One thing that law school does not always prepare you for happens to be an incredibly important factor in the long term success of your career. When it comes to choosing your area of practice, there are a plethora of things to consider. Besides your personal satisfaction you also need to take into account the stability a field offers, as well as the ability you’ll be provided with to reach long-term goals.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when choosing your area of practice.
Take into Account Your Personality
It may not sound like something to take into account all that seriously, however, certain areas of practice are better suited for certain personality types. There are three broad areas of law and each is in part, tailored to a unique skill-set. Know your strengths and weaknesses so that you can match your practice area accordingly.
There are many subsets that fall under corporate law, such as real estate and finance. Individuals that may be suited for corporate law practice will be interested in business and commercial affairs. This will make things such as drafting contracts and closing deals enjoyable. In this field one must have strong attention to detail and be able to work well within the structure of creating and interpreting contracts.
If you absolutely despised your legal writing and research classes than this may not be the area of practice for you. Lawyers who succeed in this field enjoy thinking analytically, researching, writing, and developing advocacy. There is work as a trial attorney or as a litigator at a big firm. At a firm it is very possible to never get courtroom time because most cases are fought and settled through writing and discovery.
Regulatory lawyers can practice at state or federal levels. There are many government agencies employing this area of practice for things such as the environment, health care, food and drug laws, or energy. That’s just to name a few. This is a great area of practice for anyone who has a passion for a specific field and enjoys interpreting and becoming knowledgeable about a specific scheme. As a regulatory lawyer you will have to handle administrative hearings and lend advice.
Choose and Commit Early
Law is an incredibly competitive field and employers are interested in candidates that have already shown interest in a specific field. Choosing and committing to an area of practice should happen while you are still in school. Once you decide which area best suits you demonstrate interest by focused classwork or an internship.
Employers are looking for someone that has knowledge and interest in what they are hiring for. This will help to narrow down your job search and allow you to stand out from other interviewees that may not have a focus.
Take serious consideration when deciding what your area of practice will be. As you continue your career as a lawyer it becomes increasingly difficult to switch fields. The expertise you gain from committing to something early will help you to grow professionally.