How To Write A Resume For A Profession Exterior Of Regulation (And Extra Various Careers To Think about)


In final week’s column, I delved into various careers for legal professionals who wish to depart regulation. I obtained an incredible inflow of emails and messages on LinkedIn in response to the article. Most of the readers expressed gratitude for the detailed piece and encouragement as typically it seems like being trapped within the hamster wheel (i.e., the apply of regulation) with no means out. I wish to reassure those that really feel caught, scared, or not sure if it’s okay to go away regulation, your emotions and feelings are utterly regular and legitimate. I had them too, for lots longer than I wished to confess.

Once I graduated regulation faculty in 2003, there was a dearth of fabric and recommendation on the market about how legal professionals might leverage their regulation diploma for a profession outdoors of regulation. Like many, I felt pressured to work in Biglaw and make Biglaw cash. Saying you labored at “X” agency grabbed quick consideration at bar affiliation occasions, it regarded good in your resume, and it impressed your dad and mom and their buddies. Whereas I’ve labored with many lawyer shoppers who stayed in Biglaw for over 20 years (rising from affiliate by way of fairness accomplice) and finally determined their exit technique is a common counsel function or a paid board seat, there are numerous different legal professionals who additionally go into Biglaw and shortly notice it’s not the end-all-be-all that regulation colleges and on-campus interviews glorify. There are extra choices and alternatives on the market than what’s instructed or showcased to us throughout regulation faculty.

All through my authorized profession, I skilled a wide range of regulation agency environments (Biglaw, midsize, and small corporations) in addition to in-house environments, giving me a fair wider perspective on the occupation. For instance, as a midlevel lawyer, I took on an affiliate common counsel function for a Florida-based insurance coverage firm and labored because the second in line to the final counsel. I then ended my 12-year authorized profession with a subsequent in-house counsel function centered on litigation at a Fortune 200 insurance coverage firm.

Each of these roles highlighted and strengthened the issues I beloved doing as a lawyer – taking depositions, writing prolonged motions and briefs, and arguing them in courtroom. But, these roles additionally strengthened that my true ardour for writing and talking could possibly be efficiently leveraged outdoors of regulation. I bear in mind the shock after I instructed individuals I used to be leaving regulation to be a profession coach and resume author. Some laughed at me. Others congratulated me with resentment. But, what I noticed ultimately is that life’s too quick to be something however pleased and fulfilled in your profession.

To today, I stay very carefully linked to the occupation. My regulation diploma has opened and continues to open doorways throughout quite a few avenues. I’ve the privilege and honor to accomplice with a number of the nation’s high executive-level legal professionals on creating and conveying their finest belongings whereas additionally serving to them discover profession happiness in regulation and past. I get to talk to bar associations, in-house counsel organizations, and regulation corporations about private branding for legal professionals (in and out of doors of regulation). I share this with you as a result of my pivot out of regulation led me to one thing extremely rewarding, fulfilling, and energizing.

Extra Various Careers Exterior Of Regulation

There are dozens of careers outdoors of regulation the place you may nonetheless leverage these transferable authorized abilities and discover the trifecta of economic, skilled, and private success. A few of these extra careers embody actual property, public affairs, governmental relations, authorized providers and authorized expertise, technique, threat, monetary providers, and entrepreneurship.

Actual property is a aggressive business that’s well-designed to assist legal professionals stand out within the market. The profit to working with an actual property agent who’s additionally a lawyer offers unwavering confidence and credibility relating to the negotiations, analysis, and contracts points of the true property course of.

Public coverage work permits legal professionals to thrive on the intersection of presidency relations, advocacy, and regulation. There are numerous instructions to go in authorities affairs — from an government capability to legislative advocacy, coverage growth, and advisory for a commerce affiliation or federal authorities committee or company.

The digital age has additionally elevated alternatives in authorized expertise and authorized providers, with many authorized expertise corporations being based by training and nonpracticing legal professionals. Technique, threat, and monetary providers are different arenas that allow you to leverage your self-discipline, ardour for element and artistic evaluation, data of regulatory and compliance legal guidelines, in addition to a stable means to look at issues from a number of angles and the “it relies upon” mindset.

Entrepreneurship opens the doorways to many alternatives, leveraging your means to learn and interpret contracts, draft phrases of service, construct relationships, develop enterprise, and advise. As you may see, the record is endless with potentialities.

Writing A Resume For A Profession Exterior Of Regulation

When you’ve narrowed down the choice authorized profession you wish to pivot into, now it’s time to write down an efficient resume for a profession outdoors of regulation that lands you a job interview. Many legal professionals wrestle with this half, particularly as a result of authorized resumes are centralized on framing your expertise solely across the authorized work you do and have completed.

The truth is, one lawyer wrote in final week:

Thanks a lot on your piece on various careers for legal professionals. It was well timed. I’m making an attempt to transition out of the apply of regulation right into a compliance administration function at a financial institution. I’ve utilized to quite a few jobs with no luck. I’d recognize any recommendation on what I’m doing flawed.

In conditions like this, it’s actually because the format of the resume is similar because the resume you’ve used from regulation faculty ahead (which is outdated and out of contact with right now’s resume writing traits within the company world). Resumes now observe a modernized format (and font) with a formulaic model: branding assertion on the high, quick skilled abstract with a roadmap of related abilities and profession highlights, knowledgeable expertise part that features a paragraph of your management features and tasks, after which bullet factors that body the expertise in key competency areas. That model and format is nothing like what we have been taught in regulation faculty and used within the apply of regulation.

The way in which you body your resume for another profession outdoors of regulation will appear and feel completely different from the resume used to use for a litigation affiliate place at a regulation agency that regurgitates your resume template from regulation faculty.

For instance, if you happen to’re making use of for the “Head of AML Compliance” place at a financial institution, your reader will not be going to be targeted in your means to write down fancy memos of regulation for the managing accomplice, draft a movement for abstract judgment, or that you simply achieved the best billable hours annually of all associates.

You’ll must delve into factual examples within the STAR format (scenario, activity, motion, outcome) relating to fraud-related litigation issues, pertinent compliance laws or legal guidelines you’ve turn out to be well-versed in, strategic initiatives you’ve assisted with, and investigations and audits you’ve performed.

Utilizing the instance from above, start researching “Head of AML Compliance” roles or “AML Compliance Supervisor” roles and spotlight the key phrases. You’ll shortly discover how job postings middle on key phrase repetition, and most of the identical key phrases seem in a number of job postings (a sample). Make sure to discover individuals on LinkedIn with the present title you’re pursuing — observe how they place their ability set and take into account asking for an informational interview to achieve extra first-hand insights into the place. Don’t be afraid to achieve out to a recruiter who focuses on that area of interest and inquire about alternatives in addition to breaking into the business.

Deciding to go away regulation and pursue another profession will not be the top. It’s merely a brand new path in your lengthy profession journey.

Have extra resume and job search questions? Join with me on LinkedIn.


Wendi Weiner is an legal professional, profession knowledgeable, and founding father of The Writing Guru, an award-winning government resume writing providers firm. Wendi creates highly effective profession and private manufacturers for attorneys, executives, and C-suite/Board leaders for his or her job search and digital footprint. She additionally writes for main publications about various careers for legal professionals, private branding, LinkedIn storytelling, profession technique, and the job search course of. You possibly can attain her by electronic mail at wendi@writingguru.internet, join together with her on LinkedIn, and observe her on Twitter @thewritingguru.  





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