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JDs Not to Be

With law firms cutting back, some career counselors are advising lawyers to think about another profession. This week's Maryland Daily Record profiles lawyers who did more than think about leaving the law; they've actually done it.

According to the article, nonpracticing lawyers fall into one of two categories:

Either they always wanted to be lawyers but found once they started that it wasn't what they’d hoped for, or they never wanted to be lawyers but drifted into law school because they couldn’t think of anything else to do.

Of course, these days, I'd add a third category as well: those who wanted to be lawyers but simply couldn't find a job.

The nonpracticing lawyers profiled hold a diverse range of positions. Janet Sinder, who aspired to be a civil liberties lawyer, found that she didn't like working as a criminal appeals lawyer, so she decided to get a degree in library sciences. Today, she is a law librarian at University of Maryland Law School. According to Sinder, most of her colleagues in the library sciences field enjoy their jobs.

Amir Eyal got a J.D., largely because he wasn't sure of what he wanted to do. After trying unsuccessfully to start an estate planning practice, he became a certified financial planner. Other former lawyers include entrepreneurs and a training and diversity director at a law firm.

In most of these positions, a J.D. seems as if it would be an asset. The only question is whether these kinds of positions will be flooded with applicants in a down economy.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 8, 2009 at 05:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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