There are numerous professions available to use your law degree without joining a law firm. Legal consulting provides individuals with opportunities to utilize their legal skills in ways not traditionally associated with firm practice. The job duties and responsibilities go beyond the simple definition of providing legal advice. As a consultant, you assist in handling disputes, analyze and identify the legal issues, draft the legal documents, maintain correspondence, etc., so that the organization earns maximum profits and that there are no legal actions taken against the organization. The role and duties will vary according to the type of industry and on the expectations of the employer as well.
As addressed, the job duties will mirror the nature of the business in which you are engaged. Looking at corporate and private legal consultants, here are samples of job descriptions:
Employee Health and Welfare Legal Consultant
Review current developments in health and welfare plan legal/technical compliance, undertake required research, prepare complex technical analyses, and develop market-differentiating advice, insights, and solutions. May design and draft template legal documents (i.e. plan documents, employment policies, communications to participants, plan governance and administrative materials).
Risk Management Legal Consultant
Supports the organization’s insurance program by providing Risk Management assessment, evaluation, education and legal consultation services to the organization, its affiliates and subsidiaries, and other health care entities that participate in the organization’s professional liability and general liability insurance programs.
International Civil & Human Rights Advocate
Promote and protect civil and human rights for minority communities for through a program of advocacy, communication, negotiation, investigation, education, public relations and related administration. Work in the identification, investigation and formulation of a program to deal with civil and human rights of minorities by dealing with formal and informal complaints of discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, physical/mental disability, age, etc..
Franchise Legal Consultant
These consultants may work in tandem with a business consultant as the lines between these two frequently blur within the professional services provided to emerging franchisors. The primary role of the lawyer, from the perspective of the business advisor, is to ensure that the strategies and tactics developed by business management are legal and that the documentation required to execute that strategy is properly prepared. All legal papers must adhere to state and federal laws and, where necessary, be properly filed for approval by the legal system.
Independent Consulting Firms
There are companies who provide consulting services to law firms with the objective of optimizing the firm’s practice. One example is Affinity Consulting Group that supplies lawyers, speakers and IT Experts for their clients. The company specializes in strategic technology and management solutions for law firms and legal departments of all sizes. Another example is Edge International that focuses on consulting for law firms and corporate legal departments. This consulting group has developed an international presence working with law firms and legal departments throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe, the Far East, Australasia and South Africa.
Hence, there are opportunities in an assortment of businesses that can use the services of a legal consultant. This could be a niche to fill for those lawyers who have become disillusioned with working in a law firm. However, the transition is not without its travails. The advice from one attorney who left a large firm is: be prepared to excel at marketing. Also, you may want to chose a specialty area, such as Human Resources and tailor your marketing accordingly. Thereby focusing your networking on local and national organizations that attract human resources professionals. Legal consulting may not be as lucrative as working in a well-established law firm, but the hours will probably be more flexible and the job satisfaction may be greater.