Survey Reveals Most AppealingCareer Alternatives For Attorneys

Sunday, May 1, 2005 - 01:00

Despite the long road to their profession, attorneys are not immune to occasional thoughts of making a career change. When surveyed recently about related occupations they would consider if they were to leave their current jobs, attorneys cited mediator (54 percent), law school professor or lecturer (49 percent) and nonprofit or public interest legal services provider (41 percent) as desirable alternatives.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a leading staffing service specializing in attorneys, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 attorneys among the 1,000 largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada. All respondents had at least three years of experience in the legal field.

Attorneys were asked, "If you were to quit your current job, which of the following career alternatives would hold the most appeal?"Their responses (respondents were allowed more than one) were: mediation of alternative dispute resolution counselor 54 percent, law school professor or lecturer 49 percent, nonprofit or public interest legal services provider 41 percent, expert witness 20 percent, patent expert 11 percent, researcher 11 percent, politician such as district attorney or attorney general 9 percent and "other" 13 percent.

"Mediation is an area of law that involves reaching an accord outside the courtroom," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "For attorneys used to lengthy legal processes and court proceedings, part of the appeal of mediation is the immediacy of dispute resolution."

Mr. Volkert added that teaching also holds appeal as a way for attorneys to share their knowledge with the next generation of legal professionals.