As you trudge along towards your February LSAT date, I bet I know exactly what’s keeping you going. Keeping you motivated. Fortifying your lawyerly resolve. You know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel – the light of a late-night desk lamp as you scramble to decipher the Erie Doctrine on the eve of your first year exams. It’s the migraine-inducing blue-light emanating from your computer screen as you nod off for the fourteenth time on your thirteenth consecutive twelve-hour workday as a young associate. It’s the garish overhead light of a corporate boardroom as your pecuniarially-petulant fat cat clients grumble at you over your obnoxious hourly billing rates.
No? Not for you? You aren’t alone: I’ve noticed many students have no intention of ever practicing as an attorney – and many more intend to quit as soon as they pay down their quarter-million dollars in law school debt. If that’s you, then consider these alternatives:
Consulting. Have you always excelled at guessing how many jelly-beans are in the jar? Then you may enjoy a career as a consultant – or, at least, you may enjoy the interview. For years now, big consultancies like Bain and Boston Consulting Group have been recruiting heavily on law school campuses, so students have the opportunity to enlist directly out of school without ever having to practice law.
Investment Banking. Increasingly, banks are hiring JDs along with MBAs. To some degree, this is a product of the expansion of federal regulations, like Dodd-Frank, since the 2008 financial crisis. These careers are attractive to many dissatisfied attorneys because they offer pay competitive with BigLaw – unfortunately, they typically come with BigLaw hours.
Politics. From elected official to staffer to legal counsel, politics have long been a common landing spot for disaffected attorneys. Familiarity with the logic and language of the law is a great asset for those drafting statutes, so it’s no accident that roughly 60% of the Senate has a JD.
Or, best of all, work as an LSAT Instructor. None of the hours, no dress code, and – most importantly – y’all make for relatively sufferable clients.