Unlikely Careers for Lawyers

Dog pretending to be a lawyer

Most individuals attend law school with the intention of pursuing a career in Big Law or a traditional legal role, not exploring alternative career paths or unlikely legal positions. However, whether you have recently graduated from law school or are considering a second career opportunity, there are many unique legal options available today. Understanding these different roles can help you make well-informed decisions about your future, opening up new and exciting opportunities outside the traditional legal framework.

Cannabis Lawyer

Nearly a decade ago, pursuing a career in cannabis law may have been next to impossible, but it has recently become a fascinating field for those who have discovered and pursued it. Jerome Crawford, a prime example, never intended to become a cannabis attorney. However, his legal journey, filled with unique experiences and unexpected turns, has led him to a career he loves.  

A cannabis lawyer, also known as a marijuana business lawyer, is a legal professional who specializes in various aspects of the legal cannabis industry. Their role involves assisting individuals and entities in the industry with navigating complex startup procedures, transactional and compliance requirements, extensive licensing processes, and other related challenges, making them a crucial part of this rapidly growing industry.

In an interview with DeMario Thornton, Jerome discusses his experiences in law school and in the professional world and explains why law students should feel no guilt about pursuing new and different opportunities in the field of law. For additional information about Jerome’s journey, check out the following episode.

Inspector General

New lawyers may not always consider a career in government, but this expansive and crucial field offers a wide range of opportunities for those wanting to become more involved with public needs and interests.  

In the below episode, Lucy Lang, a former prosecutor who now serves as a New York Inspector General, discusses her role in the government. She talks about her journey and the passion that led her to this position and outlines her responsibilities, which include overseeing investigations into fraud, corruption, and abuse in the state’s government. Additionally, Lucy offers advice on pursuing one’s dream role and emphasizes the importance of seeking mentors, learning on the job, and taking on new challenges. She encourages others to be brave and proactive, asking, “If not you, then who?” and advising them to “take the bull by the horns.”

JAG Lawyer

A Judge Advocate General is a unique opportunity for those who want to defend their country in court. As a member of this select group of legal professionals, individuals will offer a wide range of legal services to the United States Air Force/Space Force, Airmen, and Guardians. These individuals will have the opportunity to take on significant responsibility, further their education in various legal specialties, and gain experience working around the world to uphold justice for those who defend it.

Military individual picking a legal career

In the episode “Going From Law School to the Air Force JAG Corps,” Professor Tony Ghiotto discusses his transition from the battlefield to the classroom. Tony started his legal career in the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps, and his career took him everywhere from Afghanistan to the law school classroom. Thanks to JAG, Tony has practiced in multiple fields, handled cases ranging from criminal cases to traffic tickets, dealt with civilian casualties and wartime procedures, gained significant courtroom experience, and learned a lot on the job. According to Tony, the opportunity “helped me grow up and gave me some direction.” If you are interested in a legal career in the military, this podcast episode is a must-listen.

Legal Marketer

Marketing is not usually associated with law, but for many legal marketers, it’s the perfect way to leverage their communication skills. In general, legal marketers oversee marketing activities and operations for legal clients, law firms, and solo lawyers. These professionals may have a background in law or experience working in the legal sector, enabling them to better understand legal dynamics and meet their clients’ needs. 

For those seeking a better understanding of the role of a legal marketer, the episode “The Frequently and Rarely Asked Questions of Legal Marketing” will provide in-depth information about legal marketing and how this profession can be an exciting opportunity for many. Hosts Gyi Tsakalakis and Conrad Saam will answer some of the most common questions they receive as marketers and share critical questions that lawyers and firms need to be asking. 

Gyi is a non-practicing lawyer who founded AttorneySync to help lawyers with effective and ethical marketing, while Conrad founded Mockingbird, an online marketing agency that primarily focuses on the legal sector. Conrad is also the author of The FindLaw Jailbreak Guide and has held various American Bar Association (ABA) Law Practice management roles. To listen to the full episode, click on the following.

Entertainment & Media Lawyer 

Lights, camera, lawyer! Behind every red carpet, blockbuster film casting call, and record deal is a team of lawyers assisting talented actors, producers, directors, sound engineers, etc. with contracts. Although entertainment lawyers may not get stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, they can receive recognition from organizations like Variety and be presented with opportunities to network with some of today’s biggest stars in TV, movies, and music. 

Jeff Cohen, who you may recognize from his role of “Chuck” in “The Goonies” (1985), is a successful entertainment lawyer who co-founded Cohen Gardner LLP in 2002. Cohen reveals how he made the transition from actor to attorney and what it takes to thrive in the field on The Lawyerist Podcast. Do note that if you’re not prepared for late nights at the office, this may not be the career path for you. Cohen admits he slept in his law office for a whole year!

Legal Podcaster

Instead of picking up a gavel or court document, some law degree holders have picked up a microphone in pursuit of a career in podcasting! This unique career is perfect for anyone who has a fertile imagination and creative mind.

If you decide that you want to start a podcast, consider the following to boost your show’s growth potential:

  • Post a trailer. While cold audiences may not be willing to listen to a show that’s longer than 30 minutes, they may be willing to hear a brief overview of what the podcast is about. If it’s captivating, they may just be inspired to explore your library of episodes!
  • Invite guests who have a large network on your show. Make sure that you are strategic with your guests requests and only ask people who you can confidently introduce to your audience to join the show. After you’ve recorded with the guests, send them graphics and videos from the interview and ask them to share the published episode with their community.
  • Distribute your podcast on several platforms. While Apple Podcasts and Spotify are currently the industry leaders for audio podcast consumption, putting your show on apps like iHeart, Amazon Music and Castbox can help you discover new audiences.

To avoid running into any copyright or trademark issues on your show, consider listening to this interesting episode of Counsel Cast where Marketing Experts Karin Conroy and Gordon Firemark share the most common mistakes people make when starting their podcast and how to stand out in a sea of shows.

You can also request Legal Talk Network’s consulting services for expert advice as you build your podcast.

Food Safety Lawyer

Fresh and perishable foods like sprouts, ground beef, sushi, and raw milk require proper food handling practices so that consumers can confidently eat the products they purchase at their local grocery stores and restaurants without worrying about contracting a foodborne illness. To develop and enforce safety regulations for farmers, overseas shippers and restaurant vendors, organizations like the Food and Drug Administration exist. Food safety lawyers are needed to inform food-related businesses of policy changes, obtain licenses, and confirm labeling and packaging procedures are correct.

A team of food safety lawyers and specialists opened up about the Food Safety Modernization Act and the need for more funding and resources on Lawyer 2 Lawyer. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in food, farming, and federal law!

For More Stories From Legal Professionals, Check Out Legal Talk Network

While the above episodes provide a unique perspective on the legal profession, there are many other exciting opportunities that lawyers can pursue, including positions in ecosystem law or working as Supreme Court Correspondents.

If you want to explore these positions in more detail and access additional free content to enhance your legal practice, visit Legal Talk Network for more podcasts. These episodes will also offer firsthand accounts of what it takes to break into these unlikely professions and find a career you love.

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Legal Talk Network is a podcast network for legal professionals with hosts from well-known organizations and brands in legal. Over 20 active podcasts cover important legal news and developments, including access to justice, law school, industry events, legal technology, and the future of law.