A few weeks ago, @Mochievous, a lawyer and fountain of twitter wisdom shared a number of career options for lawyers who feel stuck in law firms. In my experience, when we are in university we were only exposed to the traditional careers for law graduates, such as practising in a law firm, working in a bank or becoming an advocate. I only found out about the option of law-preneurship such as running a legal consultancy after I was admitted as an attorney.
There is a misconception that lawyers are stuck in a certain practice area and can only work in the jurisdiction they have been admitted into. Today we want to share more options to get you to look at your law degree with new, excited eyes!
1. Risk Management
This is really the bedrock of corporate legal practice. If you are interested in this area, there are many affordable professional certifications you can do. Do the exams, then use it as leverage to negotiate higher pay or better still, move to another industry.
Getting an additional qualification will help you to move up and out of your present situation, click here to find out how to earn qualification in risk management.
2. Corporate Governance
Corporate Governance for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). A lot of SMEs are stuck in this area & are often looking for advice. For this, you might have to dabble into some business development because if you are useful to SMEs beyond “legal advice”, they are more likely to hire you. You can do this as a side hustle. We have collaborated with Africa Legal to secure a 30% discount for our readers on the online Practical Corporate Governance Course for the Modern African Lawyer offered by the University of Cape Town Law @ Work. If you want to take advantage of this offer, get in touch via email.
The general perception is that lawyers are not good with numbers, but if you do not fall into this category you can consider writing exams to become a Chartered Financial Analyst. This can help you step into a career in Investment Banking and makes you a double threat with your law degree.
4. Management Consulting
Top management firms like McKinsey hire for a problem solving skill set as opposed to a degree. The interview processes are quite tedious, but if you survived board exams, law school and made billable hours- this is something you can handle. In addition, management consultants earn high salaries.
5. Tax Advisory
Although this is a specialised area, tax is essential in any transaction. You can decide to study a post graduate diploma or an LLM degree in tax. This will allow for you to work in public or private sector and internationally.
As lawyers we are trained to implement policy, and there is an opportunity to get on the side of preparing and drafting policy. There are courses that are available to learn about Policy Development and Management.
The African continent has a number of agencies and non profit organisations that work in development, which would also feel like a natural transition as an attorney. There are openings within the Development Bank of South Africa, African Development Bank, and other international foundations that you can look out for such as NGO Pulse.
8. Project Management
There are various courses available, including online courses on a platform like Udemy to equip you for making the transition.
9. Transportation and Supply Chain
Infrastructure development is high on the agenda across the African continent, this is especially important to promote trade and the simple movement of goods and people. There are courses offered online and even through polytechnics.
A compliance officer is an employee of a company who helps that company maintain policies and and procedures to remain within an industry’s regulatory framework. Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs in compliance.