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Judicial clerkships are held by law school graduates (as opposed to a judicial internship or judicial externship, which a law student may do). In a judicial clerkship, a clerk works for a judge or with several judges. Clerkship positions are usually temporary, lasting one to two years, and often do not require the clerk to be licensed within that jurisdiction. A judicial clerkship is widely considered an excellent first step in a legal career. A judge’s clerk will have the opportunity to develop and refine research and writing skills, learn the intricacies of trial or appellate procedure, and gain exposure to the bar that practices before the court. Serving as a judicial clerk also furthers one’s career goals. Former judicial clerks often have an edge in competing for jobs with both private and public sector employers.
Students must log onto Pathfinder before they can access the following links.
Judicial Clerkship Mail Merge Form: A template for a judicial mail merge.
OSCAR Instruction Sheet: Instruction sheet for the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR).
Unlike large law firms, small and mid-sized firms only hire when they have a need. Smaller firms might expect their new attorneys to have some experience in the fields they practice. Students should take relevant classes and get hands-on experience through externships, clinics, and summer internships.
The term "large" can refer to firms of over 100 attorneys, and includes firms as large as 1,000 attorneys or more. Large firms will usually hire students through a summer associate program. Interviews traditionally take place early in the fall. Large law firms usually look for excellent grades and involvement in law journals, Moot Court, and other academic boards.
Students who are interested in pursuing a career in corporate law should consider two different avenues. First, many corporate attorneys work in law firms that handle business transactions including negotiations, contract drafting and review, mergers, and acquisitions. A second option for corporate attorneys is to work as in-house counsel for a corporation. In-house attorneys typically act in an advisory role and may not be required to be licensed in that jurisdiction.
The federal government employs more lawyers than any other organization in the country. Because government services are implicated in almost every aspect of our lives, the types of employment in government service are too numerous to list. From Postal Service attorneys who investigate and prosecute mail fraud to Justice Department lawyers who argue to closed courtrooms in matters of national security, the government offers practitioners excellent experience and exposure.
Advantages to government service include good quality of life and freedom from client development and billable hours. Beginning government salaries tend to be lower than large, private firms. However, a career in the government can be financially rewarding. Note, attorneys often make lateral moves between government and private employers.
International law practitioners handle legal issues extending beyond the American borders. Clients may include businesses, the federal government, and individuals dealing with complex international issues. Regent offers many opportunities for students interested in international law. Regent hosts an International Law Society and publishes an International Law Journal. Students interested in international law may chose from a variety of International Law courses including, International Law, International Business Transactions, and International Human Rights. The law school also hosts a number of exciting Study Abroad programs, including programs in Uganda and France.
In general, public interest lawyers work to make the legal system function more equitably by providing services to underserved populations or causes. Sometimes, this involves representing individuals or groups who otherwise could not afford legal counsel. Public interest practice may involve litigation, regulation, and legislative or legal reform. Public interest practice can be within the purview of non-profit organizations, as well as government agencies and law firms that describe their practices as public interest.
As the legal profession has become increasingly more demanding and entry-level hiring becomes more competitive, many law students are considering other alternatives. What are the non-traditional career options for law graduates? They are limited only by your imagination. Many law graduates have successfully combined their undergraduate studies, prior work experience, and other interests and hobbies with their legal education to arrive at their career choice.
Because the training in law school is so unique, law school graduates are ideal candidates for many employers outside the legal profession. The following is a list of some basic skills that legal training provides:
If you are considering an alternative career, think about how these skills can translate into success in your desired field.
A list of publications that focus entirely on alternative careers for lawyers or contain substantial sections on this topic.
Regent University School of Law firmly expects that employers will observe the principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity with respect to classifications protected by law, in regard to hiring, promotion, retention, and conditions of employment.