Beyond the Bar: Exploring the Untapped Value of a Law Degree Outside of the Legal Field

When students pursue a law degree, they are trained in a very particular set of skills. They learn, for example, problem-solving, including how to identify core issues, assess potential outcomes, and determine the best course of action. They also learn critical thinking, empowering them to dissect complex issues, evaluate arguments, and map out a course to well-supported conclusions.

The list of skills imparted as part of a law degree, with those mentioned above being just a few, are designed to serve attorneys as they pass the bar and begin to practice law. But they also hold value outside of the legal field.

“The combination of skills that students walk away with when they earn a law degree can serve as a solid foundation for success in any number of fields,” says Justin Leto, Co-founder and CEO of Idea Financial. “Often those skills are taught in a way that relates directly to the practice of law, but with a little adapting, they can support success in a wide variety of careers.”

Leto knows firsthand how valuable and transferable the skills taught in law school can be, having earned his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. After practicing law for more than 15 years, Leto applied his skills as the co-founder of LevelEsq, an innovative insurance solution for plaintiff’s attorneys and plaintiff-litigants providing insurance coverage for the costs spent in furtherance of cases. LevelEsq is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Idea Financial, another business Leto co-founded that empowers businesses to charge forward with fast and flexible business financing.

“The skills I developed as a law student are critical to the work we are doing to provide small businesses with the financial flexibility, control, and support they need,” Leto shares. “Things like work ethic, attention to detail, adaptability, and resilience, all of which are hammered into lawyers during their season in law school, have been essential to developing the innovative solutions Idea Financial has brought to the business world.”

Bringing legal skills to business management

The business world has become exponentially more complex in recent years as the digital revolution has disrupted virtually every business process. The result is a landscape that has more opportunities as well as more risks.

Those trained as lawyers excel in many skills valuable for succeeding in the modern business landscape, with excellent strategic thinking and problem-solving being chief among them. Today’s business leaders must navigate an ever-evolving landscape of technology, market dynamics, and regulatory requirements. Strategic thinking is essential to analyzing the non-stop flow of data, understanding its implications, and adjusting to stay relevant and effective.

Strategic thinking also plays a key role in innovation. The rapid rate of change in today’s business world demands business leaders master the art of innovation, with recent studies showing it to be a key element of business success.

“Strategic thinking is foundational to innovation,” Leto explains. “It empowers business leaders to look beyond today’s challenges, anticipates what will be needed tomorrow, and plays a key role in seeing emerging opportunities and preparing to take advantage of them. And it is something that those trained as lawyers excel at.”

Leveraging legal training to boost communications

Communication is an essential skill in the legal field for client interaction, courtroom participation, and the drafting of legal documents. Consequently, legal training invests heavily in developing excellent communication skills. 

As the business landscape has evolved to include more remote work and online customer interactions, communication strategies have struggled to keep up. Recent studies show businesses are not investing in effective communications — a shortcoming that is pushing customers away. Internally, poor communication has the potential to create confusion and frustration, keeping employees from effectively doing their jobs and motivating them to look for work elsewhere.

“Lawyers can bring excellent written and spoken communication skills to any business setting,” Leto says. “They are trained in crafting communication that is clear, precise, and persuasive. They also know how to read a room, think on their feet, and make complex concepts understandable and actionable.”

Effective communication is also key to collaboration, which has become more important than ever as workplaces have become distributed and the pace of business has increased. A lawyer’s communication skills can ensure that vision, goals, and strategies are clearly captured and expressed, providing the entire organization with the direction it needs to work together toward the same objectives.

The business world is in a season of significant change, with advances in artificial intelligence and other technologies reshaping the landscape in unprecedented ways. The skills that lawyers learn in their law school training hold great potential for guiding businesses as they navigate the new landscape. Now may be the perfect time for lawyers to look outside of the legal profession and explore the ways they can thrive beyond the bar.

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