Legal Job Search
Today's legal market is thriving, and lucrative job opportunities within it extend far beyond those available to attorneys and paralegals. Careers based on using technology, medicine and psychology in a legal context are exploding in popularity, and jobs in the legal field are no longer limited to those who have passed the bar. Whether you're interested in nursing, writing or computers, there's likely a job in the legal sphere that you'd be perfect for. Check out this list of the hottest legal careers and see what could be in store for you.
- Attorney: Attorneys act as advisors and advocates for clients negotiating the legal system. They meet with clients, do research, prepare briefs and argue cases in court. Many attorneys work long hours, and the field is prestigious but notoriously high pressure. Becoming an attorney generally requires four years of undergraduate school, two to four years of law school and a passing grade on a written bar examination. Attorneys usually work for themselves, for law firms and corporations, or for the government. The median annual salary for attorneys is $110, 590.
- Trial Consultant: Trial technology consultants collaborate with a team of legal experts to make custom multi-media presentations to be used during trial. These presentations often include videos, illustrations, models, computer-generated animations and other graphics. Throughout the trial technology consultants handle the set up and placement of technology in the courtroom and troubleshoot technology issues. Trial technology consultants need advanced technology skills, proficiency with sophisticated presentation software and the temperament to solve technology issues in while under pressure. Salaries vary widely for this new career, but the trial consultant field has excellent potential for future growth as attorneys rely more on technology to connect with younger jurors.
- Court Reporter: Court reporters, also known as stenographers, use a piece of equipment called a stenotype to transcribe what people say in legal proceedings such as trials and depositions. Training to become a court reporter takes between two and four years and classes are available at most community colleges. Court reporters need to master using a stenotype and must have excellent grammar, punctuation and listening skills. There is currently a shortage of court reporters in the U.S. and the demand for skilled stenographers is expected to increase sharply in the future. Most court reporters earn between $45,000 and $75,000 per year.
- Jury Consultant: A jury consultant is very different from a trial consultant. Jury consultants have, at a minimum, a bachelor's degree in sociology, behavioral science, criminology or other social science. Their job is to help the legal team understand jury dynamics and predict the behavior of individual jurors and the jury as a whole. Jury consultants need to have keen intuition and thorough knowledge of human behavior to predict what legal strategies will produce the most desirable results from jurors. Research assistants for jury consultants start at around $40,000 per year, and seasoned consultants with Ph.D.'s can earn up to $500,000 annually.
- Paralegal: Paralegals assist attorneys by investigating facts, performing research and interviewing clients. Paralegals need strong writing and organizational skills, and spend quite a bit of time drafting pleadings, subpoenas and other formal documents. Some paralegals have no formal training, but generally a 2-year associate's degree or a 4-year bachelor's degree is required for employment. Paralegal certification enhances a paralegal's professional status, and this certification usually requires the paralegal to pass an exam and have at least one year of experience in the field. The average salary for paralegals is $50,496.
- Compliance Specialist: Regulatory compliance is one of the fastest-growing legal careers around since the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, which prompted a host of new regulations. Compliance specialists and compliance officers work for consulting firms and corporations and spend their time completing, monitoring and coordinating the many compliance and regulatory documents and procedures required by federal law. Salaries for compliance specialist average around $60,000 and employment generally requires a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.
- Legal Secretary: Often also known as legal administrative assistants or legal assistants, legal secretaries perform all of the usual functions of a secretary but must also have specialized legal knowledge. Legal secretaries sometimes start out as legal receptionists with no formal training but training programs and certification are widely available through community colleges. Legal secretaries need to be extremely well-organized and deadline oriented, due to the large amount of paperwork generated by each case and the disastrous consequences of missing a legal deadline. The salary for legal secretaries ranges between $28,000 and $65,000 and job opportunities look good for the future, especially in corporate areas.
- Litigation Support Professional: A litigation support professional performs a hybrid role of administrative assistant and IT support in law offices and corporations. These professionals design and manage databases that store, sort and index the incredibly large amounts of data produced during litigation. Litigation support professionals need strong communication skills so they can explain technical issues to legal staff. The job also requires extreme attention to detail, excellent critical thinking skills and solid organizational abilities. A college degree is usually required, as is a high degree of IT knowledge and familiarity with systems for managing documents. The outlook for this career is excellent, and salaries range from $40,000 to $80,000.
- Legal Nurse Consultant: Licensed nurses with at least five years of nursing experience can make an interesting and lucrative career change by becoming legal consultants. Legal nurse consultants offer attorneys and paralegals advice on medically-related legal issues. Consulting duties typically include analyzing complex medical information, screening new cases for merit and appearing as an expert witness in court. Licensed nurses can become qualified by taking legal nurse consulting classes or passing a certification test. Independent legal nurse consultants generally bill clients at rates between $65 and $200 per hour, depending on their specialty.
- E-Discovery Professional: Professionals in this new field use technology to manage data and facilitate discovery. E-discovery professionals blend their knowledge technology and legal processes to provide a valuable service to tech-challenged attorneys by helping to identify, collect, process, preserve and produce electronically stored information (ESI). Most people in this field have a background in IT or law, and most training occurs on the job. The e-discovery profession has exploded in recent years, and e-discovery managers can have salaries as high as $250,000.
- Mediator: To avoid rising legal costs, many people and companies are turning to a process known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to settle disputes out of court. Mediators, who are also sometimes also called conciliators or arbitrators, guide clients through the ADR process and help resolve conflicts that occur along the way. Mediators need excellent communication, problem solving and negotiation skills. Many mediators are former judges or attorneys, but a legal background is not required to be a mediator. Mediators will likely see growth in their field in the future as the ADR process becomes more commonly used. Mediators earn anywhere between $29,000 and $110,000 annually and many work as independent contractors with an hourly rate.
- Law Librarian: Law librarians know the ins and outs of legal research, and their skills are invaluable to lawyers and law students alike. Law librarians are employed in government libraries, at law schools and in law firms. A master's degree in library science is required to become a law librarian, and some programs give students the option of working on a law degree and a library science degree simultaneously. Salaries for law librarians vary depending on where they are employed, but prospects for the future are very good, especially for those well versed in modern research techniques.
Clearly, the legal field is full of exciting, well-paid careers with solid futures. No matter whether you're already qualified or considering starting down a new path, there is a place for you in the expanding world of legal careers. Why hesitate? Start searching for your perfect job today on our site. We can match potential applicants with their dream jobs and help companies find the best and most qualified candidates for open positions. Whether you're looking for a career in the legal field or trying to find the best and brightest person to hire, our job board will simplify your search. Today's legal field is full of opportunities and our service puts them right at your fingertips.