Career Opportunities in Law Without Going to Law School

by Chad Agrawal

lawCarving out a career in the legal profession comes with a certain degree of prestige and financial security. These and other perks help law schools attract thousands of applicants every year. Legal education can be an excellent investment for those who can afford it but soaring fees make it inaccessible for most people. Fortunately, a law degree is not absolutely necessary to get into a good firm. There are plenty of career opportunities in the legal sector that don't require going to a law school. After all, attorneys need to have their support staff and firms have to be run by competent managers.


The volume of work makes it impossible for lawyers to handle everything on their own. They often hire paralegals or legal assistants who can provide high level support when preparing for cases. Paralegals may get formal training in community colleges or private institutions that offer a relevant degree. They may also be trained on-the-job, rising from a clerical position to this important role. They are often asked to draft legal documents, conduct case-specific research, and accompany lawyers to court hearings. There is currently no license exam for paralegals but certification exams are available on a voluntary basis. Highly specialized and experienced professionals may command a substantial salary.

Legal Administrator

In essence, a legal administrator performs managerial functions inside a law firm. The actual job description may differ depending on the workplace setup. Small law offices require legal administrators to perform a wide range of tasks such as document organization, scheduling, payroll, and advertising. Bigger firms tend to hire legal administrators for top level managerial tasks such as client relations, marketing campaigns, human resources management, and the like. They are busy ensuring that the business side of the law practice is taken care of so that the firm can enjoy smooth operations.

Financial Manager

In global firms, there may be a finance executive that takes care of strategic planning and business development. Financial managers are hired to optimize the appropriation of resources which is especially important when firms are earning hundreds of millions every year. The study all of the fiscal reports so that they can create sensible budgets and increase the company's profitability. It is a highly specialized position that pays handsomely but also requires extraordinary skills. It does not require detailed knowledge of the law but financial managers must have a deep understanding of how the legal profession is run as a business.

Legal Secretary

Legal secretaries are in the front lines, dealing with both the clients and the lawyers. They have to be familiar with the legal terms that they will encounter every day. There are schools that offer diploma courses which prepare candidates in handling common tasks. These include scheduling, follow-ups, file organization, and other clerical responsibilities. Although they may look simple, the sheer amount of information being processed inside firms as well as the strict deadlines makes this a challenging job. It can be hard to find a competent secretary so lawyers tend to hold on when they find one.

Legal Consultants

Attorneys are experts in law but they lack experience in other industries. When they tackle their client's concerns, they often need the professional opinion of industry insiders to help them understand the situation. Engineers, for example, can become legal consultants for firms that specialize in cases revolving around construction or utilities.

These are just a few of the positions available inside law firms. None of them require a full law school degree that can cost a hundred thousand dollars or more. Instead, training can come from an unrelated degree or short courses that much more affordable.

About The Author

Joshua Turner is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to business. In this article, he describes job opportunities relating to the field of law and aims to encourage further study with a NOVA Online Master of Science in Law.

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

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