For Lawyers Interested in Alternative Careers, Lawlternate Shares Opportunities
Not every lawyer wants to practice forever. Some want to leave law firm life, some want to pursue business interests, some want to hitch a ride on the startup boom and some just want to see what’s out there. For everyone from fresh J.D.’s to seasoned attorneys who have lost their taste for the partner track, there’s an online resource - Lawlternate. It’s a job board for attorneys that lists alternate positions, opportunities at nonprofits, and jobs at startups. We chatted with Lawlternate’s founder and creator, Shahed Kader, about the site and his advice for lawyers making the leap out of law. Shahed has worked extensively in sales, biz dev, and marketing. He is currently attending law school.
Why should every lawyer know about Lawlternate? Lawyers, new or old, should know that their degree opens up a variety of opportunities. They are not limited to being a practicing attorney. Rather, they can go into sales, business development, partnerships, risk, compliance, HR, and more.
What are some of the most common alternate jobs you post on Lawlternate for lawyers, and which do you think are generally a good fit? The most common alternate jobs are compliance (check out our blog post on compliance jobs) and business development (all lawyers are salespeople, business development is just a more complicated deal to close).
How do you curate the jobs - both legal and nonlegal - that you feature on your site? Jobs posted on our board are either posted directly by an employer, or hand selected daily by our team from relevant job boards. The links always point to exactly where we found the job.
What skill sets do non-law jobs require that almost all lawyers have? Lawyers are trained to be problem solvers. This includes being diligent and being logical. Combining these two is a recipe for success for the non-law jobs posted on Lawlternate.
What skills should lawyers try to develop if they’re hoping to make the leap from a law firm to an alternate career? Making that leap really depends on what field they want to go in to. For example, if you'd like to go in to compliance - brush up on governmental regulations and how to keep up with them. If you're going into sales or business development - brush up on your communication with clients, and your thick skin. The list goes on!
What are some unexpected hurdles a lawyer should be prepared for when pursuing an alternate career? Lawyers should expect questions like "why don't you want to practice law anymore?" or "why not use your law degree to become an attorney?" I'd recommend being prepared with an answer that highlights your interests and goals, and how your hard earned law degree fits in.
What have you learned about lawyers and the legal industry through your experience founding and building Lawlternate? More than anything, I've learned through my conversations with lawyers, Deans and President's of top law schools, and those who have made the jump into an alternate career that there is a division in belief. On one end, there is the orthodox, or 'old school' mentality where a law degree will only lead you to become an attorney. On the other end, there is the progressive, or 'new school' mentality where there is recognition that in the 21st century, a 'legal career' is not just being an attorney.
You’re currently a law student yourself, after having worked in business and in sales for some time. How have your business skills and experiences helped with your pursuits and studies in law? There has been a mutually beneficial relationship between my ongoing legal education and my experience in business. For example, my experience has showed me how to manage and handle law school as if it's another job - plan, and execute. On the other hand, my legal education has opened my mind up in the business world for logical partnerships, unique sales opportunities, and more.
If you could change one thing about the legal industry, what would it be? Exactly what I am trying to do with Lawlternate - make the progressive outlook on 'legal careers' more abundant.
Fill in the blanks! “ Always ______________________ like a lawyer, but never ___________________ like a lawyer.” "Always think like a lawyer, but never feel like a lawyer."
For more information about Lawlternate, or to keep up to date with job opportunities out there, check out their site, their blog and their twitter. Reach out to Lawlternate founder and creator Shahed Kader at @ShahedKader.