Argument: Legal training is a very transferable skill

Issue Report: Law school


Hindi Greenberg. “So What Else Can You Do with Your Law Degree?” American Bar Association. July/August 2005: “Even those who do totally leave the law continue to draw on the skills they developed in law practice, because those skills are broad-based and valuable. Legal training is very beneficial in the development of useful, transferable skills that are much in demand in the workplace. Both legal education and legal work provide excellent training in analytical thinking, communication, writing, and persuasiveness—skills that can be used in many endeavors.

The previously mentioned former lawyer who now has a job as publications director at the performing arts theater parlayed her legal training and practice abilities in writing, editing, interviewing, organizing information, researching, and giving attention to detail into a half-time job as a publications consultant with the theater group. She eventually moved into a full-time position as the publications director, with responsibilities for reading upcoming plays, writing about them for the program books, interviewing the actors and directors, and attending the plays.

Another lawyer used the persuasion, organization, and communication skills she developed in law practice to move into the fund-raising arena with a law school alumni office, a medical center, and a nonprofit organization as its public relations and development director. She then became an independent consultant on fund-raising and grant writing.

The skills developed as a trial lawyer can be parlayed into related fields. Some litigators, tired of the confrontation and posturing necessary when advocating on a client’s behalf, have investigated mediation or the developing field of ombudsman. These former advocates may continue to engage in client contact, counseling, and analytical thinking but are freed from the pressure to prevail.

Moving even further from traditional legal training, but using the same client contact and counseling skills, increasing numbers of lawyers have decided to return to school to train to become psychologists or therapists.

Some former lawyers travel even farther afield, with careers as varied as humor consultant, retail storeowner, and land-use planner. There are former lawyers who are art professors, journalists, humane society presidents, career counselors, gardeners, chefs, screenwriters, stockbrokers, and literary agents. Many lawyers say that, although they no longer practice law, their legal training was extremely helpful to their transition and gave them credibility they wouldn’t otherwise have.”

“The tough case for law school.” In the driver’s seat. May 25th, 2011: “Law School Teaches Transferable Skills. Law school really teaches you how to think and how to argue your case—both excellent transferable skils. Law school really helped O’Connor understand another’s perspective, to really stand in their shoes—another valuable transferable skill.”