Alternative Careers for Lawyers

Journalism (General)

A broad head of course. National, local, trade periodicals, critic, specialist reporting, feature writing, editing, freelancing, legal reporting, broadcast journalism etc.

Journalism is a good fit for lawyers as both journalism and law require similar skills: the ability to analyse information quickly, write well (although as a journalist a different writing style may be called for), communicate perhaps to a non-specialist audience and, of course, work to a deadline.

Courses and qualifications are going to be important for a leg-up. Choice, of course, is also important, and a postgraduate qualification should be job-specific, as opposed to more general vocational courses provided by some universities for example. There are over 845 postgraduate media/publishing courses listed by the UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service, but only a few of these are accredited by the NCTJ or the BJTC (see below). The PTC website also lists accredited courses and offers a career guide. The NCTJ itself runs its own correspondence courses in magazine journalism.

Also and essentially, one should have a mind to building up a portfolio of published articles. Lawyers are well placed to do this in theory, where contributions to the press, legal press and client trade publications are seen as good marketing practice in any event. Magazine/periodical journalism is often less structured, takes more contributions from freelancers, and has a mutual attraction for law leavers and their specialist knowledge. If you know anyone in the trade, get them to ask you to write an article on a topic.

Also, see 'Arts & Media' and 'Journalism (Legal)'.

National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) Training

The New Granary
Station Road
Saffron Walden
CB11 3PL

Tel: 01799 544014
Fax: 01799 544015

The Newspaper Society

Bloomsbury House
74-77 Great Russell Street

Tel: 020 7636 7014

Periodical Publishers Association

Queens House
28 Kingsway

Tel: 020 7404 4166
Fax: 020 7404 4167

Periodicals Training Council (PTC)

Queens House
55-56 Lincoln's Inn Fields

Tel: 020 7404 4166
Fax: 020 7404 4167

Chartered Institute of Journalists

Suite 2, Dock Offices
Surrey Quays
Lower Road
SE16 2XL


Tel:020 7252 1187
Fax:020 7232 2302

Career Changer Profile(s)