How Recent Law School Graduates Can Earn Money during COVID-19

Felicia M. Hamilton
Opportunities to earn money still exist, especially if you think outside of the box and consider nontraditional roles.

Opportunities to earn money still exist, especially if you think outside of the box and consider nontraditional roles.

courtneyk/E+ via GettyImages

For recent law school graduates and those who have been practicing law, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought uncertainty and profound changes within the profession. States around the country continue to scramble to determine safe methods for administering bar exams, which in turn has extended the timeline for some recent graduates seeking to obtain a law license. However, states like Washington and Louisiana have instituted “diploma privilege,” which allows some individuals who were slated to take the bar exam in July to become licensed without taking the exam. 

Law.com recently published an article that tracks the drastic measures that major law firms have adopted to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic and recession’s economic effects. Many firms have reduced pay, have eliminated and furloughed employees due to shutdowns, and have decreased the demand for new associates. Firms once positioned to welcome new associates have now deferred and rescinded offers. However, despite the many changes and uncertain employment options for recent law school graduates and young lawyers, there are still opportunities to earn money during the pandemic and beyond.

Not a member of the ABA? Join now to view premium content.

Nontraditional Work

While websites like Indeed.com, simplyhired.com, and other online job boards contain associate and attorney positions, you may want to expand your job search beyond traditional law positions, regardless of your licensing status. Additionally, job postings that once showed a specific location now include a previously foreign word in the legal profession. That word is “remote.”

Working remotely has become routine. Even courts have adopted virtual and remote proceedings. Remote positions allow individuals to work from the comfort of their own homes and still earn money. While waiting to bridge the gap between law school and licensure, you may want to consider working as a paralegal or a legal personal assistant. You may also want to consider positions such as document reviewers, legal researchers, legal transcriptionists, adjunct faculty, contract proofreaders, etc.

Contract Work for Attorneys

As more courts resume in-person hearings and the legal profession adjusts to operating in this extraordinary time, in-person opportunities still exist despite the pandemic. Positions still exist for law clerks at various levels. Hanging your shingle also brings freedom and flexibility. Companies like Docketly, Attorneys in Motion, Attorneys on Demand, and Nationwide Appearance pay attorneys to appear on behalf of other attorneys. As all states’ judiciaries are different, some court proceedings may be telephonic, while others may require attorneys to “mask-up” and make an appearance in court.

Although you may prefer full-time employment, contract work is in abundance in various areas. The work may be remote, in-person, or a combination of both. Agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Indigent Defender Offices have investigator, attorney, and other roles available. Websites like LAWCLERK and Freelance Legal Exchange (FLEX) connect freelance attorneys with law firms to help with various projects. If you are a commissioned Notary Public, you can earn extra money by notarizing documents and performing other tasks allowed within your state. AAA and FINRA select individuals who receive payment for resolving disputes in mediator and arbitrator roles.

The COVID-19 pandemic has required the world, including the legal profession, to adapt and evolve. However, opportunities for legal professionals to earn money still exist, especially if you think outside of the box and consider nontraditional roles. If you are a recent law school graduate or a young lawyer looking for a job, take time to explore and research the various available employment options. Groups like the ABA Career Center, state and local bar associations, affiliate organizations, and LinkedIn communities can provide employment resources, networking, and other online tools. With perseverance, creativity, and the desire to succeed, the opportunities to earn money are endless during a pandemic and beyond.

Entity:
Topic:

Want more personalized content? Tell us your interests.

Felicia M. Hamilton

-

Felicia M. Hamilton is a solo practitioner handling criminal defense, family law, estate planning, personal injury, and other civil matters in Shreveport, Louisiana.