But the J.D. also can be a liability.
If you are like me and want to practice law without practicing law, most days the world is your oyster. You can do anything with your law degree, because you are a problem-solving workhorse lawyer who can do just about anything in any professional setting.
However, every once in a while, you’ll apply for a job you know you will absolutely love and someone will look at your resume and ask, “why do we need to hire a lawyer? He’s going to expect a $150,000 salary and probably won’t get up from his desk to make a copy himself.” (It’s true, people, we’ve got a bit of a reputation.)
The other possibility is a prospective employer will (and I know people who do this) simply toss your resume straight into the trash without thinking past “he or she will just be using us as a steppingstone to get something better and won’t give us 100 percent in the short time before they leave.”
The challenge becomes spinning your perceived liabilities into why you are valuable, along with dissuading the fears of prospective employers that you will consider yourself above doing what needs to be done in the office, and that you actually want to work there and won’t run off after the next highest paycheck you see. (I realize the apparent contradiction between this and my last couple of posts about always looking for your next career move – it’s a fine line, but I know you can walk it!)
Like I said, we are problem-solvers. We love to work, otherwise we wouldn’t have gone to law school in the first place. We are willing to make investments to further our careers and, for the most part, enjoy what we do.
If you are facing this problem and can get a prospective employer to look at you in that light despite the few counts you may have against you initially, you have a great shot at getting in the door and proving yourself in a new job.