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Careers in Law Without Being a Lawyer

April 14, 2023


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 01/16/23

Law school isn’t for everyone, but if law is still your dream career field, read on to find out more about careers in law without being a lawyer. 

The process of becoming a lawyer is extensive.

You’ll need to complete a four-year bachelor’s while maintaining a high GPA and be constantly involved with your local and school community. You’ll then have to apply to competitive legal programs, get through and excel in law school and write the bar exam. After that, you’ll have to stand out as an employee against hundreds of other applicants. 

Even after completing this process, a career as a lawyer isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Lawyers are constantly under pressure, expected to work long hours, and often deal with emotionally taxing cases.

If this lifestyle doesn’t sound like the right fit for you, but you’re still interested in joining the legal field, there are luckily several other options for you to consider! This list will go over some of the most popular non-lawyer legal jobs for law enthusiasts! 

10 Non-Lawyer Legal Jobs

non-lawyer legal jobs

Here are 10 careers to consider to get your foot into the legal world! 

A Paralegal

Paralegals are integral parts of any law firm. These professionals essentially provide any and all support to the law firm or lawyer they work with. Their roles may include some of the same responsibilities lawyers perform, such as legal research, conversing with clients and gathering evidence, and filing briefs.

In order to become a paralegal, you must complete an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or post-bachelor’s certification in paralegal studies. Depending on the education you choose to pursue, it’ll take approximately one to four years to become a paralegal.

The average paralegal’s salary is around $56,230 a year.

A Legal Secretary

While many confuse paralegals with legal secretaries, the two perform vastly different roles!

Paralegals require some form of legal education because they perform substantive and highly technical legal work. On the other hand, legal secretaries perform more administrative duties such as transcribing, filing, and handling correspondence.

Legal secretaries do not require higher education, but are recommended to have legal experience to increase their qualification for this job.

The average salary for legal secretaries is $52,540. 

A Mediator

Mediators are required in every area of law, so their roles differ depending on their speciality. However, their main responsibility is to act as a neutral third party to aid in the process of dispute resolution.

Mediators listen to both sides of a dispute, identify weaknesses or areas of concern, and come up with possible solutions. While they do not ultimately determine the outcome of the dispute, they can help the parties involved make the most informed decision.

The majority of mediators have a bachelor’s degree in an area of interest that helped them develop their communication and legal skills.

It’s also recommended that mediators complete 40-hour specialization meditation programs to further enhance their skills. 

On average, these professionals make $49,410 annually

A Jury Consultant

In certain criminal court cases, the defendants are given the right to a jury trial. This jury must be impartial and fair as they listen to both sides of the case to determine a verdict. 

Choosing a fair jury can be difficult, which is where jury consultants come into play. These professionals gather information on potential jurors, create juror profiles, and help the attorney choose jurors.

Jury consultants may also provide suggestions on how to present information to jurors, help lawyers create their opening and closing statements, and advise them on how to share complex information to the jury. 

To become a jury consultant, you will typically only need a bachelor’s degree and work experience to qualify for this career. Degrees involving law and/or psychology, like a B.A. in Forensic Psychology, are recommended.

Jury consultants get paid per job, so their salaries vary depending on their area of expertise and experience.

A Compliance Officer

While compliance officers don’t typically work in courtrooms or law firms, their main responsibility still entails ensuring others uphold the law. Compliance officers work in corporations where they ensure the organization and employees within it follow all internal and external rules.

Compliance officers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in a subject related to their desired area of employment, such as business, accounting, or health sciences. Master’s degrees in Compliance Management and Risk are also popular for those wishing to gain more advanced training and open more doors for themselves.

The median salary for compliance officers is around $75,810 a year. 

A Title Examiner

If you have an interest in real estate law in general, becoming a title examiner might be the right career for you.

Title examiners assist lawyers in determining the legal status of properties and finding any restrictions on them.

While you may become a title examiner without any higher education, the majority of these professionals have a bachelor’s degree in a related field. 

Title examiners earn approximately $52,390 a year

A Criminologist

For all murder mystery fans who love learning about the intricacies of criminal law, criminology may be the perfect field for you!

Criminologists analyze evidence and data to help solve crimes and help create future policies and procedures to prevent these crimes from reoccurring. They also study criminal behavior to learn more about why crimes are committed. Criminologists spend the majority of their time in laboratories or offices, though, not actual crime scenes!

The most popular path to becoming a criminologist is to first complete a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Psychology, or Sociology and then a Master’s degree in Behavioral Science.

These legal professionals earn around $48,919 a year.

A Contract Administrator

While lawyers can create contracts for parties to sign, a contract administrator’s sole purpose is to review, write, negotiate, and develop a contract for a particular company or organization. 

These administrators must keep all internal, local, state, and federal guidelines in mind while making these contracts to ensure there are no legal breaches.  

Many contract administrators have a background in business, either through a bachelor’s in Business or Finance or an MBA. Some also choose to pursue legal education to learn the ins and outs of the laws they have to abide by in these contracts.

The median salary for contract administrators is $66,685.

A Court Reporter

A great way to get into the courtroom without having the pressure of convincing a judge or jury of the defendant’s innocence or guilt is to be a court reporter. Court reporters use a variety of tools including stenotype machines, steno masks, video and audio recordings to capture everything that is said during trials.

Court reporters must complete an accredited court reporting program and may be required to pass certain state exams before practicing.

The earning potential for court reporters is quite high. Their average salary is around $60,380 per year.

A Bailiff

A final option for those interested in working in the courtroom is to become a bailiff. Bailiffs, also known as court officers, are in charge of keeping order in the courtroom and ensuring everyone’s safety. 

The majority of bailiffs have a high school diploma and complete specialized training. Some employers may prefer that bailiffs have a legal education, such as a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. 

The average salary of a bailiff is $52,340. 

Is a Law Degree Worth It for Non-Lawyer Legal Jobs?

While a law degree can expand your knowledge base and help you hone skills that will be beneficial in non-lawyer legal jobs, it’s generally not worth it to go through the extensive process of obtaining a law degree for these jobs.

Not only is law school expensive and challenging, but having a J.D. could make you seem overqualified for certain jobs! You’ll also be limiting your earning potential by obtaining a law degree but working a non-lawyer job, since attorneys make much more than non-lawyer professionals. 

FAQs: Careers in Law Without Being a Lawyer

For any more questions about careers in law without being a lawyer, read on to find your answers.

1. What Is the Easiest Law Profession?

While no legal profession is easy per se, becoming a legal secretary involves the least amount of education and technical knowledge, as these secretaries mainly perform administrative duties.

2. What Are Jobs Similar to a Lawyer?

A paralegal career is similar to a lawyer. Paralegals can undertake many of the same responsibilities as lawyers and have the legal training to understand the intricacies of various cases.

3. What Can I Do With a Law Degree if I Don’t Want to Become a Lawyer? 

One popular option that will put your law degree to use is becoming a law professor! Law professors are required to have a legal degree, a master’s, and usually a Ph.D. as well. A law degree will also help you in roles like a compliance officer, where you must know how to follow various rules and regulations. 

4. What Is the Difference Between a Paralegal and a Legal Assistant?

Paralegals and legal assistants are the same and have identical responsibilities. Legal secretaries, however, are different and perform more administrative duties. 

Final Thoughts

While people always think of lawyers when discussing legal careers, there are several other options for law enthusiasts to consider. The top 10 careers in law without being a lawyer listed in this guide can help you figure out your calling and get you one step closer to determining and actualizing your dream career!

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