Alternative Careers

The economic climate has changed drastically since 2008, and more law students are interested in using their law degrees to pursue careers that do not involve the traditional practice of law.  A law degree is extremely versatile and equips students with a fantastic skill set that will aid them in a variety of careers.

Karen Trojanowski is the CDO counselor who is specifically dedicated to helping students explore alternative and emerging careers. In addition to providing individualized career advice, Colorado Law offers students the opportunity to take a Strong Interest Inventory (SII), which is an individual career assessment tool that can give insight into a person's interests, helping them to make the right career choices. 

There are a growing number of careers in the public and private sector where law degrees are highly valued and are often a preferred credential. Examples of such careers include:

Summer 2013 Employers

Representative Employers for the Class of 2014

  • CenturyLink
  • Chilton Investment Company
  • CoreSite
  • Crocs, Inc.
  • Liberty Global
  • Molson Coors Brewing Company
  • National Association of Broadcasters
  • Public Knowledge
  • Shareholder Representative Services LLC
  • Time Warner Telecom

Representative Employers for the Class of 2015

  • AT&T
  • Berkeley GeoImaging
  • DaVita
  • Free Press
  • Funding Launchpad
  • Hammer Museum
  • MicroVest Capital Management
  • NBC Universal
  • Sustainable Development Strategies Group
  • University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office
  • Viacom

Post-Graduate Employment

Our post-graduate employment statistics capture employment information for our entry-level graduates in their first job after law school. This includes full-time, part-time, short-term and long-term positions. A Juris Doctor degree was an advantage in all of the positions included here. Salaries for new graduates in alternative careers range dramatically because jobs occur in both the private and public sectors, and require different skills and experience.

Class of 2008

  • Number of graduates who pursued an alternative career: 11/170 (6.47%)
  • Mean Salary: $41,136 (9 out of 11 salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $45,000 (9 out of 11 salaries reported)
  • Representative Employers: Colorado General Assembly; U.S. Patent & Trademark Office; University of Colorado, Office of Restorative Justice

Class of 2009

  • Number of graduates who pursued an alternative career: 12/165 (7.27%)
  • Mean Salary: $56,337 (9 out of 12 salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $50,000 (9 out of 12 salaries reported)
  • Representative Employers: Colorado Secretary of State; Holland & Hart, LLP; U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Department of Treasury

Class of 2010

  • Number of graduates who pursued an alternative career: 17/183 (9.28%)
  • Mean Salary: $65,500 (8 out of 17 salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $69,500 (8 out of 17 salaries reported)
  • Representative Employers: Deloitte Tax LLP; Level 3 Communications; National Renewable Energy Lab; U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency; Utah League of Cities & Towns

Class of 2011

  • Number of graduates who pursued an alternative career: 19/176 (10.8%)
  • Mean Salary: $49,083 (12 out of 19 salaries reported)
  • Median Salary:  $50,000 (12 out of 19 salaries reported)
  • Representative Employers: Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing; National Wildlife Federation; Stephens, Inc.; University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office

Class of 2012

  • Number of graduates who pursued an alternative career:  30/175 (17.14%)
  • Mean Salary: $61,038 (13 out of 23 full-time salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $54,000 (13 out of 23 full-time salaries reported)
  • Representative Employers: AMG National Trust Bank; Adams County Combined Courts; CO Office of the Child’s Representative; Deloitte Tax; Denver Public School District 


Law School Programming

Career Perspectives Series: Through this series, the CDO hosts a panel called "Other Things You Can Do With Your Law Degree," which features recent graduates who have chosen non-traditional careers. Panelists have included representatives from:

  • Denver Probate Court
  • DISH Network
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Holland & Hart
  • Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing
  • University of Colorado Police Department
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Civil Rights
  • Zayo Group

How to Find an Alternative Career: This program addresses how to: 1) figure out what you want to do outside of the traditional practice of law, 2) break into the alternative career market, and 3) develop the right connections.

Hot Jobs Series: This series includes several panels highlighting new and emerging careers, such as contract drafting and negotiation, energy work, policy and advocacy, risk management and compliance. Recent speakers were from:

  • Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment
  • CU Athletic Compliance Office
  • ExxonMobil
  • Greenberg Traurig
  • Miles & Peters
  • National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Western Resource Advocates
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office

JD Pathways: This all-day career conference features over 60 employers, and last year included the:

  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Colorado Lawyers Committee
  • Colorado State Personnel Board
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Wednesday Morning Coffee Series: This series recently featured the Chief Operating Officer of Berkley GeoImaging and a Vice President from Colorado State Bank & Trust.

2L and 3L Job Search Strategies Sessions: These sessions enable students to explore strategies for pursuing non-traditional opportunities.

Job Search Resources

Online Resources

Print  Resources

  • America’s Greatest Places to Work with a Law Degree by Kimm Alayne Walton
  • What Can You Do with a Law Degree?  by Deborah Arron
  • The Lawyer’s Career Change Handbook: More than 300 Things You Can Do with a Law Degree by Hindi Greenberg