Survey Shows One In Five Attorneys Would Have Chosen Career In Business Instead Of Law

In lieu of practicing law, many attorneys would have pursued a career in business, education or science, a recent survey by Robert Half Legal reveals. One in five (20 percent) lawyers interviewed said they would have chosen business management or marketing careers if they hadn’t become attorneys. Academia/education; STEM (science, technology, engineering and math); and finance/economics careers ranked second, with each category receiving 12 percent of the survey response.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 attorneys among the largest law firms and corporations in the United States: 100 of the respondents are employed at law firms with 20 or more employees and 100 are employed at companies with 1,000 or more employees.

Lawyers were asked, “If you hadn’t decided to become an attorney, what career would you have pursued instead?” Their responses:*

Business management/marketing




STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math)




Doctor/medical field




Public service


Blue collar/physical labor worker




None/nothing other than an attorney


Don’t know/no answer



*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

“Even if you’re content with your job, it’s important to periodically examine your career goals to assess whether your priorities or interests have changed,” said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “Lawyers considering second careers may find that the skills, knowledge and experience they possess are a natural fit with a variety of roles outside of the legal field.”

A few lawyers who were interviewed acknowledged that they’ve never considered a career outside of the legal profession. “This is my passion. I’ve never wanted to do anything else,” said one respondent, while another attorney commented, “I wouldn’t trade my job for the world.”

About Guest Author Robert Half Legal

Robert Half Legal is the premier provider of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. With North American and global locations.

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