or litigation at all), right?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, whereverjustice said:

You know you can be a government lawyer and not practice criminal law (or litigation at all), right?

of course, prosecutor was just an example. I was just wondering if there are stuffs that doesn't even involve being a lawyer. 

What are the options you have in mind though? 

Edited by osbaldM

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1 minute ago, osbaldM said:

What are the options you have in mind though? 

Providing legal advice to municipalities, government ministries, Crown agencies, etc. In-house counsel stuff.

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I have a friend who didn't article and has a job working as a policy analyst with the provincial government.

It did take her a year of living at home with her parents post-graduation while she searched for a job though. I would apply for articling positions  first and go for a non-lawyer job if you don't land articling.

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12 minutes ago, chchchchill said:

I have a friend who didn't article and has a job working as a policy analyst with the provincial government.

It did take her a year of living at home with her parents post-graduation while she searched for a job though. I would apply for articling positions  first and go for a non-lawyer job if you don't land articling.

Out of curiosity, is your friend happy with this choice and her career progression? Did she find it very difficult to get into the provincial government? Always curious to hear about alternative careers. 

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Depending on who you are, a question like this might be upside-down. 

The normal course for people in our society is to think about what they want to be, then do the specific things to try to become that thing. Lots of people never actually end up becoming that thing. Lots of people who do end up becoming that thing are not fulfilled. 

The other option is to think of the things that you find fulfilling, and then do those things. They will take you somewhere. 

Why do you want to work in a government job? What is it about what you find fulfilling that you think maps well to a government job? Why does it matter that you have or will have a law degree?  

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19 hours ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

The normal course for people in our society is to think about what they want to be, then do the specific things to try to become that thing. 

The other option is to think of the things that you find fulfilling, and then do those things. They will take you somewhere. 

Just my opinion but I do not think what you describe is the normal course. It is nice in theory, but I think this is luxury that many people do not have. Personally, I wanted to be a filmmaker. If I had a trust fund I'd have moved to LA and try that shit out - instead I am browsing ls.ca on a Saturday. I have parents I need to support because they have no pension (it's their problem, but I don't have the heart to let them deal with that on their own). I also need to be able to afford housing in a city owned by foreign money.  I will eventually need to provide for my future family as well (although this is looking sad atm) blah blah. 

Secondly, it's also hard for some of us to even figure out what it is exactly that we find fulfilling. This is why a lot of people with an ok functioning brain who aren't all that passionate about law or business end up in law school/b-school. I guess I'm just saying, I understand where the OP is coming from, and why s/he probably can't answer any of your questions such as "why do you want a gov job, what is it about what you find fulfilling that maps well to a gov job" etc. as s/he is just trying to figure out what other options they have with their law degree.

On 10/2/2019 at 9:05 PM, osbaldM said:

of course, prosecutor was just an example. I was just wondering if there are stuffs that doesn't even involve being a lawyer. 

What are the options you have in mind though? 

I've met several people with JD who work for the gov as policy advisors (not in-house counsel or whatever). Salary usually caps at $100k (whereas counsels, I believe, eventually make 2x that), but the hours are 9:00-5:00 95% of the time. In policy/research, the gov values people who can write briefing notes, meeting notes, and other memos very well in a short amount of time. With your law degree I think you have the upper hand compared to an average policy wonk with a degree in basket weaving (i.e. poli sci/public admin).  

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1 hour ago, levin said:

 

Just my opinion but I do not think what you describe is the normal course. It is nice in theory, but I think this is luxury that many people do not have. Personally, I wanted to be a filmmaker. If I had a trust fund I'd have moved to LA and try that shit out - instead I am browsing ls.ca on a Saturday. I have parents I need to support because they have no pension (it's their problem, but I don't have the heart to let them deal with that on their own). I also need to be able to afford housing in a city owned by foreign money.  I will eventually need to provide for my future family as well (although this is looking sad atm) blah blah. 

Secondly, it's also hard for some of us to even figure out what it is exactly that we find fulfilling. This is why a lot of people with an ok functioning brain who aren't all that passionate about law or business end up in law school/b-school. I guess I'm just saying, I understand where the OP is coming from, and why s/he probably can't answer any of your questions such as "why do you want a gov job, what is it about what you find fulfilling that maps well to a gov job" etc. as s/he is just trying to figure out what other options they have with their law degree.

I've met several people with JD who work for the gov as policy advisors (not in-house counsel or whatever). Salary usually caps at $100k (whereas counsels, I believe, eventually make 2x that), but the hours are 9:00-5:00 95% of the time. In policy/research, the gov values people who can write briefing notes, meeting notes, and other memos very well in a short amount of time. With your law degree I think you have the upper hand compared to an average policy wonk with a degree in basket weaving (i.e. poli sci/public admin).  

whoa thank you so much for writing this! I wish this is reddit and I can give you an award :D

 

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

Depending on who you are, a question like this might be upside-down. 

The normal course for people in our society is to think about what they want to be, then do the specific things to try to become that thing. Lots of people never actually end up becoming that thing. Lots of people who do end up becoming that thing are not fulfilled. 

The other option is to think of the things that you find fulfilling, and then do those things. They will take you somewhere. 

Why do you want to work in a government job? What is it about what you find fulfilling that you think maps well to a government job? Why does it matter that you have or will have a law degree?  

The post above this already answered your questions perfectly, but I'm just gonna throw in my own situation to illustrate things more clearly. 

I did not know what I wanted to do during undergrad, and I just happened to have awesome grades to get me into one of the best law schools, so I did. Do I regret it? Not really. I still think it's super useful to have a law degree and it's not like we are in the States where getting a law degree will get you half a million in debt (I have zero debt). But did I end up liking law? I don't hate the subject itself, but I really don't think I will enjoy being a regular lawyer at a firm from my summer working experience. So that's why I'm considering what other kind of options I have other than becoming a lawyer. 

Forgive me if I'm interpreting your message somewhat incorrectly, but it seems weird to me that you are, on the one hand, admonishing people for not doing what they find fulfilling, and on the other hand, mocking at the prospect of finding government jobs when many people would kill to obtain a stable position there. I love my undergrad programs but I'm not naive to believe that it would OK to actually do that. Why government jobs? Because they are stable and offer some decent opportunity to move up the ladder. Sure, the ceiling probably cap pretty low but I would take this over doing a job where I'm miserable or following my passion and likely never even make it to any job. 

Edited by osbaldM

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On 10/2/2019 at 5:57 PM, osbaldM said:

What is something you can do with law degree other than becoming a lawyer? I want to work for the government but not something like prosecutor etc. Can anyone currently in this field or have info/resources about this share their experience? Much appreciated!

journalism 

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On 10/2/2019 at 6:53 PM, spicyfoodftw said:

In my view, a law degree on its own (i.e. without being Called) is pretty useless. I think it is much better to complete a graduate degree such as an MPA if you're looking to do government work that is not in the capacity of a lawyer.

Once you're Called, even if it you've only articled, I think that your marketability for jobs outside of law is much higher. Plenty of people leave law after a short period of time, but it seems that very few elect to never even become licensed in the first place.

I agree but would phrase it somewhat differently.

If someone already has a law degree, that's a sunk cost (time and money), so sure, there are lots of fields it could be useful in. Lots of people leave the practice of law for something else (or never practice law, but I agree that having been called improves marketability significantly).

But prospectively, no-one should go to law school unless they intend to practice law (or become an academic, with practising law an alternative if they can't break in). Maybe some exceptions for the independently wealthy etc.

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On 10/5/2019 at 2:10 PM, osbaldM said:

The post above this already answered your questions perfectly, but I'm just gonna throw in my own situation to illustrate things more clearly. 

I did not know what I wanted to do during undergrad, and I just happened to have awesome grades to get me into one of the best law schools, so I did. Do I regret it? Not really. I still think it's super useful to have a law degree and it's not like we are in the States where getting a law degree will get you half a million in debt (I have zero debt). But did I end up liking law? I don't hate the subject itself, but I really don't think I will enjoy being a regular lawyer at a firm from my summer working experience. So that's why I'm considering what other kind of options I have other than becoming a lawyer. 

Forgive me if I'm interpreting your message somewhat incorrectly, but it seems weird to me that you are, on the one hand, admonishing people for not doing what they find fulfilling, and on the other hand, mocking at the prospect of finding government jobs when many people would kill to obtain a stable position there. I love my undergrad programs but I'm not naive to believe that it would OK to actually do that. Why government jobs? Because they are stable and offer some decent opportunity to move up the ladder. Sure, the ceiling probably cap pretty low but I would take this over doing a job where I'm miserable or following my passion and likely never even make it to any job. 

That's not really what I meant by fulfilling. I don't mean it in the "chase your dream job" kind of way. I don't think I admonished or mocked anything. I'm talking about fulfillment in a more granular sense. Do you like thinking on your feet? Helping people make decisions with their assets? Do you like explaining complex things to people? Problem solving? Thinking about big ideas and policies? Do you like competing? Do you like being relied upon? Managing your own schedule/time? 

You still haven't really explained what it is exactly about lawyer work that turns you off (is unfulfilling) or what it is exactly about the wonderfully general "government jobs" that you think you would find fulfilling. This is your business and you don't have to post about it if you don't want to. Stability + a hierarchy to climb can be indirect sources of fulfillment but they don't have much to do with the work itself, and you can find lots of stable lawyer jobs and certainly lots with hierarchies to climb. 

There are hundreds of different ways to be a lawyer. 

This is a very common position for people - they kind of default to law school (I did) and then don't gravitate towards any kind of specific lawyering job while in law school so they turn their mind to the gigantic, nebulous realm of "government jobs", often mostly because the salaries are okay and there are benefits and the 9-5 looks better than the infamous 8-8 of big law. The part that is often missing, at least in an explicit sense, as any type of real self-reflection on the granular sources of personal fulfillment. I would think that there are reasons you went to law school aside from the fact that your grades were good enough to do it. Maybe some of those reasons actually map well to government work - if you loved the policy discussion in your law classes, for example, there is some government work that will toot your horn. But there might be reasons that you went to law school that would map better to a career as a lawyer.

I tried to open up the discussion a bit. If you don't think it's productive to, no worries. 

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Posted (edited)
On 10/7/2019 at 9:41 AM, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

That's not really what I meant by fulfilling. I don't mean it in the "chase your dream job" kind of way. I don't think I admonished or mocked anything. I'm talking about fulfillment in a more granular sense. Do you like thinking on your feet? Helping people make decisions with their assets? Do you like explaining complex things to people? Problem solving? Thinking about big ideas and policies? Do you like competing? Do you like being relied upon? Managing your own schedule/time? 

You still haven't really explained what it is exactly about lawyer work that turns you off (is unfulfilling) or what it is exactly about the wonderfully general "government jobs" that you think you would find fulfilling. This is your business and you don't have to post about it if you don't want to. Stability + a hierarchy to climb can be indirect sources of fulfillment but they don't have much to do with the work itself, and you can find lots of stable lawyer jobs and certainly lots with hierarchies to climb. 

There are hundreds of different ways to be a lawyer. 

This is a very common position for people - they kind of default to law school (I did) and then don't gravitate towards any kind of specific lawyering job while in law school so they turn their mind to the gigantic, nebulous realm of "government jobs", often mostly because the salaries are okay and there are benefits and the 9-5 looks better than the infamous 8-8 of big law. The part that is often missing, at least in an explicit sense, as any type of real self-reflection on the granular sources of personal fulfillment. I would think that there are reasons you went to law school aside from the fact that your grades were good enough to do it. Maybe some of those reasons actually map well to government work - if you loved the policy discussion in your law classes, for example, there is some government work that will toot your horn. But there might be reasons that you went to law school that would map better to a career as a lawyer.

I tried to open up the discussion a bit. If you don't think it's productive to, no worries. 

oh not at all, I was definitely not offended by your initial suggestion, that's why I said to please forgive me if I interpreted your message wrong. 

Thanks for elaborating, it's a lot clearer now where you're getting at. My parents are both quite successful business lawyers and to be honest, they are the ones who pressured me into law because they considered my undergrad program to be worthless. The reason why I don't want to be a lawyer is precisely because I don't want the life they have now. They are both self-employed with their own companies, but work 10+ hours a day, everyday, no weekends, no holidays (though when there's no business they can be quite free). My mother is especially adept at finding new clients and businesses, something that I'm not good at. Hence why I don't favor the prospect of following their footsteps because I don't want to search for my own clients. I prefer just working for someone else but then again, having worked in a firm in the summer, I really disliked the experience (long working hours, lots of stress). I would much rather get a stable and less challenging job that pays a lot less than a well-paying but highly demanding job with poor work-life balance, that's why government jobs came up in mind (I have two summers of experience working for one government agency and really enjoyed the experience, so that left a really good impression of gov't jobs in general). 

I definitely enjoyed the client service & interaction part of my summer job, and just generally helping people and explaining things. I'm definitely not against the idea of getting called and working as a lawyer, but I think feeling burnt out from law school and the not-so-positive experience at the law firm really negatively impacted my perception of the whole field and made me want to quit without thinking too objectively. 

Edited by osbaldM

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1 hour ago, osbaldM said:

oh not at all, I was definitely not offended by your initial suggestion, that's why I said to please forgive me if I interpreted your message wrong. 

Thanks for elaborating, it's a lot clearer now where you're getting at. My parents are both quite successful business lawyers and to be honest, they are the ones who pressured me into law because they considered my undergrad program to be worthless. The reason why I don't want to be a lawyer is precisely because I don't want the life they have now. They are both self-employed with their own companies, but work 10+ hours a day, everyday, no weekends, no holidays (though when there's no business they can be quite free). My mother is especially adept at finding new clients and businesses, something that I'm not good at. Hence why I don't favor the prospect of following their footsteps because I don't want to search for my own clients. I prefer just working for someone else but then again, having worked in a firm in the summer, I really disliked the experience (long working hours, lots of stress). I would much rather get a stable and less challenging job that pays a lot less than a well-paying but highly demanding job with poor work-life balance, that's why government jobs came up in mind (I have two summers of experience working for one government agency and really enjoyed the experience, so that left a really good impression of gov't jobs in general). 

I definitely enjoyed the client service & interaction part of my summer job, and just generally helping people and explaining things. I'm definitely not against the idea of getting called and working as a lawyer, but I think feeling burnt out from law school and the not-so-positive experience at the law firm really negatively impacted my perception of the whole field and made me want to quit without thinking too objectively. 

Aha, so you’re a lawyer by blood.

It’s not the right political climate but there are public sector lawyer gigs that share the 9-5 job traits you are looking for while also allowing some of that client service, public interaction, and brain flexing you liked from the law experience. Legal clinic cultures for example tend to be 9-5 with great work life balance and not terrible pay - and you get to practice which keeps doors open. 

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3 hours ago, osbaldM said:

I would much rather get a stable and less challenging job that pays a lot less than a well-paying but highly demanding job with poor work-life balance, that's why government jobs came up in mind (I have two summers of experience working for one government agency and really enjoyed the experience, so that left a really good impression of gov't jobs in general). 

I am not sure where you are located, but if you are open to moving to Ottawa and work for the federal government:

https://apap.gc.ca/about-the-apap/127

You start low ($63k) but in two years you get to experience all the central agencies (privy council office, treasury board secretariat, dept of finance) and you move to >$80k. after that it's smooth sailing to $100k in a few years. and with all that central agency experience you will be able to move around in ottawa very easily. the only pre-req is having a graduate degree (in any discipline) + some economics and stat/quant courses:

https://emploisfp-psjobs.cfp-psc.gc.ca/psrs-srfp/applicant/page1800?from=linkedin&poster=1354501

this is a really good opportunity if you want to work for the federal government. 

 

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