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Jobs at the intersection of technology and the law

Many legal professionals who are interested in technology may yearn for a tech-focused job, but still want to remain within — or adjacent to — the legal industry. Often, their best option is to seek out roles at the intersection of tech and the law.

The good news is there are many such roles in the current job market.

The following are six potential career paths for the tech-savvy legal professional that incorporate aspects of both the legal and tech worlds.

#1: Data privacy attorney

An unfortunate reality of the modern digital world is the constant threat of data breaches in both the private and public sectors. This makes data protection and privacy into a critical subject, while increasing demand for attorneys who know this area well.

Data privacy attorneys can help protect a company’s data, ensure compliance with privacy laws, and advise the company when responding to a security breach.

Aspiring privacy attorneys still in law school should seek out specialized coursework in cybersecurity, privacy law, and other related topics that might be available.

Becoming a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) is another excellent option.

Immerse yourself in the data privacy community by attending conferences and taking on roles in industry associations.

With the average annual U.S. salary for a data privacy attorney exceeding $150,000, this career path can be highly lucrative for those with the requisite tech competence.

#2: Legal operations manager

Another intersection point between tech and law is the relatively new field of legal operations.

Legal operations are the personnel and systems that empower the in-house department through a range of activities, from business intelligence to implementation of legal technology. A large focus for a legal operations team is technology and automation — meaning the manager of the legal ops team had better be relatively tech-savvy.

As for the path to becoming a legal operation manager, there is good news for legal professionals: both law degrees and paralegal certificates are excellent starting points. An MBA, a master’s degree in operations management, or any experience in program management would also be valuable.

The average annual salary for a legal operations manager is approximately $77,000, while senior managers average about $110,000.

#3: eDiscovery consultant

Electronic discovery, or eDiscovery, refers to the litigation discovery processes for electronically stored information (ESI). eDiscovery deals with the collection, preservation, and storage of electronic data — making tech know-how an absolute must.

An eDiscovery consultant helps firms navigate the digital maze of this complex area.

While there are some attorneys who specialize in eDiscovery, there are also many non-attorney roles in this field.

This is a consulting career move, which means that you’ll be responsible for marketing yourself and keeping clients. Obtaining a certification in eDiscovery could provide a good head start. Any past law firm experience is also valuable.

An eDiscovery consultant can expect an average U.S. salary of $100,000, with many eDiscovery consultants — especially attorneys — earning far more.

#4: Compliance attorney

Compliance attorneys work to ensure their companies comply with state and federal laws and regulations, as well as the company’s internal controls.

The ever-evolving landscapes of technology and regulation are resulting in a compliance industry boom. This makes compliance an excellent professional space for tech-oriented lawyers.

An attorney seeking a career in compliance should work on gaining experience in operations within a single industry, such as financial services or healthcare.

There are also a variety of compliance certifications a lawyer can earn which focus on specific areas, such as information technology.

The average compliance attorney salary in the U.S. is approximately $94,000.

#5: Blockchain attorney

There is an ongoing need for legal expertise in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries.

Blockchain attorneys help their clients navigate this complex technical landscape with respect to contracting, regulatory compliance, legal disputes, and more. Needless to say, lawyers in this field require a deep understanding of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

Aspiring blockchain attorneys can seek from a wide array of online certifications, as well as industry conferences and events.

These areas are newly emerging and still evolving, so it is imperative you stay up to date on new technological developments and blockchain industry news, as well as changing regulations. It’s wise to stay involved: attend conferences, read news, and become active in groups for blockchain professionals and enthusiasts.

The blockchain space can be quite lucrative. Blockchain attorneys reportedly earn between $160,000 and $250,000 per year.

#6: Legal software developer

For those legal professionals with the utmost interest in technology, the best option may be to develop their own legal software.

The legal industry presents a great deal of workflows and processes that can be helped with technology; document management, calendaring, court filings, and case management are just a few.

Legal professionals with the right tech capabilities are well-positioned to create the products this industry needs.

To get started in the software development space, you can learn to code through online courses, in-person boot camps, and university coursework. There are a multitude of development languages and approaches, and the skills you need will depend on the types of software you want to build.

Achieving success will be difficult in a competitive and uncertain industry, but the financial rewards can be enormous.

Embracing technology in your legal practice

These are just a few options to build a high-tech career in law.

Of course, you can also bring technology into your current law office without pursuing a total career change. The modern legal landscape is more technical than ever before. Automation, artificial intelligence, and other high-tech habits are becoming standard in legal practice.

Dive into the world of AI in this eBook, Artificial intelligence for lawyers. It includes everything you need to make informed decisions about AI in your law firm, starting with some explanations of what AI tools do and ending with a walkthrough of which tools are worth considering and which you should probably pass on.

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