July 21, 2008

An Alternative Way to Work

At Virtual Law Firm, Lawyers Will Work at Home, Earn 85% of Billings

"A lawyer-entrepreneur is joining with 14 other lawyers to start a new legal venture called Virtual Law Partners.

The firm will employ lawyers who work at home, saving on overhead and costing clients less in legal fees, the Recorder reports. Craig Johnson, the lawyer who formed the Venture Law Group in 1993, told the publication that the typical large law firm business model is “a situation that can’t continue.? That business model includes high associate salaries, prestigious offices and billing rates as high as $800 an hour, he said."

For the complete post, visit At Virtual Law Firm, Lawyers Will Work at Home, Earn 85% of Billing

May 20, 2008

First steps in an alternative career search: GoldPASS - the University's job resource

Because most law-trained people pay scant attention to what other people do for a living (unless they are Workers' Compensation lawyers), one important early step in a search for an alternative career is to reconnect with other career paths.

The easiest way to begin is to read a lot of job descriptions very carefully, to begin to understand how functions are described and categorized. This helps you to think about those functions and how your own skills and experience can be described to meet hiring criteria in a non-law setting. These are your transferable skills.

Before the internet, the best tool for this step was to gather five weeks of classified ads from newspapers with significant amounts of white collar jobs (Washington Post, Chicago Tribune), and to read them from A to Z, except for N (for nursing) and E (for electrical engineering). You would cut out jobs that sounded interesting, and, often find that there were clusters of related jobs. Geography was less important than the actual job description, because you could often find similar jobs wherever you were living.

Today, your first source for this exercise might be Another resource that is uniquely available to Minnesota Grads is GoldPASS, the University's job board. You may access it with your x.500 id.

If you graduated before this internet id was issued, please call 612-301-4357, and follow the phone tree for password information. Once you are validated as a graduate, and have your password set up, you may access GoldPASS

Other resources:
NALP (alternative careers)

April 7, 2008

Thinking of a Career in a Non-Profit Organization?

Making the choice to use your law degree for less traditional reasons requires you to be both strategic and thoughtful about your skills and abilities. Many law students express interest in working in the non-profit sector, either because they see such organizations as places where it is possible to be involved in public service and social change or where the expectations are less driven by bottom-line financial success. However, it is not always apparent to employers in non-profit organizations, particularly non-legal related ones, why a person with a JD degree would be a good match for their needs. This makes it incumbent on the candidate to help explain the connection between his or her background and the work of the non-profit entitiy.

A recent New York Times article provides some helpful advice for non-profit job seekers, "Your True Calling Could Suit a Non-Profit". The article can be found at the following (registration required):

While not specifically addressed to lawyers or law students, I think it presents a good overview of how/why candidates can make the transition to this sector and some successful strategies to use. There are additional resources in print, including "What Can You Do With a Law Degree" and other texts. More information can be found on the NALP website at the following:

April 8, 2006

From Lawyer to Administrator: Careers in Higher Ed

NALP provides a wealth of information to students and lawyers. If you are interested in higher ed admin, check this out:

March 13, 2006

Some alternative careers...

Strategic Policy Analyst, Executive Director, Project Manager, Director of Planned Giving, Actuarial Consultant, Admissions Recruiter, Adoption Agency Director, Alderman, Bailiff, Board of Tax Appeals, Career Services, Child Support Enforcement, City Planning Department, Congressional Staff, Consumer Advocate, Dean of Students, Defense Logistics, Election Board, Employee Benefits Consultant, Editor, Environmental Consultant, FBI, Federal Reserve Bank, Financial Analyst, Freedom Forum, Health Policy Analyst, Human Resources, Immigrant Rights Counselor, Inmate Services, Lobbyist, Mediator, Minority Affairs Specialist, NAFTA Consultant, Nature Conservancy Associate Director, Police-Barrio Relations, Pre-Trial Services, Press Secretary, Public Works Department, Real Estate Development, Refugee Resettlement, School District Administration, Sports Management and Tax Foreclosures.

Continue reading "Some alternative careers..." »

March 8, 2006

Considering alternative careers -- take the bar, anyway

Even if you are committed to life as a non-practicing lawyer, seriously consider taking a bar exam. From now until forever, the first thing that someone will ask in an interview is "where did you take the bar exam?" or "why didn't you take the bar exam?" Worse yet, they will look at your resume and ask "Are you a lawyer?" Opt out of the bar and you saddle yourself with the need to take valuable interview time or cover letter space to explain. That time and space will be better served if you can take 30 seconds or 2 sentences to explain just how lucky the employer is to get a law-trained person -- even if it is an alternative career setting. (NOTE To Those Considering Higher Ed -- being a non-lawyer JD among PHds is paints a second class citizen target on your back.)

And your answer in the interview -- however heartfelt -- will distract from your candidacy for what may be the job of your dreams. You can take and pass a bar exam and then decide not to be admitted, or, better yet, be admitted, and then put your license in a status like limbo (in most states it means "didn't do my CLE").

The bottom line is that you never care more about the bar exam than when you are graduating from law school. Taking the MN bar may be a pain, but your likelihood of passing is extraordinarily high, and taking the exam with your pals is safe time in safe space.

February 15, 2006

Clark Consulting -- the Alt Career program you missed

If you are looking for a top-of-the-market employer with a culture dedicated to giving the best client service by supporting both junior and advanced professionals with constant training and feedback, you should explore the opportunities offered by Clark Consulting, a leading healthcare consulting firm that actively recruits law-trained candidates. Know nothing about healthcare? Doesn't matter -- you'll learn. Confused about what consultants do? -Doesn't matter -- they will teach you what you need to know to be a consumate professional. Five speakers (including U of MN Alum Mike Rugani) were more than persuasive. Want to know more, go to Clark Consulting's website