Becoming a lawyer can open a multitude of career opportunities, either in the traditional practice of law or fields in which having a law degree can be an advantage. These are some of the places a law degree can take you, and are typical of Chase graduates’ career paths:
Private practice includes everything from a one-lawyer solo practice to large firms with more than 90 lawyers. In between are small firms of two to 25 lawyers and mid-size firms of up to 90 lawyers. Some small firms are “boutique” practices that concentrate in a very specialized area of law, while others have broader practices in some of the same areas of law as mid-size and large firms. Large firms often have specialty practice sections that focus on particular areas of law. Most large firms and some mid-size firms hire summer associates, generally for the summer before a final year of law school, with the anticipation of considering them for employment following graduation. Small firms typically hire as needs arise.
Corporate and business careers include in-house counsel with a company, which can be the staff lawyer in a small company or part of a large legal department in a large corporation. Some enterprises seek to hire lawyers for positions such as trust officers in banks, adjusters or brokers with insurance companies, and editors at law-related publications.
Government careers include the practice of law and regulatory or administrative oversight. Among the options are local government law departments, prosecutors’ offices, state and federal agencies, attorneys general offices, and public defenders offices.
Military careers are generally in the Judge Advocate General Corps in each branch of the military. The military system of law essentially mirrors the civilian, with lawyers serving in areas such as prosecution and defense in discipline and criminal cases, civil and international law, and regulatory and administrative law.
Judicial clerkships in state and federal courts offer a complexity of work that can be a foundation for career advancement. Clerks are essentially assistants to judges, providing research, drafting, and editing support.
Public interest careers include legal aid programs for people unable to afford a lawyer or in litigation for advocacy groups in any number of fields, including consumer, religion, environment, and government accountability.
Academic careers can be in law school or undergraduate instruction or administration.
Juris Doctor-advantage careers do not require a license to practice law, but are ones in which a law degree can provide an advantage in being hired, fulfilling job duties, and advancing. Among them are bank officer, editor, nonprofit director, legislation analyst, insurance administrator, and investment banker.