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On the road to becoming a lawyer, how did you decide which type of law you wanted to practice??

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Paul V.’s Answer

I graduated from Stetson University College of Law, the #1 Trial Advocacy law school in the country. I worked for a civil litigation law firm for a couple of years then opened my own civil litigation firm which handled mostly evictions and landlord/tenant matters. I was a “trial lawyer” who had been well trained and had gained some experiences during and after law school. Prior to law school I had been a professional international educator who spent several years living, traveling and studying in South America and Costa Rica prior to teaching in California and Florida. I speak, read and write fluent Portuguese and Spanish so about five years ago I had the opportunity to join a medium sized national immigration and nationality law firm right here in Tampa, Florida and I took it. Many of my Clients are from Latin America so it helps that I can understand and communicate with them without relying on one of our bilingual legal assistants to interpret for us. Immigration and nationality law is interesting. I help a lot of families remain together or reunite, individuals become U. S. citizens and individuals become lawful permanent residents, “greencard holders.”

Paul V. recommends the following next steps:

Learn Spanish or any other language you Can have real opportunities to listen and speak
What do you feel is worth fighting for?
Read news articles about immigration and immigration law
Buy a plain dark suit
Visit your local courthouse
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Alexander’s Answer

By keeping my mind open and getting as much experience as I could in as many different areas as possible.

In my case, I started off with a paid internship in a government agency, which led to a paid part-time role while I completed my university studies. Through this, I was exposed to many different areas of law, including commercial contracts, negligence, health and safety, administrative law, prosecutions and regulatory policy. I eventually found myself doing more work in freedom of information and data privacy, and this eventually became my specialty.

If you're still studying, my advice is to get internships or part-time employment in the areas that you might be interested in. These are great opportunities to see how a law firm, NGO, company or government department works, how different areas of the law might apply in those contexts and what the actual 'work' looks like on a day-to-day basis. Take the chance to talk to lawyers and other professionals and really understand what they do, what they like and don't like about their work and how it aligns with your own interests and expectations.

If you've just graduated from law school and in your first role, you should take a few years to just try different practice areas, get as much experience as you can and experiment with your interests before you really start settling in an area of specialty, which tends to be around the 5-10 year mark after graduation.

Don't feel that you have to find or commit to a specialism until at least you've tried it or given other areas a try.
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Paul V.’s Answer

I graduated from Stetson University College of Law, the #1 Trial Advocacy law school in the country. I worked for a civil litigation law firm for a couple of years then opened my own civil litigation firm which handled mostly evictions and landlord/tenant matters. I was a “trial lawyer” who had been well trained and had gained some experiences during and after law school. Prior to law school I had been a professional international educator who spent several years living, traveling and studying in South America and Costa Rica prior to teaching in California and Florida. I speak, read and write fluent Portuguese and Spanish so about five years ago I had the opportunity to join a medium sized national immigration and nationality law firm right here in Tampa, Florida and I took it. Many of my Clients are from Latin America so it helps that I can understand and communicate with them without relying on one of our bilingual legal assistants to interpret for us. Immigration and nationality law is interesting. I help a lot of families remain together or reunite, individuals become U. S. citizens and individuals become lawful permanent residents, “greencard holders.”

Paul V. recommends the following next steps:

Learn Spanish or any other language you Can have real opportunities to listen and speak
What do you feel is worth fighting for?
Read news articles about immigration and immigration law
Buy a plain dark suit
Visit your local courthouse
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Ntazyel’s Answer

There isn't really a certain point when you will have your whole legal career figured out, but don't worry things will fall into place in time. On your journey I agree with Alexander, you should definitely keep an open mind and get experience in a variety of areas that interest you while you are making up your mind. Attend legal events around your community, take electives, apply for internships, talk to different types of legal professionals, and just explore. Most of all remember that your decision does not have to be final :-) There are many attorneys (myself included) who have changed course over their careers. Its called the practice of law because we are learning and evolving more everyday.
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Mariana’s Answer

Hi Mara!

I´m a lawyer and this question I made to myself thousands of times since I entered to law school, but in my experience I could tell you that it's all a matter of learning and getting to know the different specialties that exist as you go, now a days It may be that from this moment there is some branch of law that may catch your attention but it may happen that at the end of the degree and since you studied all the subjects related to it, they do not attract as much attention as before.

Today this profession adapts to new technologies and therefore incorporates new fields of study, what you can do is do an investigation of the different law schools that interest you, consult the study plan that each one has and see which one. It attracts your attention, you can do an investigation of the different branches of law that exist in your country and see which one best suits your interests.

From my experience I can tell you that I have dedicated myself to 3 different ones, such as administrative law when I worked in an office, financial and securities law when worked in a bank and currently I am dedicated to corporate law when working in a private company, so this is a matter of trying a little of each one.

I hope this can work for you and clarify your doubts.

Mariana
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