Those of us who work in the legal industry are experiencing a time of vast and exciting change. We have heard it for a number of years now. Google “transformation of the legal profession,” and you will find enough reading material for days.
This transformation presents abundant opportunities to lead and succeed for lawyers, firms and companies serving the industry, but it also presents significant challenges, especially for those graduating from law school. The stability of the long-guarded legal profession began to crumble in the mid-2000s, and quickly imposed dramatic effects on employment statistics for law school graduates. Last year at this time, the National Association for Law Placement reported a sixth straight year of decline for law school graduate employment.
As legal careers evolve, legal education itself is ripe for change; curriculum in U.S. law schools have changed very little in over 200 years, and schools are now scrambling to respond to widespread criticism. A recent article in Bloomberg Business quoted a Harvard Law graduate, saying “three-quarters of classes still seemed to have nothing to do with corporate law or the real-world practice of law firms…All that was offered was a half-semester course in basic double-entry bookkeeping.” Lawyers, in practice and otherwise, now need to know more than just the law–they need to have business skills and acumen to adequately serve their clients and employers.
Earlier in my career in the legal technology industry, I worked with U.S. law schools and witnessed the slow pace of change toward delivering graduates who have a broader base of skills. Slowly, schools are introducing more practical, business-oriented curriculum, such as New York Law’s introduction of courses through the University of Rochester business school within the law school building.
Amidst all this criticism though, many law school graduates are finding creating ways to use their law degree in a corporate environment, and gain practical business skills on the job. Here at Mitratech, there are a number of us who have earned JDs spread across a variety of departments–sales, services, product development, and of course, the general counsel’s office. Our legal background is very valuable for the success of our company because we can relate to the clients we serve, yet we have also developed valuable business skills on the job that are transferable to other industries.
If you are a law school graduate looking for an alternative career that keeps you connected to the industry and using your degree, check out our Careers at Mitratech web page. As we say there, our company is strong and growing, and we could have just the right role for you!