Ever wondered which specialties or legal career paths make best law jobs? The legal industry offers a diverse array of law career options (everything from the judge, the lawyer, or the courtroom administrator). Salaries can range from minimum to among the highest salaries, depending on geographic location, market demand, experience level, practice environment and employer size. Some of the most popular jobs that are often considered the best law jobs are:
Trial lawyers are among the most in-demand and highest paid legal professionals. Litigators who handle high-profile and high-stakes cases generally set themselves up to be compensated at high rates. Many start off as public interest lawyers and solo practitioners who earn modest salaries. After some experience, their skills become more in demand.
Few things are more certain than death and taxes—and with tax reforms happening almost every election cycle, tax lawyers will always be in demand from individuals and businesses. Tax attorneys help with estate planning, representing and suing the Internal Revenue Service, to business formation. They essential consultants when someone is starting a business or when contracts must be drafted. They are also among the most versatile lawyers out there, who can find employment in a variety of sectors.
Intellectual property laws protect ideas: patents, copyrights, trademarks and other profitable concepts. As technology continues to advance and becomes increasingly lucrative, IP attorneys are statistically among the most sought after attorneys in the market. While most practice areas can be pursued by anyone with a law degree, one must have graduated with an undergraduate degree in science in order to sit for the patent bar.
Labor & Employment Attorneys
Everyone works for a living, which means that the relationships between employers and employees need to be maintained. L&E lawyers represent either the employers and management or the employees. With new work models, compensation, and the introduction of technology, they will almost always be in demand.
Real Estate Attorneys
Real estate lawyers typically review offers and contracts and make sure that buyers and sellers get fair deals. Attorneys in real estate law work in areas as diverse as the real estate industry itself, representing a diverse array of parties from developers, brokers, lenders, sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants, and more.
General Counsel and Chief Legal Officers
Heads of legal departments of corporations and companies are highly coveted positions. In addition to attractive salaries and a stake in their companies, most general counsel cite having one single client to serve as one of the greatest perks of their careers. Few general counsel go in-house straight after law school, and most started off at law firms.
As technology changes the practices, professionals who are also tech-savvy are carving their own niche and becoming in demand. Litigation support directors and managers often possess law degrees or advanced degrees in technology, business or finance, and are often in demand as they support directors manage firm-wide litigation support activities, e-discovery, and technology resources. Whether you utilize these services or not, this niche is here to stay.
Law Firm Administrator
Similar to a “Chief Managing Officer” or “Chief Operating Officer” of a company, law firm administrators manage and oversee the business and administrative aspects of running a law firm. Their duties cover the non-legal aspects of law practice, such as financial management and reporting, business development, human resources, facilities management, technology, marketing and practice management. Law firm administrators typically work fewer hours than most big firm lawyers and can be a great career option for those seeking involvement in the legal industry.
Not all of the best jobs are “recruitable.” Here are a few other cool gigs to consider:
All rise! Judges preside over court proceedings in federal, state and local courts. The highest-paid judgeships are those within the federal court system. In addition to generous salaries, most judges enjoy healthy benefits, expense accounts and contributions to retirement plans made on their behalf, increasing the size of their compensation packages. But perhaps the most meaningful part of their job is their impact on the law itself with their decisions.
Legislators & Politicians
A law degree is not a requirement to become a legislator or politician—but many do have law degrees. Similar to becoming a judge, most lawyers seek these positions to effect change in the laws and legislative processes in their communities. The networking, potential for impact, and visibility often make these “dream jobs” to many lawyers.
Imagine a law job with no billable hours, an opportunity to shape future lawmakers, a captive audience, and where you are required to pursue your intellectual curiosities. Law professors teach courses in law and perform research in their fields of expertise. Securing a position as a law school professor is very competitive, however. Qualifications for top candidates include a law degree from a top law school, law review, high-class standing, judicial clerkship experience, law practice experience and publication credits in scholarly journals.