Meet Kathy Greenier

September 13, 2021

Kathy Greenier is the new Director of Emerging Careers in the Career Development Office at Richmond Law.  We asked her to describe her role in CDO and how she might be able to help students interested in business law.

Q: What is your role in the Career Development Office?

A: I am the Director of Career Development for Emerging Careers, and as such I focus on cultivating opportunities in employment sectors for which law students and J.D.s have not traditionally been a significant portion of the applicant pool. One reason I am passionate about my role is because prior to this job I used my law degree in two different J.D. Advantage careers, both of which I found incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Prior to joining the School of Law in 2021, I served as a practice manager and a senior consultant at Floricane, a boutique organizational development consulting firm based here in Richmond. Before that, I started my career at the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia as the founding director of the organization’s Reproductive Freedom Project and the founding director of the Patricia M. Arnold Women’s Rights Project. I feel I can personally relate to students who are seeking what’s sometimes thought of as an “alternative” career.

Q: What are J.D. Advantage and Emerging Careers?

A: J.D. Advantage careers are best defined as jobs for which legal training is not strictly required, but the J.D. does make you a more competitive candidate and enhance your ability to perform the role at a high level. These roles do not necessarily require bar licensure, though bar licensure and/or LLMs may be an additional plus to employers. We distinguish J.D. Advantage careers from what we call “emerging careers." Emerging careers often do involve practicing law and likely require bar licensure. Emerging legal roles are in young, dynamic fields or already-established fields in which demand increases for evolving and specialized legal skills.

Q: What types of J.D. Advantage or emerging jobs should students interested in business law consider?

A: Pretty much everyone has heard that old adage, “You can do anything with a law degree,” but I’ll be frank and say that I don’t think that’s actually helpful advice for someone seeking a J.D. Advantage role… While that old saying is technically true, what matters most to law students considering a career outside of practicing law is whether a J.D. actually will provide a leg up in a job hunt. Students interested in business law might consider careers in compliance, regulatory affairs, corporate ethics and governance, corporate responsibility and sustainability, contract management, a myriad of roles in the financial services sector, cyber security and data protection, human resources, or risk management, just to name (more than) a few.

My favorite example (because it’s such a growing field) of an emerging career that might appeal to students interested in business law is the field of legal operations. With increasing frequency law firms and in-house teams are being asked to serve their clients more effectively by applying business and technical practices to the delivery of legal services. Legal operations professionals allow the legal organization or team to more effectively manage risks, monitor compliance, incorporate the right technological tools, and deliver more value to the enterprise by accelerating the business.

Q: Does the job search for these types of jobs look different than the search for law firm or government jobs?

A: Applying yourself academically, building subject matter expertise, networking, and finding opportunities to build skills and gain practical experience are important for any kind of job hunt. That said, because there are a smaller number of people in J.D. Advantage and emerging careers compared to other types of legal jobs, I recommend an even higher emphasis on networking or finding mentorship. The CDO is available to help students find alumni in their career areas of interest, and to assist with how best to reach out for and conduct informational interviews. Also, there is no one place to search for all the different kinds of J.D. Advantage or emerging roles. It’s thus critical that students learn about the industry specific websites and other resources for job hunting — which is one other way the CDO can help.

Q: If students are interested in learning more about these types of jobs, what steps do you recommend that they take?

A: I am eager to meet in-person or virtually with any student considering a J.D. Advantage or emerging career. You can email me at kgreenier@richmond.edu or go on Symplicity to book an advising session.

Thanks, Kathy, for sharing your insights about these growing employment areas!