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Alternative careers for lawyers: travel blogger

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The legal profession is not for everyone. It requires a combination of intellect and grit, the ability to work well with others while maintaining the ability to hold your own, and the ability to endure the long hours that are a staple of the legal profession. If you have the commitment and intelligence to take on a career as a lawyer, you may be interested in learning about careers in law that may be a better fit for you.

If you love to travel and want to stay current with the latest airline news and airline industry developments, it is a great option to work as a travel blogger. This type of job allows you to use your legal training and life experience to write unbiased, non-biased and accurate articles about travel-related issues.

There are a lot of lawyers out there who are looking for new directions in their careers. So, how do you make an impact with your work, and where is it beneficial to travel?

Thrillable Hours - Careers for Lawyers Q&AReturning to Thrillable Hours, my interview series on attorneys’ alternate jobs. 

Katie Aune, a fellow travel blogger (and fellow celiac) who left her work last summer to travel throughout the former Soviet Union, is the subject of the second installment of my interview series showcasing attorneys who are doing fascinating things. In one of those amusing small-world tales, I first engaged with Katie on Twitter, only to discover that we had a common acquaintance from Chicago, one of my pals from my first summer in New York. We finally got to meet this month at TBU in Umbria, and it was wonderful to put a face to the name.

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What influenced your decision to choose a different route than most law school graduates? Was there a specific event that triggered your decision?

For me, it was a slow and steady process. I knew I wanted to go to law school by the time I was a senior in high school. As early as my sophomore year of college, I began taking practice LSAT exams! Everything I did in college was aimed at improving my prospects of acceptance to a good law school. At the same time, I didn’t envision myself as a lawyer by the time I applied to law schools. Rather, I believed that a law degree would offer a solid foundation for a career in international relations. In my law school entrance essays, I said that I wanted to work in a U.S. embassy in another country.

Unfortunately, the money that major legal firms were ready to throw at fresh law school grads got in the way, and I ended myself as a tax attorney with a large multinational company in Chicago. I thought that since the company has offices all over the globe, I’d wind up working on cross-border transactions and get to travel. Before leaving for a smaller company, I spent four years there, working crazy hours and never boarding an aircraft. The first six months were fantastic — better hours, fresh and fascinating work – but I quickly became bored out of my mind, and the prospect of practicing tax law for the rest of my life was too much to stomach.

When I first contemplated quitting the legal profession, I looked into legal recruitment, law school career counseling, and law school alumni relations and growth. I had chances in both, but I chose the latter since it appeared to offer the greatest security and the finest career path. Before being promoted to work as a major gift fundraiser, I spent three years organizing alumni events, writing an alumni newsletter, and managing alumni volunteers. I spent the previous year identifying and cultivating high-giving prospective contributors with the aim of ultimately asking them to make a substantial financial gift to the institution.

Katie Aune enjoying Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal in November.In November, Katie was on Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal, Siberia.

What aspect of your present work gives you the greatest satisfaction?

In August, I resigned from my work as a big gift fundraiser to volunteer and travel throughout the former Soviet Union’s 15 nations. There were aspects of working in alumni relations and development (fundraising) that I found rewarding, such as hearing from alumni who were overjoyed to reconnect with a favorite classmate or professor; receiving rave reviews for an event I organized; and meeting with students who benefited from alumni mentors or scholarship funds. Unfortunately, such moments were insufficient to make me feel satisfied in the long run.

Many people refer to my present path as a “career hiatus,” but I like to think of it as a new professional transition. I’m well aware that I need to find a method to integrate my love of all things travel with what I do for a job. I’ve considered starting my own travel-planning business for years (and even took an online course before leaving), but I could also see myself working for a tourism board, tour company, or travel agency, going overseas to work for an international non-profit or in the foreign service, or even returning to a university to work with study abroad or international programs. The options are seemingly limitless!

While my “career” for the last eight months has been traveling and writing about it, I just started working part-time as managing editor at Meet, Plan, Go! while on the road. It’s a natural match since their goal is to promote and inspire North Americans to take professional vacations and travel.

Do you have any recommendations for professionals who want to leave private practice but are worried about what’s out there?

According to what I’ve observed, attorneys are leaving the profession of law more often — whether out of necessity due to layoffs or an unhappiness with their jobs. Law schools are beginning to focus more on non-traditional professions, encouraging students to utilize their legal knowledge in non-traditional ways from the outset. The most difficult obstacle for me was persuading prospective employers that I no longer wanted to practice law. It was also difficult to update my résumé since all of my professional experience had been in the legal field. I worked closely with a career counselor at my law school to emphasize talents I gained via undergraduate employment and law school extracurricular activities.

If someone is considering changing careers and leaving the legal field, I would advise them to consider their strengths and limitations, as well as what they enjoy and hate about their present position. Create a resume and cover letter that emphasizes your transferrable abilities, whether they are from your present position or from a decade ago. Keep an open mind and network as much as possible. I received every interview because of someone I know.

Finally, don’t expect to make the transition in a day or two. I read somewhere that making a job shift takes an average of six months of diligent searching. Don’t be shocked if it takes longer in this economy, but don’t be disheartened. I had been looking for approximately four months and hadn’t had a single interview when suddenly, several possibilities arose in a matter of days.

Katie Aune finishing the Tallinn Marathon in September 2011In September 2011, Katie Aune completed the Tallinn Marathon.

How has your legal education influenced your current perspective on the world? Do you still refer to yourself as an attorney?

I’m not sure whether it has a significant impact on how I see the world in general, but things I saw or experienced while practicing law have given me a new perspective. As a tax attorney, for example, I worked with businesses of all sizes to identify loopholes to avoid paying taxes, rather than to assist them comply with US tax rules. I approach any US political discussion over tax policy, especially corporate tax policy, from a very different standpoint than the majority of people.

To some degree, I still identify as a lawyer, but I sometimes wonder whether it’s because I haven’t yet established a new professional identity. However, I am constantly informed that once a lawyer, always a lawyer if I refer to myself as a “former attorney.”

 What would you reply to people who claim attorneys aren’t allowed to have fun?

They’re completely incorrect! Seriously, law school was one of the most enjoyable periods of my life. Many attorneys, I believe, have a mentality that leans toward the “work hard, play hard” attitude. They may work their tails off and put in 70 hours a week at work, but when they get the opportunity to unwind, they take advantage of it. Whether it’s a night out in Chicago, a weekend in Vegas, or ringing in the New Year in New Orleans, all of my lawyer pals know how to party.

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Katie Aune Katie Aune is a native of Minnesota who has lived in Chicago for the last 10 years. Katie left her job last summer to spend a year volunteering and traveling across all 15 nations of the former Soviet Union after practicing law for six years and working at a law school for the following four. She is also a sports aficionado and a runner who has avoided gluten since 2010. Katie’s blog Katie Going Global chronicles her travels, and she just established Globally Gluten Free, a website dedicated to gluten-free travelers.

I’m a lawyer who’s now spending a lot of time on the road. Because of this, I’ve found myself in a position where I’m travelling a lot to different places. In this post, I’ll look at some alternative careers for lawyers that don’t involve lawyering, so that you, too, can get out there and see the world.. Read more about alternative careers for lawyers uk and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What other jobs can a lawyer do?

A lawyer can be a doctor, an accountant, or anything else that requires the understanding of law.

What type of lawyers travel the most?

The most common type of lawyers are criminal defense attorneys.

What non law jobs can I get with a law degree?

You can get a job in the field of law, but you will not be able to practice as an attorney.

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