The new new careers

The United States may keep shedding jobs to foreign countries, but it cranks out new occupations like no one else. Here are just five of the hottest you can get into now.

Second Life Lawyer
Second Life Lawyer
Salary range: Too early to say

Experience/skills: Software and intellectual property law expertise

Perks: The freedom to be talking to a client while getting a beer out of your home fridge

Who's hiring? Programmers looking to patent their code

Of the 2 million or so Second Life members, more than 25,000 are aspiring entrepreneurs. Most are buying and selling land, designing homes and clothes, or creating products, from jewelry to virtual pets. The stakes are small, but they're rising fast: According to Linden Lab, creator of Second Life, only 116 members made more than $5,000 in February, but that number is triple what it was six months earlier.

Count Stevan Lieberman among the virtual world's earning elite. Instead of trying to practice purely virtual law--which few if any lawyers have turned into real money--Lieberman has taken a hybrid approach, using Second Life as a meet-and-greet area for new clients, who then take their real-world legal needs offline. And since he took in $7,000 in fees in the first two weeks after hanging up his virtual shingle, he's optimistic: "I fully expect to keep getting more business this way."

So bullish is Lieberman that he's helping to set up the site's first "law island," a place for other members' practices and legal entities to do business. The American Bar Association and the FBI have asked him to help them set up their outposts too.





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