10 Alternative Non-legal Careers For Lawyers Who Can’t find Jobs


With the recession going on around the world, as is the case in Nigeria law firms are looking to do more with less since clients now have tighter budgets to work with and would rather outsource legal services in places where they’d pay less. Equally with the rise of tech software’s that can do some of the lawyers work, lawyers are behind the eight ball in finding paid employment. Even the legal market has a glut of lawyers. Too many law students graduate from law school without finding work. So it is important you consider other alternative non-legal careers as an option if you can find work in law firms. Here are some of those.

(1) Investment banking.

A lawyer who wants to become an investment banker should have knowledge of finance and corporate law. It really does compliment a lawyer’s legal knowledge since they can draw on their knowledge of corporate law in facilitating mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and brokering trades for different institution’s. The bonus is that a lawyer will get to work with investment banks. Who wouldn’t remember the likes of Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan Chase of the US.

(2) Real estate.

Lawyers in real estate can act as developers who buy undeveloped land, develop it by erecting structures on it and then sell or rent it out. The demand for land is ever on the rise since cities are forever expanding. You can also be a real estate agent and broker linking buyers of real estate to sellers and earn commissions on that account. If you don’t like that, you can act as a real estate appraiser by providing estimates of the value of a real estate property. Lastly, you can be a real estate advisor, property manager and more.

(3) Mediator/Negotiator

This one is for the doves amongst lawyers, ambassadors of peace and lawyers with an unrivaled passion for managing conflict by assisting others in advocating for solutions. You can act as union representative in a trade dispute. The exploits of Aina Kehinde, a lawyer and a well-known mediator in  Nigeria should be a real spur to lawyers seeking careers in mediation.


(4) Legal technology consultancy

Legal technology consultancy deals with the IT side of running law firms and would fit lawyers with technology savvy. As law technology consultant, you can be called upon to advice clients in a variety of things related to adapting law practice to the innovations of modern day technology. You can provide services in software and hardware consulting, migration to cloud based services.

(5) Business Valuation Expert

Lawyers are good researchers and as a business valuation expert, a lawyer would have to undertake an in-depth research to estimate the economic worth of an owner’s interest in a business. This valuation will in turn be used by financial market participants to determine the price they are willing to pay or receive over the sale of a business. 

(6) International affairs

Career paths in international affairs are not only for lawyers with backgrounds in international law but are open to lawyers with strong diplomacy, adaptability and language skills. Lawyers with the above backgrounds can secure jobs with international organizations like the United Nations who offer jobs to lawyers annually meeting certain entry level qualifications.

(7) Human Resource and legal recruiting

Lawyers with employment flair will find careers in legal recruiting most rewarding. Mostly, they are afforded the opportunity to solve employment issues by advising employees and employers on hiring, firing, recruiting and drafting of policies. Other areas include employment compensation and benefits, immigration and employer/employee relations.

(8) Teaching

Lawyers are better communicators and public speakers so the idea of standing before a class to lecture should be a piece of cake. Lawyers seeking careers in teaching can work in the academia, as lecturers or professors teaching law related subjects to law students. As instructors they will be required to write research papers and articles for publication in reputable journals.

(9) Politicians

Lawyers going into politics is a topic that needs no introduction nowadays. Take a look at the recently concluded elections in Ondo State Nigeria, where the main players were mostly senior lawyers in the legal profession. If you look elsewhere in the world, it’s the same trend. Obama, Hilary Clinton and other host of politicians are all lawyers. As politicians, lawyers can act as campaign managers, elected officials, legislative aides, lobbyist and in-house governmental representatives.

(10) Consultant or coaches

Lawyers seeking careers in consultancy or coaching are to be intellectually curious, good writers and presenters and must possess strong interpersonal skills. They can work in law firm consulting, management consulting, and tax consulting and land use consulting (UC Hastings school of Law). As coaches they can work with companies in-house or start out on their own. Roles include business development coaches, career or life coaches etc.

  1. […] for other informal, non-legal careers. In an earlier article, I’ve highlighted 10 of these alternative non-legal careers available to lawyers who are either fed up with the practice of law or can’t snag legal jobs at […]

  2. Mbuoty says

    I find your articles very insightful. As a lawyer, I veered into a field hitherto unknown to lawyers, Law Librarianship.
    This is a dual professional blend of Law and Librarianship. I can say I have found fulfillment in my chosen career path as I have had to learn how to conduct empirical researches in addition to Legal research.

  3. Patrick Herbert says

    Thanks for the compliment. Good to know you’ve found your ideal station as a lawyer which truly fulfills you. These days a few manage to snag legal positions but the fulfillment is hard to come by. Best of luck.

  4. Ezichi says

    Your write- ups are invaluable, many thanks. I discovered I have interest in legal education (teaching and writing).

    1. Patrick Herbert says

      I feel honored.Thank you for the kind words, Ezichi.

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