What Can You Do with A Law Degree?

by Laura Pennington 6th March 2019

Many people who go to law school in the United States with the intention of receiving a juris doctorate do so for the purposes of becoming a practicing lawyer in their state. However, this is certainly not the only thing you can do with a legal degree.

The landscape for practicing lawyers is a competitive one. While this might be the right path for you, you should know ahead of time whether or not the legal hiring landscape is one that suits your desires.

Whether you choose to go into business for yourself as a solo practitioner or pursue something outside the law, you have many chances to make use of your advanced education.

There are many different employment opportunities available to those people whohave received a juris doctorate degree. Whether you choose to pursue theseopportunities after graduating from law school or if you are currently a lawschool student or thinking about going to law school, it’s a good idea to beaware of all of the choices available to you.

Whether working in the public or private sector or even deciding to go into business for yourself, the sooner you can determine that options that speak most appropriately to you, the easier it will be to outline your plan and next steps.

Patent Attorney

Lawyers who specialize in patent law assist inventors with receiving patents from the government or defending when a patent has been infringed upon. A technical or scientific background is especially important for those patent lawyers interested in prosecution in patent law. Applicants have to pass a test due to their work experience and education in certain scientific fields prior to becoming licensed by the US Patent and Trademark Office.


If you are thinking about starting your own business, you can leverage your experience in business law, employment law, and contracts and corporate taxation to launch your own company. You might launch your own business as a highly niched law firm serving digital entrepreneurs as just one example.

US Military Judge Advocate

If you wish to serve your country after graduating from law school, you can continue to practice law by becoming a member of the US armed forces. Legal professionals inside the US armed forces work to resolve issues involving military justice and are often called judge advocates or JAGs. Many attorneys who are practicing as JAGs in the US armed forces feel a sense of service and purpose in completing their jobs.

Compliance Lawyer

One of the best ways to address legal issues is to help companies identify problems and implement risk mitigation strategies in advance. A compliance legal specialist will work to ensure that employees as well as companies obey the regulatory and legal requirements that apply to various industries. Attorneys working in the compliance field might also monitor policy implementation, ethics and risk reduction for individual companies. This can help to avoid litigation.

Legal Writer

Legal writers are in demand outside of the traditional legal profession because of their advanced knowledge about case law, statutes and interpretations of legal precedence. Whether it’s for marketing purposes or to respond to commentary about evolving legal issues, legal writers play an important role in pulling together research, analyzing data, and presenting facts to be shared with a variety of different audiences.

As the demand for freelance writing support has grown in recent years, now is an excellent time to put that law degree to use as a full time freelance legal writer and researcher or doing this on the side while working as an attorney. Many other types of work available to licensed attorneys falls under the umbrella of practicing in the law.

Policy Attorneys

Law school can prepare graduates for a variety of different types of jobs in the public sector, including policy-related work. The creation and analysis of state and federal government policy can be well suited to an attorney who is inspired by the wording and impact of these statutes.

Immigration Lawyer

Immigration attorneys help families, employers, and individuals understand the complex and constantly evolving area of immigration law. There is so much at stake with immigration that someone who finds a passion and interest in this area will be able to enjoy helping people directly and providing assistance during one of the most challenging times of their life.

Electronic Document Discovery Attorney

The discovery process is usually one of the most involved from the perspective of time and energy in going through litigation. During discovery, parties must sit down and analyze documents that are delivered by the other party in a lawsuit, pulling out relevant pieces of information and details that will be helpful in preparing for a trial. In a technology age there is often much more discovery to be analyzed which means that you could go into business specifically as an electronic discovery specialist.

Elder Law Lawyer

Attorneys who work in elder law help those clients who have disabilities and have families or older clients. An increasing number ofindividuals are in need of support with elder law issues such as advancedhealth care directives, Medicaid planning, and asset protection planning.

Real Estate Attorney

Many complex issues are found under the umbrella of law known as real estate law. Real estate attorneys are involved in numerous different legal activities such as land use, sales and acquisitions, litigation, leasing and more. A thorough understanding of the different types of legal issues that emerge in real estate cases can be helpful for someone who is thinking about launching their career in this way.

Criminal Lawyer

If you have a passion for protecting the rights outlined under the US constitution and ensuring that arrests occur lawfully, pursuing a career as a criminal attorney can give you confidence that you are helping people in their greatest time of need by defending their rights and exploring options when they have been accused of a crime.

Family Lawyer

A family lawyer doesn’t just help with divorce cases, although many family law offices focus primarily on divorce.

Family lawyers can also address issues such as adoption, prenuptial agreements, and conservatorship of a loved one. Becoming a family law attorney gives you the opportunity to help people with highly personal and emotionally charged issues by explaining the law to them and helping them to navigate this difficult process.     

Other Options for JDs

The good news for anyone with a JD is that you have opened many pathways for yourself by pursuing higher education in this field. To learn more about the kinds of non-traditional employment you might be able to seek while still using your law degree, read our related article about top ten jobs to seek after law school.

Getting experience in clerkships and internships can help you get an inside view of the law and help you figure out whether practicing is right for you or whether you should pursue other options.

Laura Pennington - author at Eduvenio

By Laura Pennington

All posts by Laura Pennington