How Else to Use a Law Degree: 5 Fun, Non-Lawyer Careers

By Edward Tan, JD on August 06, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Law isn't for everyone. Heck, even a lot of attorneys can't stand the profession. But alternative careers for lawyers can sometimes feel non-existent.

After all, becoming an attorney requires some very specialized skills. Three years of law school, professors berating you with their Socratic "teaching" method, passing the bar, and years of practicing can leave you feeling pigeon-holed.

But fear not fed-up attorneys, there's a way out. Here are five fun career alternatives that have actually been done successfully by other ex-lawyers.

1) Food Truck Owner

You probably eat from one every day, so why not run one, too? That's what Kate Carrara did. A former trial attorney, Carrara opened a mobile cupcake shop after quitting her job and selling her house and car. She used the funds to start up her food truck and grossed $100,000 in 2010.

Investment-wise, Carrara pumped about $75,000 into her endeavor. That's like one year of pay for most lawyers.

2) Blogger

Blogging might not net you the same salary as responding to discovery requests, but it's a lot less stressful.

There are many successful legal blogs online today, including the one you're reading now. But you don't have to limit yourself to just legal topics. Branch out and write about the things you loved before lawyering broke your spirit. You might just find a new niche.

3) Trucker

Being a lawyer can make people yearn for the open road. It makes sense. Freedom of choice is often the furthest thing from practicing law.

This lawyer took it to the next step and became a trucker. He makes from $60,000 to $100,000 a year and anticipates pulling in $250,000 in a few more. Best part? He gets to go on vacation every two weeks.

4) Bicycle Shop Owner

Brian Smith, owner of Huckleberry Bicycles in San Francisco, loved bikes. Problem was he was an attorney at Nixon Peabody. But neither that nor his University of Michigan Law School degree stopped him from quitting and pursuing his dream.

While you don't have to run a bike shop, take Smith's story as lesson that running your own business is possible. All you need is passion.

5) Mediator/Alternative Dispute Resolution

Don't groan just yet. Yes, ADR and mediation are related to the legal industry. But don't forget, this is one career where you won't have to research endless piles of case law. The pay can also be just as good, if not better. And you'll get to act like a judge without having to wage a messy election campaign.

Alternative careers for lawyers need not be boring. Remember, there's hope beyond that pile of points and authorities.

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