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5 Rewarding Careers in the Legal Field

When you think of the legal field you probably think of a lawyer – either for the defendant or the plaintiff – fighting their case on the floor of a courthouse. You might also think of the high salary, the fancy cars, the house and the high life. However, there are many jobs in the legal field that range from low 5-figure entry-level wages and onto higher positions that pay upwards of nine-figure digits, which is astronomical, but not uncommon. In fact, when you picture that court room in your mind, it is not only the lawyer with the legal job, but the bailiffs, the court messengers, the clerks, the judge and pretty much everyone in front of the witness stands. Here are 5 rewarding careers in the legal field.

  1. The Chief Legal Officer or CLO is usually the head of the legal department of a company that can afford to have a legal team on staff. Many of these companies are multinational corporations with billions of dollars in annual sales. A CLO’s base salary ranges from anywhere between half a million to a million dollars a year. A CLO usually devises the company on mergers and acquisitions, major stockholder decisions and will even defend a major corporation against frivolous lawsuits. This position can be rewarding, but incredible demanding – hence the reason why it pays so much money.
  2. Another rewarding legal career is a judgeship. Depending on how high the court is that you preside over, the higher you get paid. You could be presiding over major federal decisions or presiding over divorce courts. Being a judge definitely gives you the most power in the courtroom, but it comes with the price of always having to make the smartest judicial decisions. In the case of capital crimes or when the death penalty is in question, it can be even harder. However, a judge also has great benefits, like a state sponsored expense account and an excellent retirement plan.
  3. You could also become a paralegal. While paralegals are not lawyers per se, they do have the state authorized license to assist lawyers in a firm on legal cases. Many major law firms will have a number of paralegals on staff to comb through documents and make assessments on trial cases. A paralegal can’t defend clients in a civil or criminal court, but they can stand besides a lawyer at a trial to assist with documentation or to make notes.
  4. A little bit lower on the totem pole is a legal secretary. While you are lower on the totem pole, you can still make a significant annual salary and you don’t need that many years of school. Usually a degree with interest in law at a four-year college will do the trick. A legal secretary will transcribe deposition interviews, answer calls and arrange meeting for lawyers in the firm they work for. A lawyer might also ask their legal secretary to click here and there on a specific website to find research about a specific case.
  5. Lastly, but definitely not least, is a trial lawyer. With this position you can end up making the most amount of money, because not only will you be working on a retainer basis at upwards of $400 an hour, but you will also be taking a percentage of the settlement if you win your case. A trial lawyer can work in a criminal or a civil court, but no matter what there will never be shortage of excitement.