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4:49 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

More Lawyers Turning To Non-Traditional Legal Work

More law school grads are working in fields that don't resemble courtroom lawyers. A third of them hold jobs that don't require passage of the bar exam.
More law school grads are working in fields that don't resemble courtroom lawyers. A third of them hold jobs that don't require passage of the bar exam.
Credit steve_sris/flickr

Tallahassee boasts one of the highest concentrations of lawyers in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many of those lawyers are in jobs that have nothing to do with being in a courtroom.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says more students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available.

Marcy Cox, Assistant Dean for Career Development at the University of Miami School of Law, blames the recession.

“Legal jobs diminished when jobs in every sector diminished,” says Cox. “We are rebounding as every other sector is rebounding.”

She says the upside to a bad economy is that more graduates are finding their way into non-traditional legal careers.

“People just assume because you go to law school that you want to practice law,” she says. “Somebody might be a contract administrator or compliance officer. Compliance officer doesn’t necessarily translate to lawyer, but the legal skills help tremendously.”

In spite of an abundance of lawyers, Florida taxpayers help fund the state’s public law schools.  

And a proposal in the Legislature would help lawyers in the public sector with their student loans. 

“Anything that could help with loan repayment assistance would benefit not only our students but we think the legal market,” Cox said, “just because graduates are in a tough position when they graduate with an incredible amount of debt.”

National statistics show about one-third of lawyers have jobs that didn’t require them to pass the bar exam.

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