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7 Non-Law Firm Jobs That are Good for Law Students

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By George Khoury, Esq. on October 16, 2018 3:57 PM

Landing a job at a prestigious law firm that's going to pay the BigLaw bucks while you're still in law school is unattainable for most law students. At this point, there are just so many more students than there are prestigious summer associate gigs, or even law firm clerking jobs for that matter.

It's a competitive market, and setting yourself apart is getting harder and harder. But that doesn't mean a law student can't work somewhere else without having it hurt their resume. There are plenty of non-law firm jobs that can help set you up for career success down the road, particularly if you don't envision yourself working at a law firm anyway.

Below, you can read about seven non-firm jobs that are good for law students to take, that is, if they can get it.

Legal Non-Profit

Some legal non-profits are structured similar to law firms, and once a law student gets their foot in the door at any position in a non-profit that does legal work, there's a good chance they may find a way to stay as they meet, interact, and work with the attorneys and other staff. If you get your foot in the door, minimally, you may be able to work on some legal projects there that you can specifically include on your resume (just make sure to assert yourself and ask for the work).

Freelance Legal Correspondent/Writer/Blogger

If you're good at reading case law and seem to have a knack for explaining cases to non-lawyers, you may want to consider freelance writing on the side. It's a difficult industry to break into, but simply tracking recent cases in your local courts and writing compelling stories about those cases, could land you a role as a regular freelance contributor. The pay may not be good, but you may get the kind of exposure that makes you a much more desirable attorney once you pass the bar.

Law Library

Your school has one, and there's probably a couple others in your city. These are excellent jobs as you'll be able to hone your researching skills, and law firms (or other future employers) will presume you're a good researcher if you have law library experience on your resume. Also, it's the type of job where you can probably get away with studying while on the clock.

Research Assistant

Your school will have a few of these jobs open every year. The trick to finding them though isn't checking the job boards (though they are sometimes posted there), it's talking to your professors. Asking around about potential research assistant jobs will show the professors that you are interested in the work, which is a big factor when professors are hiring for their own projects.

Document Review Services

While document review is often seen as a dead-end job for lawyers, it can be excellent exposure for a law student, and the pay is probably better than most every other non-law firm job you'll find, even with the legal staffing services that will tell you they don't want law students (you should still apply as requirements at staffing agencies are often client based).

Political Campaigns

If you are really into politics or a particular cause, getting involved at any level and trying to work your way up the organization's ladder is absolutely possible.

In-House Track Grunt Work

If you dream of going in house, then don't be afraid to try to get into a company's legal department on the ground floor, or basement even. Paralegal and contract manager positions abound, and while companies often prefer to hire individuals who plan on making a career out of those positions, it's not unheard of for law students to land these positions (but be forewarned, these positions are usually not summer-only jobs, and may require you to transition into an evening program if you plan to continue working there).

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