5 Alternatives to Practicing Civil Law

Career in Civil Law – With lawyers advertising on seemingly every street corner, it’s easy to think that your legal studies may only lead to a career in civil law or representation. However, if you’re intrigued by the prospect of working within the criminal justice system or perhaps looking for something completely outside of law and starting a small business, there are several career paths that may be a better fit.

Alternatives to Practicing Civil Law

Here are five alternative career options that can make good use of your law degree.

Criminal Prosecutor or Defender

Prosecuting attorneys represent local, state or federal entities in bringing to justice those believed to have committed crimes. In most cases, they are involved in all areas of criminal proceedings, from the initial investigation of a crime through to filings, hearings, trials and potential appeals. Beyond having a degree, successful prosecutors typically have a strong sense of civic duty.

On the flipside are defense attorneys, who seek to uphold the rights of accused criminals during all proceedings. This can include not just arguing innocence, but also negotiating reduced charges and leniency when appropriate. Defenders can privately represent clients, as is the case with a criminal defense lawyer in Springfield, or they may work as public defenders when an accused individual cannot afford to represent himself or herself.

Talent Agent

Skilled negotiators are often in high demand within the worlds of film, television, music, fashion and sports. By applying your legal knowledge to navigating contracts and mastering the laws specific to these and other talent-based disciplines, you can utilize your degree to make a great living representing individuals and groups in a vast array of fields. Many clients who need representation expect the kind of diligence and commitment that is frequently found in those who’ve pursued a law degree, so having a legal background may give you an edge over those with lesser degrees. As a plus, agents often work on a commission basis, so the earnings potential in this career is virtually limitless.


For many law students, the most interesting and compelling aspect of the field is the dogged pursuit of facts and truth. The investigatory and analytical skills that are honed by many students and professionals in the legal realm often translate well to journalism. Having special expertise in law can be a significant plus as a newsperson, since everything from new local statutes to landmark Supreme Court decisions can be better communicated to readers by someone with a keen understanding of jurisprudence.


It’s not surprising that a number of local, state and federal politicians are former or practicing attorneys. After all, most politicians either legislate themselves or advocate for others impacted by laws and regulations. Understanding the workings of the legal system, along with being able to think critically and argue points in a compelling manner, are traits developed in the study of law that can serve you well in politics. Pursuing a career in civics can also be a way to express the altruism and desire to make a difference that may have driven you to study law in the first place.

Human Resources Professional

The role of human resources within an organization is to balance the needs of both employees and the companies that employ them. At its base, a human resources professional mitigates health, safety and well-being risks for the organization and the people within it. This frequently requires a strong knowledge of employment law, as it is careful interpretation and application of workplace laws and regulations that allow this balance to be struck. A career in human resources may be a good option for those seeking to apply their studies to a profession that involves personal interactions as well as legal expertise.

If you’re exploring other options beyond civil litigation, there are many other fields that can make good use of your legal studies. Earning a law degree often provides you with not just legal expertise but also with a well-rounded education that can prepare you to successfully follow any number of diverse career paths.

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Kevin Gardner

Kevin Gardner loves writing about technology and the impact it has on our lives, especially within businesses.