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HAVE LAW DEGREE, WILL TRAVEL

If you sit at your desk and fantasize about a scuba diving trip to Fiji, or fly casting in the Tetons, or lying on a beach, maybe itís time to cultivate those fantasies.  Lawyers who would rather travel than practice law, take note.  The travel industry is booming!  The growth of travel-related businesses, including those on the Internet, is predicted to be in excess of 20% during the next year.  In fact, the hospitality industry (which consists of the entire industry servicing travelers, including hotels, restaurants, tour and travel agencies, airlines, and adventure travel organizations) now employs one in nine U.S. workers.

Lawyers are contributing to these increasing numbers.  Some lawyers have gone to work for or opened travel agencies, manage hotels, work in reservations for the airlines, take tourists on adventure-travel journeys, or write guidebooks for travelers (think Zagat restaurant guides, written by a husband/wife lawyer team).

Other examples of lawyers who now work in the hospitality industry include a chef, a leader of gourmet bicycle tours of France, an executive with a small airline, a pilot for a commuter airline, a leader of river rafting trips, an owner of a fishing charter boat who organizes fishing tours, and an owner of a scuba diving/travel business.  Many of these individuals took a pay cut, some a status reduction, but all deduced that the travel field held more interest for them than law.  Then they researched a means to switch into that field, either by using currently held skills (the river rafter and the bicyclist) or stepping back to retrain (the chef and the pilot).

Of course, not all lawyers work directly with travelers.  Because all travel-related businesses also need office staff, managers (of both facilities and people), accountants, etc., some lawyers work in positions that provide these support services to the business itself.  In addition, these businesses often hire outside consultants or companies to manage, monitor, market, and promote their travel-related services, or provide insurance and design of facilities, to name just a few areas.  For example, one former lawyer who also is a CPA specializes in tax and accounting work for travel agencies because he gets some free travel perks in addition to his fees.  He never meets the travelers but instead performs work for a number of small businesses that happen to be travel agencies.  Another ex-practitioner writes insurance, specializing in aviation and pilots.

The massive growth in travel-related business over the past several years is caused primarily by three developments.  People are traveling more on business, both within the United States and internationally.  For recreation, many of these same people increasingly seek other kinds of travel.  And the Internet is providing a cheaper, easier, and more accessible means to research a trip and reserve an itinerary. 

But whether travelers desire business, leisure or adventure trips, most travelers want to indulge in their chosen pastime in relative comfort.  That opens up the possibilities for small entrepreneurial endeavors or entire companies catering to the whims of individuals with at least a moderate amount of cash to spend.

The companies themselves that cater to these tourists are diverseóhere is a sample:

Adventure travel agencies offering rafting, hiking, sailing, trekking, safaris, etc.;

Businesses that actually provide those adventure services;

Regular and charter airlines flying to select locations;

Agencies specializing in packaged travel, with air, hotel, rental car, and itinerary prearranged;

Companies sponsoring education-related travel, either through professional associations or universities; and

Rustic cabins to elegant resorts, with everything between, offering swimming or skiing or spa activities or hiking or scuba diving, etc.

For ideas about the different jobs in the travel industry, check out Flying High in Travel : A Complete Guide... by Karen Rubin, and Jobs in Paradise : The Definitive Guide to Exotic Jobs Everywhere, by Jeffrey Maltzman, a practicing lawyer.

© 2000 Hindi Greenberg.  No reproduction by any means without express written permission from Hindi Greenberg.  Hindi Greenberg, J.D., was a business litigator for ten years before founding Lawyers in Transition(sm) in 1985.  She is known nationwide for her expertise on career options for lawyers and is a speaker, outplacement advisor and consultant on options, job satisfaction and career change for bar associations, law firms, law schools and individual lawyers.  She has been widely interviewed by both the legal and general national media and was called "the Ann Landers for lawyers" by the Los Angeles Times.  Here newest book is the best selling The Lawyer's Career Change Handbook :...  published by Avon Books/HarperCollins.  Hindi may be contacted at mailto:info@lawyersintransition.com or visit her site at:  http://www.lawyersintransition.com

 

 

 

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