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.

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 2016 Employers

Representative Employers for the Class of 2017

  • Bellco Credit Union (Greenwood Village, CO)
  • Centura Health (Englewood, CO)
  • COPIC Insurance Company (Denver, CO)
  • Point B Management Consultants (Denver, CO)
  • TechStars (Boulder, CO)

Representative Employers for the Class of 2018

  • Denver Public Schools (Denver, CO)
  • Discover Financial (Riverwoods, IL)
  • Elevate Services (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Galvanize (Boulder, CO)
  • Grease Monkey (Greenwood Village, CO)
  • Guzman Energy (Denver, CO)

Post-Graduate Employment

Our post-graduate employment statistics capture employment information for our 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 strongly valued, but not required, by the employers below. 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 2015

  • Number of graduates who pursued an alternative career: 19/159 (11.95%)
  • Mean Salary: $58,904 (15 full-time, long-term salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $52,800 (15 full-time, long-term salaries reported)
  • Representative Employers: BlackRock, Inc.; Children's Hospital Colorado; Colorado Department of Transportation; Marywood University; U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Foreign Labor Certification; U.S. Senate

Class of 2014

  • Number of graduates who pursued an alternative career: 21/165 (12.73%)
  • Mean Salary: $66,191 (13 full-time, long-term salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $57,000 (13 full-time, long-term salaries reported)
  • Representative Employers: California Coastal Commission; Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing; Colorado Department of Transportation; Goldman Sachs; National Conference for State Legislatures; New York State Assembly

Class of 2013

  • Number of graduates who pursued an alternative career: 19/176 (10.7%)
  • Mean Salary: $50,462 (14 full-time, long-term salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $53,487 (14 full-time, long-term salaries reported)
  • Representative Employers: Atlas Towers; Colorado State Bank & Trust; Ernst & Young; Purple Land Management; Smartlink, LLC; WILD Foundation

Class of 2012

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

Class of 2011

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

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:

  • Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing
  • Denver Probate Court
  • DISH Network
  • Holland & Hart
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • University of Colorado Police Department
  • 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. The fall 2016 event included representatives from Chipotle, DaVita, City and County of Denver Privacy Office, Environmental Management and Planning Solutions, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and SRS Acquiom.

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 Supreme Court Library
  • Colorado Succeeds
  • Conscience Bay Company
  • Environmental Management & Planning Solutions, Inc.
  • Denver Public Schools
  • Western Area Power Administration
  • Zayo Group

JD Pathways: This annual, all-day career conference features over 60 employers. In years past, alternative employers have included:

  • Alfson Energy Land Services
  • Cadmus Group
  • Reed Group
  • University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Civil Rights
  • Wells Fargo Insurance
  • Western Resource Advocates

Wednesday Morning Coffee Series: This series recently featured the Director of the Legal Dept. at NetApp Capital Solutions and the Station Manager for KGNU Public Radio. 

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