Law Students Options

Law Students Unconventional Paths: Expanding Horizons

In the past, pursuing a legal career typically involved following traditional paths such as joining a law firm, practising in a courtroom, or focusing on corporate law. However, the legal profession has evolved, presenting a diverse range of opportunities beyond the conventional routes. Graduate Careers Australia data reveals that 74% of Australian law school graduates secure full-time employment within four months of graduation, demonstrating a high demand for legal experts across industries.

This article builds upon our previous piece from July 2022, titled "The Versatile Nature of the Legal Profession," by shedding light on the evolving and available opportunities for law graduates.

At McGill University's Faculty of Law, a student-run society is dedicated to helping students explore alternative career paths that may not be immediately obvious after graduation. Schurman-Grenier, the President of this Society says, “Unfortunately, imposter syndrome takes over and discourages students when they apply for jobs. DALA was created to show them how people carved out their legal careers.”

Traditionally, careers with job security, lifelong employment, and benefits such as pensions were highly sought-after. Many individuals from previous generations were drawn to working for government agencies or private-sector companies due to the stability and safety nets offered. However, as the world economy became more globalised, opportunities for non-mainstream occupations began to emerge. Similarly, the legal profession has undergone significant transformations. Today, it encompasses unconventional paths such as podcasting, vlogging, legal journalism, and more. This article explores these off-beat career paths, highlighting that the legal profession is no longer limited to black and white but rather shines with a vibrant array of possibilities.

Expanding Professional Horizons

Law school demands significant time and effort, but that doesn't mean law students can't explore alternative income paths while studying. The digital age has opened up a world of opportunities for aspiring legal professionals to earn income through unconventional avenues. These creative outlets not only provide financial support but also offer opportunities to develop valuable skills, build a personal brand, and expand professional networks. Here are some non-mainstream career paths for law students to consider:

  • Podcasting: Law students can leverage the popularity of podcasting to create their legal podcasts. By discussing legal topics, interviewing professionals, or providing exam prep tips, they can engage with an audience interested in legal matters. Monetisation options include sponsorships, advertisements, and crowdfunding. Podcasting helps develop communication skills and establish credibility within the legal community.
  • Vlogging: Video blogs receive high interaction, making platforms like TikTok and YouTube excellent venues for law students to share relative legal information. By creating informative videos, they can attract a customer base. Popular creators with a significant following can earn income through company endorsements. Vlogging offers a creative outlet for sharing legal expertise through visual storytelling and generates income through advertising, sponsorships, brand partnerships, or selling educational products.
  • Freelancing: Law students possess unique skills that can be monetised through freelancing platforms. They can offer legal research, writing, editing, or document review services to law firms, professionals, or businesses in need of legal support. Freelancing provides income, practical experience, portfolio building, and valuable professional relationships. Platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr offer opportunities to find freelance legal work.
  • Monetising Legal Insights: Law students can create legal-focused content on platforms like Medium, LinkedIn, or personal blogs to share insights, analysis, and study resources. Building an online presence and engaging with a target audience can attract sponsorship opportunities, brand collaborations, or paid guest writing opportunities. Developing a personal brand and digital marketing skills can be advantageous.
  • Legal Journalism: Legal journalism focuses on the legal aspects of events across various fields. Law graduates can work as editorial or research analysts for organisations or contribute to legal publications. This profession requires commercial knowledge, honing writing, editorial, and analytical skills, and expanding legal knowledge.
  • Entrepreneurship: Law students can apply their legal background to start their business ventures. Skills gained in law school, such as contract reading, legal compliance, and understanding legal standards, are valuable in entrepreneurship. Many successful entrepreneurs, including CEOs of renowned companies, have law backgrounds. Entrepreneurial ventures in legal technology and education are examples of non-conventional career paths.

Exploring these alternative paths allows law students to diversify their income streams, gain practical experience, and develop valuable skills while studying.

Challenges and Downsides

Opting for offbeat or non-mainstream careers presents several challenges and downsides, including:

  • Initial Start and Career Growth: It may take longer to establish oneself and find stable employment in non-mainstream careers compared to more traditional paths. Building a reputation and gaining recognition may require extra effort and perseverance.
  • Networking Challenges: Niche industries or professions often have a smaller community, making it harder to build a wide network of contacts. Limited networking opportunities can hinder career advancement and access to valuable resources.
  • Risk and Limited Career Mobility: Offbeat careers may come with inherent risks and uncertainties. The demand and stability of these careers can vary, making it challenging to secure long-term prospects. Transitioning to other fields or industries may also be more difficult due to specialised skills or limited transferable experience.
  • Irregular Working Hours: Non-mainstream careers often demand continuous effort and may involve irregular working hours. Professionals in these fields may need to adapt to unconventional schedules or be available during non-traditional hours to accommodate client needs or project deadlines.

While pursuing offbeat careers can offer unique opportunities and personal fulfilment, it's important to be aware of these potential downsides and carefully consider the challenges they entail. Building a strong foundation, networking strategically, managing risks, and maintaining a work-life balance is crucial for success in these unconventional paths.

Fostering Innovation: Law School to Startups

Governments worldwide are actively initiating measures to foster innovation and cultivate entrepreneurship among young individuals.

India has experienced a significant rise in funding and diverse growth paths for startups that originated as small businesses. The 'Make in India' Campaign has been instrumental in nurturing a thriving startup ecosystem in the country, leading India to currently hold the third-largest startup ecosystem globally. To further expand the horizons of learning and support aspiring entrepreneurs, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law in India suggests the inclusion of startup clinics in law schools, alongside legal clinics. This initiative aims to empower law students and individuals outside of law schools to consider alternative careers in the field of law.

The Government of Singapore is also actively dedicated to enhancing the legal industry through its Legal Industry Technology and Innovation Roadmap. This comprehensive approach involves various initiatives, including cross-disciplinary curriculum industry partnerships, collaborations with industry stakeholders, and advancements in research capabilities. In a similar vein, India recently observed National Technology Day with a focus on the theme "School to Startups - Igniting Young Minds to Innovate." This initiative aims to cultivate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship nationwide, encouraging students to explore unconventional career paths and leverage the available opportunities and resources.

Author: Varun Bhatia, Co-Founder of 3NServe.

Varun Bhatia

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Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Novum Learning or Legal Practice Intelligence (LPI). While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information in this article has been obtained from reliable sources, neither Novum Learning or LPI nor the author is responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information, as the content published here is for information purposes only. The article does not constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law relating thereto and does not constitute professional and/or financial advice.

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