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Find your niche in a nontraditional legal career

December 1, 2021

One benefit of a law degree is its versatility. But because of that, if you don’t have your heart set on an area of practice, you get overwhelmed by the array of options before you. How do you find your niche?

Here’s how to begin that journey.

There are numerous career paths that don’t fit into your “traditional” path that your law degree can supplement. Government jobs, serving in elected office, and business management or marketing are just a start.

Working in government

“The easy way to figure out what you want to do in law school is by taking as many opportunities to get your hands dirty as possible,” advised Tolulope Kevin Olasanoye, national political and organizing director of Collective PAC, a political action committee seeking to grow African-American representation in elected positions. “Internships, externships, pro bono work, or clinics that are potentially less traditional are great exposures. Take and apply what you learn in the classroom to real-world experiences to really get your hands dirty and get that exposure.”

Robert Hertzberg, majority leader of the California State Senate, knows his law degree has benefitted his political career. “It’s been very useful and has made me a better legislator,” he stated, because he knows how to navigate, apply, change, and write laws.

When you are an elected official or work in a government job you are constantly exposed to, handling, reading, and sometimes even writing the laws. Having a law degree can accustom you to reading the law, such as what approaches to take, where to start, filtering what is important and what isn’t, or how to take notes while reading the law.

When you are a legislator, having the abilities to read, understand, and filter the law quickly will prove very impactful. Law school trains students in those areas and will supplement and complement a government job or elected official position well.

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