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 non-traditional legal careers. In addition to providing individualized career advice, she is certified to administer the Strong Interest Inventory (SII), which is an individual career assessment tool that gives insight into a person's interests, helping them to make the right career choices. Interested students can contact her directly to arrange an assessment.

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 2014 Employers

Representative Employers for the Class of 2015

  • First American Title Insurance Company (Denver, CO)
  • Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (Washington, D.C.)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, CO)
  • Sustainable Development Strategies Group (Gunnison, CO)
  • University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (Boulder, CO)
  • Zayo Group (Louisville, CO)

Representative Employers for the Class of 2016

  • Colorado District Attorney's Council (Denver, CO)
  • Federal Communications Commission (Washington, D.C.)
  • Flatiron Holdings LLC (Broomfield, CO)
  • Environment Law & Development Foundation (New Delhi, India)
  • KGNU Public Radio (Boulder, CO)
  • Office of the Child's Representative (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 2009

  • Number of graduates who pursued an alternative career: 12/165 (7.27%)
  • Mean Salary: $56,337 (9 full-time salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $50,000 (9 full-time 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 full-time salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $69,500 (8 full-time 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 full-time salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $50,000 (12 full-time 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 full-time salaries reported)
  • Median Salary: $54,000 (13 full-time 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 2013

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

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.

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 all-day career conference features over 60 employers, and last year 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
  • 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. 

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