What Can You do With a Juris Doctor?

Most post-graduate students will earn their Juris Doctor degree with the intentions of becoming a lawyer who practices law. While this is the most common route for students who make the commitment to enroll in and complete law school, it is not the only path that you can take after law school.

Many are not aware of the fact that there is a much larger supply of law graduates than there are open lawyer jobs available. If you do not want to pass the bar and then practice as a criminal or civil attorney, you should consider some of the other reasons why studying law can propel your professional future. Here are some of the ways that you can use your J.D. degree without practicing law.

Jobs in the Legal and Political Fields

Just because you do not have intentions of practicing law does not mean that you cannot work in the legal field. It is possible to work towards jobs as court officers, mediators and even magistrates without ever passing the bar and practicing law in a specific practice area. Instead of representing a client, your role will be to use your knowledge of the law and apply that knowledge to hear a case or resolve a dispute in mediation.

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While the political field is not the same as the legal field, but you can act as an advocate to push laws or to change them so having experience in one area can help push you forward in the other.

Careers in Taxation

There will always be a need for educated professionals to work with people in taxation. Since it is such a complicated subject, attorneys are need to represent taxpayers so that issues can be resolved and audits can be appealed. You do not need to be a practicing attorney to represent a taxpayer or to prepare tax returns for submission to the Internal Revenue Service. You will, however, need to generate and grow a book of business to earn a good living for your services.

Working in Academia

If you would like to work in education, having your J.D. degree can help you achieve your goals. Law professionals who teach law must possess their law degree but do not have to be licensed and practicing. You can also do research on laws in an academic setting so that you can contribute and attempt to change or update laws that need to be rewritten.

Jobs in Public Administration

Do you want a fulfilling career where you can serve the public? If you would like to work in public policy or with your local committees, you will be suited for a position as a manager, commissioner or even a director. You will be able to interpret the law and then help develop new policies when the need arises. Just remember, public officials are under a lot of scrutiny and can never satisfy everyone.

Just because there is a widening gap between the supply of graduates and the demand for professionals does not mean that you cannot put your degree to use. Make sure that you look at all of the opportunities that are present and then decide if the earning your Juris Doctor will be worth the investment of time and money.