When people think about careers in law, a lawyer is usually the first option that comes to mind. However, going that route isn’t ideal for everyone. It involves a significant amount of formal education, which can come with a steep price tag. Additionally, it isn’t going to ignite everyone’s passion, including some who are extremely interested in the law.
Ultimately, working as an attorney is undoubtedly a solid way to launch a career in the legal field. However, it’s by no means the only option available. Here’s a look at the top jobs in law that don’t require you to become a lawyer.
Some of the Top Non-Lawyer Positions in Law
Paralegals are professionals that directly support lawyers, law offices, corporate legal departments, certain government agencies, and other organizations. While they can’t provide legal advice or represent clients in court, they otherwise perform duties highly similar to attorneys. They’ll handle research, conduct interviews, investigate case-related details, draft documents, and more.
Usually, becoming a paralegal involves specialized training, either in the form of a targeted associate’s degree or a professional certificate. Once qualified, professionals working as paralegals usually earn around $51,000 annually, though some may make more than $80,000 per year once they gain enough experience.
An alternative to handling disputes in court, mediators work with the involved parties to find resolutions to issues outside of a court setting. Also called conciliators or arbitrators, their goal is to help the parties find a suitable solution, applying their legal know-how to explain the various options available and formally document any agreements once they’re made.
Mediators can work for a variety of organizations, including corporations, government agencies, educational institutions, insurers, and more. In exchange for their expertise, salaries near $61,000 a year are the norm, though the top professionals in this field can often earn more than $120,000.
Legal secretaries – also called legal assistants – mainly handle clerical functions for a law office or organization’s legal department. They may draft documents, handle correspondence, schedule appointments, manage incoming calls, and maintain files. At times, assisting with case-related research may also come with the job, though that isn’t always the case.
Pay rates usually vary based on education or experience level. However, salaries are generally close to $45,000 per year. For those who are well into their career, something near $76,500 is certainly possible.
A highly focused law-related career, compliance specialists help organizations ensure that they’re following various regulatory requirements or laws relating to their specific kind of operations. Additionally, they’ll usually assist with key compliance activities, such as filing mandated reports using the required process.
There are times when compliance specialists may also work for regulatory agencies or review boards. In those cases, their main roles are to check submissions by regulated organizations and review operations to ensure rules are followed. At times, that includes conducting site visits, though that isn’t always the case.
Regardless of the career path, salaries near $71,000 per year are common in this field. However, those with ample experience can potentially earn more than $100,000 annually.
Litigation Support Professional
Part paralegal, part technical specialists, litigation support professionals help attorneys coordinate, sort, index, and otherwise manage information related to cases. Often, they develop processes for data management, ensuring critical information is easily accessed and retrieved as needed for cases. Additionally, they’ll support technologies in the courtroom, support litigation support application users, and coordinate with various vendors.
Typically, this is viewed as a management position, as litigation support specialists may oversee technical or paralegal teams. In many cases, litigation support professionals earn about $61,500 early in their careers. As they gain experience, six-figure salaries aren’t uncommon.
Legal Nursing Consultant
For professionals with an interest in medicine and the law, becoming a legal nursing consultant could be an excellent option. It allows nurses to apply the knowledge acquired through their clinical expertise and combine it with legal know-how.
Often, legal nursing consultants then use that combined knowledge to advise lawyers on medical-related points relating to cases they’re handling. However, they may also work with insurance providers, healthcare organizations, government agencies, and more. Along the way, they typically earn between $55,000 and $211,000, depending on their experience level.
Jury consultants have unique expertise that allows them to guide lawyers during the jury selection process. Along with some legal expertise, they’re skilled at assessing potential jurors to determine how they’ll potentially view the case. In turn, this helps attorneys remove jurors who may be problematic, such as those who exhibit signs of potential bias.
A jury consultant may also conduct mock trials or hold focus groups. That allows them to learn more about how various aspects of a case may be perceived, allowing lawyers to adjust their approach if needed. Typically, jury consultants are paid per case, not a set annual wage. However, those who perform well and are used for high-stakes cases can bring in six-figure salaries with relative ease.
Electronic Discovery Specialist
In the world of law-related careers, electronic discovery specialist is a relatively new option, largely due to the rising use of digital devices and electronic storage mechanisms. Also referred to as e-discovery, electronic discovery is the process of collecting and preserving evidence digitally. Additionally, an electronic discovery specialist typically assists with the management of electrically-stored information (ESI).
Overall, this is a growing field, with potential revenues near $12 billion, which are pushing upward. As a result, salaries are mainly rising, too. However, they currently sit close to $70,000 or $75,000 per year, which is solid.
Get Access to the Top Jobs in Law by Partnering with a Staffing Agency
When you’re looking for one of the top jobs in law that doesn’t involve working as an attorney, seizing opportunities to streamline your job search is essential. By partnering with a staffing firm like Burnett Specialists, you can streamline your job search dramatically. Along with getting access to opportunities at leading employers in the area, our recruiters spend time getting to know you, ensuring you’re matched with your dream job. Learn more about the available opportunities today.