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Life after law school: viable alternatives?

Asked by Puravida (62points) August 11th, 2014

Dear Fluther,

Having recently moved back to the USA after a very long time studying abroad, I have found that I am in need of a little food for thought.

Returning to the USA was never exactly the plan, but life seems to often follow forks in the road that you do not necessarily anticipate…. Long story short, I met another American abroad, fell in love, and moved back – who would have thought?!

Becoming a lawyer was my mission in life from basically the age of sixteen, though now I have realized that perhaps I never really stepped back to think about why I was so intent on this. As the years, and work experiences, have gone by, I have realized that it is not the most entailing job on the planet, and I am exploring other options, though not entirely discounting the possibility either.

My question boils down to this, considering my qualifications:

I have an LL.B. in Law, Valedictorian, (undergrad English equivalent to a J.D.), and an LL.M. (Masters) in Law from Cambridge.

The issue is that in the USA, I really cannot practice law easily, I still need to do a J.D., and avoiding 300k+ debt (?!), and keeping 3 years of my life, is attractive. Based on the current climate, I am not entirely sure that there are enough pros to outweigh the cons – it is not clear to me that there are enough attractive legal jobs to make the pursuit worthwhile. On some quick investigation, it seems that many entry level corporate jobs match or surpass similar level jobs for lawyers.

The loophole: I am able to take the NY bar (though this does not provide me with much reciprocity with other states), however, it would allow me to work as in house counsel in the state which I plan to live in. The downside, however, is that on preliminary research, in house jobs do not seem to be offered to those with little to no experiences in their particular field. I do plan on taking the bar either way, as I feel like it can’t hurt, and if I don’t do it now, there is a chance I never will. Also, following the NY bar, I would be able to take a conversion exam to be admitted in England as well – following 5 years of legal practice, in theory, I should be able to then take the bar exam in my state, then finally becoming a full fledged lawyer rather than simply an in house exception.

As an alternative, the state I am living in has a large energy industry, oil and gas etc. How would one go about breaking into this industry at a corporate level? Would a further Masters in this area be beneficial? What should I be doing to target jobs in this industry? Further, what other kind of industries could (should) I be considering, keeping in mind that that I am definitely not an engineer, mathematician, accountant or doctor… My consideration to depart from a career in law is very fresh, and if would greatly appreciate some food for thought regarding this.

Thank you in advance.


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