Researching Legal Careers


Forewarned is forearmed, they say, and whether you have finished law school or are just thinking about attending, it may be wise to research your options for a legal career post-licensure. Advance knowledge of the advantages and challenges of different kinds of legal practices will help ensure that you direct yourself into a satisfying career and are prepared for potential drawbacks. The following article highlights resources and methods that can help you learn about your legal career options.

One great thing about the age in which we live is the existence of a vast amount of information available on the internet. The convenience of these resources is fantastic and can let you access statistics and personal narratives that provide a well-rounded view of your legal career options.

General Resources

The American Bar Association (ABA) Career Choice Series -- The ABA hosts a series of audio and video recordings in which prominent lawyers in a variety of practice areas profile their work. These interviews include information about the skills needed for a particular area of practice, its pros and cons, and what a typical day in their field is like.

Stanford Law School's Career Possibilities Pages -- Many law schools provide career services that include an overview of the kinds of jobs an attorney might pursue. Stanford Law School's resource, which is publicly available, breaks down career options by sector. It includes information about non-law jobs, judicial clerkships, and careers in legal education.

Diversity in Legal Careers

The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) -- NALP is an association composed of legal career professionals that collect and publish legal employment data and advocate for diversity and inclusion. It offers valuable information about salaries and collects statistics relating to LGBT, race, and disability in the legal profession. Although there are a variety of resources scattered throughout the website, the NALP trends page has some unique data on employment trends that can help you answer questions about hiring and salaries in different legal careers.

DiscoverLaw -- DiscoverLaw hosts a series of video profiles of lawyers of color working in different areas of law who discuss their legal careers with a focus on the advantages and challenges faced by minorities within their field. The organization also hosts a quiz intended to help you explore legal career options that fit your personal interests.

Public Interest Legal Careers

Harvard Law School's Career & Application Guides -- Harvard Law School has published a series of articles about legal career options. This series, published by Harvard's Office of Public Interest Advising, focuses on public interest law careers. In addition to profiles of careers relating to different legal subjects, this archive also includes information about different practice settings, advice on finding a job, and tips for living cheaply enough to live on public interest salaries.

PSJD Resource Center -- PSJD focuses on public service legal careers. The organization's website includes public interest legal career profiles and extensive information about career paths in government, nonprofits, and public interest law firms. In addition to the typical information provided by other resources, PSJD also explores issues relating to funding and student loan repayment issues.

We're Here For You Too

While we hope that the aforementioned resources are helpful, don't forget to come back to browse FindLaw's own legal career resources. In addition to the information found in our Law Students section there are resources throughout the site intended to help you succeed at every stage of your legal career.