Essential Guide to Alternative Careers for Lawyers in the UK

Career options & inspiration if you're ready for a career move.

By Matt Oliver

About This Guide

This guide to alternative careers for lawyers in the UK is designed to help you learn other career options open to you.

It's a resource I get asked for a lot.

It includes the most alternative career options for lawyers on the web - with over 90 career profiles and many other ideas.

It draws from my own journey as a lawyer exploring my career options and over a decade of helping other lawyers find more satisfying career paths.

It also includes insights and inspiration from other lawyers who have successfully made a career change.

Guide Contents

In this guide, you will find:

Exploring Alternative Career Options

One of the main things my career coaching clients are struggling with when they first get in touch is identifying career options. I hear:

  • What options do I have?
  • Which options would suit me best?
  • Which options are realistic?

Identifying and exploring options fully can take time. It's a process my clients and I go deep into during our coaching.

However, in this guide, I'm going to set out some of the career options open to you if you're considering a change.

Is it time for a change? Assess whether it's time for you to change career with our free workbook. 

Career Options Outlined

When you're starting out in your exploration of alternative careers for lawyers, it's useful to first think through some of these broad options:

  • Stay where you are but do something different with your work, responsibilities, working practices and/or working relationships.
  • Move to another law firm and do the same work as you're doing.
  • Move to another law firm and do a different type of work.
  • Move to another law-related role as a solicitor such as in-house, public sector, voluntary/charity sector, etc.
  • Move to a quasi-legal role, such as mediation or compliance.
  • Move to a legal support role, such as a professional support lawyer, or another non-legal role within a law firm.
  • Make a wholesale career change to a non-legal role in a different sector.
  • Leave law and set up your own business.

To drill down from these headline options to more specific possibilities you will need to brainstorm, research and analyse along the way.

You Always Have Lots of Options

The reality is you have lots of options, even if it doesn't feel that way.

As seen above, you can explore options as a lawyer, find quasi-legal roles or transition into non-legal roles in law firms.

There are also countless alternative careers for lawyers open to you.

As part of your career transition, you may also want to look at transitional stepping stone roles whilst you're exploring a bigger change for the longer term.

For example, taking a contract role that gives you more time to explore your future options.

How You Explore Your Options is Key

The key to all of this is not to research alternative career ideas for lawyers solely to gain more knowledge.

This is not a problem-solving exercise.

Solely researching and thinking about 'what else' is unlikely to lead to a change in career direction.

Instead, you need to investigate options in a way that helps you get some direct experience of them.

You do this out in the real world - by talking to people, attending events, getting whatever experience you can of the work connected to a particular option.

Only then can you make an informed choice about which career option is right for you next.

You can find more guidance on making a career change in our Essential Guide to Career Change For Lawyers here >>

Is it time for a change? Assess whether it's time for you to change career with our free workbook. 

1. Make Changes to Your Current Work

Before making a more drastic career change, it's important to do a proper review of your current work.

How does it stack up against your most important career criteria?

Often, you need to start with some deeper reflection about what your key career criteria are.

For example, you might want to consider:

- What work do you prefer doing?
- What strengths do you like to use?
- What level of autonomy and control do you prefer?
- What does the ideal work-life balance look like?
- What drains you and what energises you?

Once you have more clarity around your career criteria you should then do an honest assessment of your current role against them.

Once you've done this look to see which criteria aren't being met as well by the current role and think what changes you would need to make to fulfil them.

Then ask to make changes to your work in these areas.

In my experience, people don't ask and end up leaving because they assume the answer will be no.

However, when my clients do ask they are often pleasantly surprised.

So, what do you need to ask for?

Is it time for a change? Assess whether it's time for you to change career with our free workbook. 

2. Alternative Careers For Lawyers - Staying Within the Law

If you know it's time for a change and prefer to pivot within the law, our guides to common alternative careers for lawyers will help:

You can also check out these career alternative profiles:

Want more ideas?

Here are a few more ideas that you may want to look into:

  • Arbitrator
  • Barristers' Clerk
  • Charity Lawyer
  • Contract Manager
  • Court Clerk
  • Court Reporter
  • Journalism (legal)
  • Law Centre Worker
  • Law Costs Draftsman
  • Law Firm - Non-Law Role (practice management, business development, marketing, HR)
  • Law Society Official
  • Legal Consultant (HR, legal, e-discovery, management, operations, strategy, etc.)
  • Licensed Conveyancer
  • Local Government Official
  • Locum
  • Mediator
  • Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office

Is it time for a change? Assess whether it's time for you to change career with our free workbook. 

3. Alternative Careers For Lawyers - Leaving Law

If you know it's time for a more wholesale change away from the law, check out these leaving law career alternative profiles:

Want More Ideas?

Here are some more ideas you may want to look into:

  • Account manager
  • Administrator
  • Author/writer
  • Blogger
  • Border patrol
  • Business coach
  • Business Valuation Expert
  • Career Coach/Counsellor/Adviser
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Operations Officer
  • Citizens' Advice Bureau
  • Civil Servant
  • Claims Adjuster
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Communications Consultant
  • Computer Programmer
  • Content Marketer
  • Content Writer
  • Copywriter
  • Corporate Recruiter
  • Court Expert
  • Court Official
  • Design
  • Digital Marketer
  • Dispatcher
  • Doctor
  • Entrepreneur
  • Estate Agent
  • Events Planning
  • Executive Coach
  • Financial Advisor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Consultant
  • Financial Services/Banking
  • Fireman/woman
  • Foreign Exchange Trader
  • Foreign Service Official
  • Forensic Accounting Consultant
  • Fundraiser
  • Genealogist
  • Headhunter
  • Home Organiser
  • Information Security Consultant
  • Interior Design
  • Investment Banker
  • Law Centre Worker
  • Leadership Coach
  • Legal Computer Systems Consultant
  • Legal Editor
  • Life Coach
  • Lloyds Underwriter
  • Lobbyist
  • Local Government
  • Magistrate
  • Magistrate's Clerk
  • Marketing
  • Marriage Guidance Consultant
  • News Reporter
  • Newsletter Publisher/Editor
  • Non-profit Management
  • Novelist
  • Official Receiver
  • Painter
  • Patent Agent
  • Pension Adviser
  • Photographer
  • Policy Advisor/Writer
  • Policy Analyst
  • Political Affairs
  • Political Campaign Manager
  • Politician
  • PR
  • Professional "Mackenzie" Friend / Guardian Ad Litem
  • Professional Development
  • Project Manager
  • Proofreader
  • Property Developer
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Registrar
  • Retail
  • Sales
  • Screenwriter
  • Security Guard
  • Sommelier
  • Sports/Entertainment Agent
  • Stockbroker
  • Technical Writer
  • Technology Sales
  • Trade Mark Agent
  • Website Designer
  • Wedding Planner
  • Yoga Teacher

Is it time for a change? Assess whether it's time for you to change career with our free workbook. 

Career Change Inspiration/Stories

If you're a lawyer contemplating an alternative career path it can help to know others have already made a similar change.

I'm one example of many lawyers who have successfully transitioned to an alternative career path.

I have also gathered stories from other lawyers who have changed from differing legal backgrounds to a variety of new career paths - both within law and away from it.

They're real-life examples of alternative careers for lawyers and should serve as an inspiration as you explore your own new career direction.

It is possible! 🙂

Check out these stories of other lawyers' career changes and pivots:

Is it time for a change? Assess whether it's time for you to change career with our free workbook. 

Warning - Beware!

It would be remiss of me not to issue an important caveat that doesn't usually accompany these lists of alternative careers for lawyers.

The short version is that searching alternative career lists is rarely going to be enough to help you reach clarity around your future career direction.

Why alternative career lists may not help you

As a career coach to lawyers - and former lawyer who left law myself - I know that having lists of "career options" usually isn't enough to help with a decision as large as a career change.

These lists are often restrictive.

They tend to give you a blinkered approach and won't enable you to find possibilities that might be perfect for you but aren't on the alternative careers for lawyers lists.

Your ideal job might be something that neither of us knows about right now.

You need to allow yourself the freedom to take actions that will take you in an ideal direction, rather than the direction solely on a list of alternative career ideas for lawyers.

Increasingly, the best route for many of my career change clients is not an alternative career in the traditional sense at all.

For example, the option of doing more than one job as part of a portfolio career.

Perhaps the best fit for you would be to set up your own business.

Or it may even be that the best solution is to make a small change to your current work to make it a better fit for what you're now looking for in your career.

How to Use These Alternative Careers Lists

Notwithstanding the above, these lists are an extremely valuable resource.

They can be a good starting point in your career change journey as you seek to explore what else interests you.

However, don't treat them as definitive lists or expect them to give you the 'answer' of your perfect alternative career.

Instead, review the lists and make a note of those things that appeal to you in some way, no matter how small.

Then review again and identify any common themes among them.

Now take those common threads and the career lists and use them to direct your exploration out there in the real world.

So, grab yourself a drink, review the lists and profiles above and see what piques your interest.

One to One Career Coaching for Lawyers

  • Get unstuck and start taking action on your next career move.
  • Gain clarity around what you want from your career.
  • Generate ideas and explore career options.
  • Get support and guidance from an experienced career coach and former lawyer with 25+ years experience of the legal profession.