Earning a Juris Doctor degree (JD) is a significant accomplishment that lends itself to many opportunities post-graduation. Although most associate a JD degree with the practice of law, you can take many other career paths. The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) and American Bar Association (ABA) has used the term “JD Advantage” to describe jobs that do not require being admitted to practice, but in which a JD degree provides a distinct advantage. Your JD degree can be beneficial in:
- Banking, Finance and Insurance
- Education and Administration
- Entertainment and Sports Management
- Human Resources
- Law Enforcement
- Real Estate
Because these positions do not require a JD, it is important to understand how your investment in your education can help set you apart and support your career goals.
How does a law degree benefit an individual in these roles?
Law school provides more than just foundational courses in different practice areas. Graduates also walk away with a valuable toolset that can be transferable to many jobs. These include the ability to think systematically and rigorously, understand complex structures and apply them to facts, be nimble in creatively solving intractable problems, and communicate persuasively both in writing and verbally. Therefore, a JD degree on your resume sets you apart from other applicants by demonstrating your proficiency in these skills and provides the employer confidence that you can hit the ground running. For example, as the technology industry has grown and evolved, companies have needed to maintain compliance with changing federal and international regulations. As a result, there has been a rise in technology companies looking for applicants with JD backgrounds because they can help distill complex contracts and ensure compliance.
Is it necessary to pass the bar to pursue a JD Advantage position?
It is not necessary to pass the bar to pursue a JD Advantage position, however, it can still be beneficial. Having the accolade of passing the bar exam on your resume can further set you apart in a competitive market and underscores your commitment towards achieving your JD. In addition, passing the bar exam allows you to stay nimble – whether you go a different route later in your career or want to morph into a new role within a company.
Earning your JD can open the door for many opportunities – whether litigation, transactional law or JD Advantage positions. Therefore, it is important to think broadly about your law degree and how you can leverage the unique skill set it provides. In addition, connecting with the career development department can help you further hone in on your passions and identify opportunities you might not know existed.
How to Prepare for Law School Applications
Whether you are just beginning to consider law school or have already set your sights on attending, one of the first steps is to prepare your application. Every school has different requirements, so it is important to be proactive and start planning for the application process early. This includes gathering materials and understanding timelines. Often, similar to preparing for the LSAT and bar exam, knowing the deadline and working backwards can keep you on track. Continue reading…