Legal & Alternative Professional Careers

The legal profession is decentralized and stratified in terms of its governance and administration. Multiple stakeholders and entities, such as the American Bar Association (ABA), national and state judiciaries, and state bars, structure the delivery of legal services into a variety of practice settings that range from the private practice of law to nontraditional or alternative legal occupations that value, but do not require, bar passage (so-called “JD Advantage” jobs, discussed below).

Within these work spaces, lawyers typically act as advocates or advisers, and deliver legal services in courthouses or, more commonly, in business-like transactional settings. The law degree, in and of itself, is very functional and can be used across all areas of the private sector and public affairs.

Students, while in and after graduating from law school, develop a specialization in certain areas of the law and/or legal practice. These include corporate law, criminal law, education law, employment law, family law, insurance law, international law, personal injury law, tax law, sports law, and worker's compensation, among others.

A growing career path is pursuing employment in alternative legal careers, or "JD Advantage" jobs, that value but do not require passing a bar examination and getting a professional license to practice law. The National Association of Law Placement provides information on such alternative legal careers.