Career Counseling needed for Lawyer-type.
November 12, 2008 5:51 PM   Subscribe

Lawyer type looking for possible non-lawyer work needs advice. Okay, you-are-not-my-career-counselor, but I am appealing to the hive mind for advice. I am looking for a job and I need a fresh set of ideas. My fact pattern is a bit odd, and I feel like I’m treading the same ground over and over again in my current search, I want to expand it and don’t know which way to go. Lengthy fact pattern to follow:

I am located in Metro Chicago, and have been practicing as an attorney. I’m in my mid 30s, graduated in 2003 from a Big 10 law school, did fairly well. I also have 2 masters degrees in Art and an undergrad degree in sound engineering/radio. So I have an odd array of skills.

My current position is as General Counsel/Director of Business Operations for a non-profit. I’ve been at that position for a year and a half, and am not sure that the job will be around much longer, and if it is I need to take my career in a different direction. Prior to the current position I used to run a clinic that helped people who were being sued or evicted in Municipal court and saw thousands of clients doing pre-trial and some in court work. I’m not afraid of hard work and am clever enough to be able to pick up new things rapidly.

I’ve been looking for work in the legal field, but there isn’t a ton of work out there at the moment, and I haven’t been drawing loads of interest. I’m not sure how necessary I feel it to continuing working as a lawyer. I’d love suggestions on legal temp firms if people have them so I can register. I’m on sites like LawCrossing, but I feel like I keep applying for the same 12 jobs; 6 of which are from recruiters and 4 of which are scams.

My biggest concern is in finding something stable. I have a mortgage and a baby and am scared to death of being unable to pay for either. I’m happy to work outside the legal field, in the business world, but all of my job search knowledge is in the legal field.

Where does one look for business related jobs? Monster? I’ve looked at and for non-profit work (not that this is a good time for that field in terms of hiring). I’m not really sure where to look for opportunities.

What I would like are any suggestions, wit and wisdom, guidance, etc. the hive mind might have to offer.

I have set up a gmail account for this question if you’d rather e-mail me privately at

posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Network, network, network. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a new job, ask what they would suggest and if they can recommend anyone for you to talk with. I found my last full-time job when someone I was working with on a volunteer job suggested that I call his best friend's ex-room mate. The guy didn't have any suggestions when I told him the direction I was thinking about taking my career but when he saw my resume, he wanted to hire me for his own company. Check the alumni rosters from both your college and law school. Better yet, if you can find anyone from your Art program with an off-beat job that sounds interesting, call them too. Nobody has a lot of work these days - be prepared for a grueling search and just remember that it only takes one - and you never know when the next phone call might the one to connect you to the job you didn't even know you wanted.
posted by metahawk at 6:15 PM on November 12, 2008

I just found the site Alternative Lawyer Jobs the other day. It might be useful to you. Good luck!
posted by Shebear at 6:19 PM on November 12, 2008

I have many friends who went to law school and practiced law and then realized it was the wrong thing for them. One ended up writing a book about how to make the right decision about going to law school and then became an admissions consultant for: A law school! The other went into alumni relations, starting as the alumni coordinator at a third-tier law school in California and working his way up through networking to a senior position.

One avenue you should consider is non-profit management. It might mean you'll do some law work, but law training is very good for a variety of non-profits and they are highly sought after. Good luck!
posted by parmanparman at 6:54 PM on November 12, 2008

With your background in art and sound engineering, you might be able to find a job with a litigation support vendor. My office recently put together a trial presentation for a case involving a high-speed chase, and we subcontracted out the animated simulation to a vendor that specializes in multimedia work for trial evidence. If you decide to pursue this route, I imagine your best chances right now would be with a company on a government contract.
posted by kiripin at 7:00 PM on November 12, 2008

You should also take a look at It's password protected but if you contact your law school's alumni office, they should have a password you can use.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 9:06 PM on November 12, 2008

Since you're in Chicago, check out Linder Legal Staffing (can't do links on my BlackJack but it's Have you considered marketing? Feel free to contact me by email if you're interested in talking more about non-practicing work within a law firm.
posted by MeetMegan at 4:15 PM on November 13, 2008

You might consider applying for government jobs, a legal background certainly would aid you in being considered a viable candidate. Also you might want to spend some time thinking about what it is you really want. You don't want to spend all that time getting a new job only to find out you hate the new job too. Different Ointment, Same Fly.
posted by bryjnug at 8:16 AM on November 18, 2008

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