Law school is hard. It’s time consuming. It takes a lot of work. So why would anyone want to go to law school if they don’t actually plan to practice law?
Turns out, there are many reasons. We talked to three Birmingham School of Law alums who successfully went through the program even though their ultimate plans didn’t have anything to do with actually being a lawyer.
Here’s just a little peek inside each of their stories.
Kent Pickering – Business Guy
Kent is a licensed attorney and works for Cigna Corporation. But he’s not with the legal department. While he does help people with legal matters on the side occasionally, he doesn’t practice law full time or even part-time.
After working for a company that no longer exists and losing his job prior to working for Cigna, he knew he wanted to have a strong skill set so he would have good options if he found himself in a similar situation again. Kent says he was initially interested in Birmingham School of Law because of the part-time options. Kent has great experience working with contracting and reimbursement, and he says his law degree has been very beneficial when it comes to the business side of contracts. It bridges the gap in working with legal teams internally and externally. He can be the point person when it comes to legal matters.
Bo Andrews – Entrepreneur
Bo has been a pilot for 31 years, and he says he can’t imagine himself ever not flying. He runs a charter service company out of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. He graduated into owning the business, but he saw it coming a few years ahead of time. Because of this, he went to law school.
His main goals were to learn about contracts and corporate structure, but he quickly realized he had to know everything surrounding those two topics and all their legal implications. Bo says the knowledge he gained in law school has been especially helpful when it comes to managing the many agreements his company works with each month. Instead of always relying on outside lawyers, he’s able to focus on any “hot spots” or changes that need to be addressed, and he can better negotiate by calling on the rules of law.
Anthony (Tony) Coleman – Digital Portfolio Manager
While Tony focused on Management Information Systems for his undergraduate degree, he had interest in law school and was advised by a friend that it would be beneficial for him to work in a law firm, which he did. He worked as a paralegal, then moved to the trial team to provide technical support. He decided to move on in his career path, possibly to get an MBA, but after looking at colleagues in his field and company, he realized that MBAs were not as valued as Juris Doctor (JD) degrees. So he decided to enroll at Birmingham School of Law, and soon after completing his course, he was promoted to his current position, Digital Portfolio Manager for Alabama Power’s marketing department.
He says that knowledge of the law is critical for many activities in daily life and business. The knowledge he gained at Birmingham School of Law has helped him know when a statement of law is incorrect, how to navigate most legal business issues, and when to engage outside counsel.
Here are a few pieces of advice and tips from Kent, Bo, and Tony:
- Every family needs a lawyer. Even if you don’t plan to practice or specifically represent friends or family, there is comfort in knowing that you could.
- Many jobs out there require a JD even if it’s not practicing law. Having a JD opens the door to those jobs that would otherwise be closed.
- Remember that your timing will be unique to you. There’s no right or wrong time to get a law degree. Figure out the plan that works for you, and take advantage of the part-time options.
- While an MBA was once a differentiator in the job market, it’s doesn’t hold as much credence today as it once did. A law degree may not be the same as an MBA was 20 years ago, but it is a strong differentiator.
- You will meet a wide variety of very smart people in law school. You may come out of it with friends for life and new contacts because you’ve gone through and finished this process together.
Birmingham School of Law is a law school that provides an affordable quality legal education. BSL has a diverse student body of approximately 350 students from across the State of Alabama and the Southeast. Many different undergraduate majors are represented as there is no “correct” pre-law major. Contact us today to learn more about enrollment options.