However, I am happy I have a J.D. and came into my position with an understanding of the market and connections that recruiters without a legal background don’t have. I like the law, keeping up on court rulings and legislation and being involved in the legal community.
There are many nontraditional legal careers for J.D.’s who find out that practicing is not for them; recruiting is just one example. Many people go to law school in order to pursue careers in policy, legislation, contracts and grants or academics, positions that are non-practicing but require a J.D.
The decision to leave the practice of law or to take a non-attorney job as a barred attorney is not one to be taken lightly. Besides having to deal with all the questions from your family and friends, once you leave the practice of law it can be difficult to go back. Plus, time spent as a non-practicing attorney is time you’re losing ground. You’re not building your skills and are, in fact, losing your sharpness.
Additionally, nontraditional legal careers shouldn’t be treated as a temporary employment option for J.D.’s who really want to be a practicing attorney. Taking such a position will only set you back in your search for an attorney position.
I am happy in my role as a recruiter. I’m not going to say that I’ve never daydreamed about asking the University of Maryland’s law school one day for a refund, but all in all I wouldn’t give my law degree back. While I wouldn’t recommend going to law school without a plan or solid direction, nontraditional legal careers are a great way to put your law degree to use if practicing law isn’t for you.