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Top alternative careers for Lawyers in Nigeria; for those tired of the legal profession in Nigeria.


top alternative careers for lawyers in Nigeria Richmond Okezie

Besides being one of the top underpaid professions, the unemployment rate for lawyers in Nigeria is at an all-time high. Some young lawyers are fortunate, 5-7yrs into the profession, they have managed to become Corporate attorneys, Legal Counsels, Tax attorneys, some are even making it big in Real Estate. Others are not so fortunate, they’re still taking 30k from firms, and registering business names/Ltd companies on the side when they can – I bet this was not what they spent 7yrs to become a lawyer for. But whatever category you are in, if you ever get tired of the law and considering a change of career, then this post is for you.


You are tired and desire a change of profession. That’s great news. The possibilities are limitless for you, with the things you know and skills you possess as a lawyer, you will be unstoppable in your new venture or profession. Now you can be anything you want to be. But before we delve into what you can do now, we must first address why you’re leaving the law. Knowing this ‘why’ is very critical, as without it, you may find yourself struggling in the new profession or venture.


Why are you tired of the law?


This might have something to do with why you decided to become a lawyer in this first place.

Is it a question of job fulfilment? Is it passion? Did you do it for your parents and now want to do something for yourself? Is it the money? Adventure? It is critical that you search deep inside and answer this question. Embrace the answer. I am broke, my job underpays me, If I continue in this trajectory, I will never be financially self-sufficient; or, I entered this profession because I was unsure because my folks influenced me, I presently do not enjoy it.; or, I want the adventure, but this job or profession has become too mundane for me, I no longer see myself get excited to go to work, it is the same routine every day.


Next, is the route.


What will it be? What new venture or profession are you looking at? Information Technology, administration/Human Resources, Finance, Academia, Entertainment? The possibilities are endless, but you have to narrow your interest, towards something that is in your area of strength, passion, adventurous or simply something that can make you good money – whatever it is that made you leave the law, you must look to find it in the new venture. The new venture may be an area where some of your existing lawyer skills can be transferred, in which case you will not be starting from the ground, or an area where you have no skills in, in which case, you will be starting from the ground. In my experience dealing with people in the situation, the former is often the easiest. Let us examine a few of them;


Talent Management


This is not talent management as you know it in human resources. This is managing creatives, entrepreneurs, artists, etc. You are likely already familiar with some of the tenets of managing talent including dealing with intellectual property issues, contract negotiation, crisis management, so this is an obvious area and it has potential. You can manage Actors, Musicians, Writers/Speakers, Businessmen, etc. This is more so if you are outgoing, quick on your feet, a natural-born organizer and highly creative. How to find who to manage or how to start is entirely a different discussion. Start out with one talent and grow the talent and yourself. Maybe even start your own outfit at some point.


Contract Management

Unlike the talent management, this will involve working for a firm. Contract administration is very unpopular but high value skill in construction, power/energy and oil & gas sectors. These are the guys at the centre of billion dollars deals, handling all the administration of the contract and interfacing between all the stakeholders. Much of this will be document control too, so you will oversee this.


Bids & Tendering


This is the senior brother of contract management. Companies in the consulting business survive on contracts, this cannot happen with bids & tenders. As a lawyer, you’re already familiar with proposals drafting and dealing, so your job is handling bids and ensuring the company makes and wins them.


Financial Analysis (Mergers, Acquisition, Restructuring)


If you’re considering finance, then mergers, acquisitions and restructuring are areas that your lawyer skills will rub off well. Your research skills will come in quite handy here, considering your background. Due diligence and valuing companies before acquisition and advising during restructuring, etc. With the way companies like Access Bank are growing by acquiring other companies, imaging what their in-house legal department looks like. Lol.


Finance/tech Advisory

The wave and rave of start-ups in Nigeria has created another opportunity for lawyers, especially in forming and growing the company including accessing funds. As a legal advisor for tech companies, you will advise them on what funding choices to pursue, how to structure their company, etc. Helping them navigate the shark infested waters of venture capitals and investors. I’m sure you get the gig. So start planning on how you can launch your start-up legal advisory firm, identify the services you will offer, identify what makes your services different from what is already obtainable in the market, identify the type of start-ups you want to target, and you are in business already.


HR

This is not far from Administration which is also something you are already used to. But you could specialiaze in say, recruitment, learning and development or talent management. See a beginner's guide to the HR profession in Nigeria. Aspire to get a professional qualification to help you advance.


Entrepreneurship

If any of the above listed professions are not for you and you have decided the 9-5 thing is no longer working out for you, entrepreneurship it is then. There numerous business concepts and ideas out there for you to pursue. Starting from your immediate environment, to technologies that are disrupting traditional ways of doing things, there are business opportunities. Don’t look far, start from the legal profession, fashion. Designing and selling low-cost legal wears. The key here is low cost. Target young lawyers, the ones with a taste of fashion and love looking good in court and on the job but can’t always afford costly wears. Start an e-commerce site and use all the digital channels available to promote the business. If you set up Facebook ad to promote the site and target lawyers on Facebook, possibilities. I believe you get the idea.

In closing, there are numerous professions and businesses that lawyers or ex-lawyers can do, such a list cannot be exhausted. I shared these few merely to inspire you and get you thinking, knowing that there are possibilities out there for you outside the legal profession.


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