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Tag: Alternative Careers



Finding Your Nonlegal Niche

September 01, 2014

Sometimes, you just know. And for some in law school, what you know is that practicing law through a typical legal employer would never make your heart sing. At the same time, you know the value of a legal education, which is why you chose law school in the first

Secret Lawyer: From the Courtroom to the Beach

May 01, 2014

After graduating from the John Marshall Law School, Michael Palermo spent two-and-a-half years representing labor unions at a Chicago law firm. He later worked for the state of Illinois, prosecuting doctors, dentists, and other professionals. After returning to private practice to handle construction litigation and personal injury cases, Palermo eventually

Secret Lawyer: Becoming Her Own Venture Capitalist

April 01, 2014

Vol. 42 No. 8 By Leslie A. Gordon   LESLIE A. GORDON is a secret lawyer who has been working as a freelance legal affairs journalist for more than 10 years. When Kelly Boyd enrolled at the University of Chicago Law School, she had an open mind about professional possibilities. She loved law school and

A Matrimonial Lawyer, in the Truest Sense

March 01, 2014

Law, Samantha Daniels said, is “in my blood.” Her father was a prestigious lawyer and Philadelphia chancellor. Her two brothers are lawyers. “As a family, the law and legal education [were] considered fundamental,” she said. “At a young age, I was fascinated by the law. If I wanted to convince

Secret Lawyer- Anna Gil

February 01, 2014

In her first career, Anna Gil was an academic research scientist specializing in molecular biology. She later decided to apply her science background to the legal profession, graduating from George Washington University Law School and practicing patent law for a Washington, D.C., law firm. A few years later, she moved

Hooked on Higher Ed

January 01, 2014

As a University of Iowa College of Law 3L, Maria Flores-Mills worked at the Office of the Provost, assisting the university’s first Latina PhD. During that time, she served alongside other Latina law, medical, and dental students on a panel for local middle school students. The crowd turned out to

Opportunity from Even the Worst Circumstances

December 01, 2013

Cara Esposito attributes her legal career to a dangerously close brush with tragedy. She escaped an attack by a serial rapist. That event introduced her to the inner workings of the criminal justice system. She worked closely with prosecutors on her case, which was work she found that she “loved.”

Coaching Lawyers to Better Futures

November 01, 2013

Seven years into her legal career, Whittney Fruin decided she wanted to try something other than practicing law. She wanted a new challenge that used the lawyering skills she most enjoyed and the opportunity to work with people to solve their problems intrigued her. After graduating from UCLA School of Law

JD to ESQ to CEO

October 01, 2013

Robert Musslewhite decided to attend law school because he thought he’d enjoy being a trial lawyer like his dad. “I thought courtroom action was interesting and I thought it would be an interesting education. I was one of those crazy people who thought law school would be fun,” he quipped. He

Secret Lawyer - Ben Zion

September 01, 2013

Career satisfaction is important. Watching others enjoy the fruit of your labor may provide that satisfaction. That’s what happened to BEN ZION. A graduate of The John Marshall Law School, he spent time practicing as in-house counsel and as a Chicago misdemeanor prosecutor before following his passion. While working for the

A Novel Path

May 01, 2013

On Emily Giffin’s first day at the University of Virginia School of Law, the dean told new students that law firms would soon be “scattering roses” at their feet, but suggested they choose a path that made them happy, rather than simply the one offering the most money. When spring interviews

Using All of Her Skills

April 01, 2013

Before graduating from Harvard Law School in 1993, Mary Flood spent years working as a journalist. “My dream job then was to work at the Attorney General’s office in Texas making sure that charities spent their money appropriately,” she recalls. “But I wound up looking at law school loans and

Critical Thinking Skills Have Been . . . Critical

March 03, 2013

Eric Tao went to law school “to defer life,” quips the 1995 graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of Law. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do.” Yet despite what he calls “aimless direction,” Tao says putting himself in the law school environment was the best decision

The Other Legal Jobs

February 01, 2013

Although the employment market remains soft, there are opportunities for those who pay attention to the businesses and industries that are weathering the recession—particularly those that might be expected to show growth in the near future and those that value a legal background. Many of these opportunities lie outside the traditional

An Indie Publishing Evangelist

February 01, 2013

Barry Eisler entered Cornell Law School as part of what he jokingly calls the YEP—the Youth Extension Program. “My parents thought, rightly so, that I lacked direction,” Eisler recalls. “My choice was not sufficiently bold or imaginative. My passions hadn’t emerged yet, so I took the path of least resistance.” He

Look Out, Gophers

January 01, 2013

After graduating from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1993, Phil Ginsburg became a union-side attorney at Carroll, Burdick & McDonough in San Francisco. It was a job he got, at least in part,

What Does It Mean to Be Entrepreneurial?

December 01, 2012

When Rana DiOrio graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in 1991, she joined the corporate securities team at a large San Francisco firm. A former pre-med major, she “fell into” transactional law while working as a summer associate. “I liked building something versus litigation, which I saw as throwing spears,” she

From Law to the Social Sector

October 01, 2012

After graduating from George Washington University Law School in 1986, Kyle Zimmer practiced energy law and later served as a legislative advocate. “I love law,” she says. “Legal institutions—if not in reality, then in theory—are wonderfully designed for elevating civilization. I didn’t leave law because I didn’t like it.” Rather, her transition

Embracing the Blogosphere

October 01, 2012

When Kevin O’Keefe graduated from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1982, his sole goal was to be “a very good trial lawyer,” he recalls. After graduation, he cut his teeth representing plaintiffs as a solicitor in Ireland.  Later, he returned to his native Wisconsin and worked

A Front-Row Seat in History

October 01, 2012

After earning her law degree from Florida State University in 1996, Shannon Bream spent four years practicing labor and employment law. But while serving as a source for a story about relationships and careers, she became smitten with television news. “I’d always been a news junkie, but I’d never been inside,”

Law and Technology Nexus

May 01, 2012

While a student at Harvard Law School, Michael Fertik figured he would “probably practice law for some time,” but didn’t know if he’d do it forever. To that end, he recalls, “I was lining myself up to practice appellate law.” He served as a research assistant to constitutional law expert Larry

Legal Nomad

April 01, 2012

Jodi Ettenberg never went to college, but when a friend bet her that she couldn’t get into law school, she was determined to prove she could. At 18, she was accepted to law school at McGill University in her hometown of Montreal. She graduated in 2002 at 22. As a 2L

Drawing a New Career

March 01, 2012

Stephan Pastis has been drawing comic strips since he was a little kid. Without any formal training, he created cartoons for every school newspaper from elementary school through law school. After graduating in 1993 from UCLA School of Law (where he published a comic strip called Rosen about one of his

Environmental Lawyer Turned Conservation Photographer

February 01, 2012

As a kid, Jennifer Ross played with her dad’s old Leica camera, spurring a passion for photography. But, she recalls, “academic pursuits interfered with my artistic interests.” After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1986, Ross joined a large San Francisco law firm handling environmental cases, including toxic