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How did you decided what type of law you wanted to practice?

I've been thinking a lot about what type of law I want to practice when I'm older, and it's been really hard for me to choose one (or even my top 5) type of law. It just feels like there are so many types of law I could do, and I have no clue how lawyers figure out which type they like the most. How did you choose the type of law you do now? And what types of law did/do you enjoy practicing?
#law #law-school #lawyer #typesoflaw

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John’s Answer

So Amanda, while you don’t need to know what type of law that you want to practice, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to begin developing a basic understanding of the areas of law. This isn’t a question you can answer overnight. It’s a big question and requires some careful thought and planning. If you press your brain to come up with an instant answer, that will only lead to stress and anxiety. So, think long term. Give yourself give yourself time to explore this question with leisure. The good news is that law school trains you to be flexible so you can change practice areas and move around. And there's no wrong answer either. You might have a passion for conservation and choose environmental law, or you could choose a path towards high-powered international law only to realize that you'd like to be home more often. And that's okay. Good lawyers know that everything is negotiable, and anything can be open to interpretation, including your career choices. You will, most likely, find a field that suits you, but you should take the time you need to explore and learn – both about the legal profession and yourself.

The area of law you choose may have less to do with how much personal satisfaction you get from your job than your work environment. I’ve always found that who I work with, and how much autonomy I have, at a job was far more important in determining how much I enjoyed my job than the actual practice of it. One of the best ways to get a handle on your professional path is to understand your personal desires. For example, where you want to live, lifestyle, family and numerous other factors are really important to think about. Make sure your professional choices do not create irreconcilable conflicts with your personal needs.

Different people thrive in different types of work environments, so think about what you need Amanda.

John recommends the following next steps:

So, while you don’t need to know what type of law that you want to practice, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to begin developing a basic understanding of the areas of law that you’ll encounter in Law School. For a great introduction to the basics, I recommend checking out — Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About American Law. This book covers the basics & gives you a great primer on stuff you’ll be learning in much more depth.
Thank you comment icon Thank you Kim for your continued support. When there is hope in the future, there is power in the present. John Frick
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Mariam’s Answer

It is very difficult to determine the type of law you want to practice, but generally speaking you can try to assess if you enjoy the type of work done by litigators versus transactional / corporate lawyers. Litigators face different challenges and stresses and require different skills than corporate lawyers. For instances litigators have to deal with situations which are a lot more contentious on a daily basis than the work done by most other lawyers. It is helpful during law school to take both corporate classes as well as classes such as trial advocacy to understand what you enjoy more.

I began my career as a litigator at a large law firm, but after a few years I decided that litigation was not for me and so I switched and became a regulatory lawyer for financial services clients. Along the way I got a smattering of other types of experiences as well (in bankruptcy, real estate, securities litigation, etc.). I then move from the US into various in-house positions overseas, and got broad experience in regulatory work, compliance, anti-money laundering, internal investigations and general corporate in-house matters. I have circled back around and have started working on both regulatory and litigation matters now.

As a young lawyer you should try to get as broad an experience as possible, and remain flexible. It is very common for your career to change and evolve over the years, and the law you 'specialize' in is something that happens without design for most people. You cannot plan for it or predict it before you actually begin practicing law, and it is driven by the opportunities you will find for different types of work throughout your career.

Good luck, and keep asking good questions.
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Terri’s Answer

One of the best ways to decide what type of law you want to practice is by taking advantage of the opportunity to learn about a variety of types of law while you are in law school. You don’t have to know what type of law you want to practice when you start law school. During your first year, you will take a number of required classes that will introduce you to various areas of law. After the first year of law school, you will be able to choose courses to learn about other areas. You can also meet attorneys through various co-curricular activities and learn more about their practice areas. At most law schools, you can extern in some practice areas for academic credit, and you might be able to find a part-time job with a local attorney. Each of these provides an opportunity for you to learn more about what practice areas you find interesting and exciting before you graduate from law school and become an attorney.
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Jonathan’s Answer

I started as a restructuring attorney because the firm I went to was the best bankruptcy firm in the world and I wanted to be the best. In the end I am a versatile attorney that works and focuses mostly with clients in investment management. Law school was the backup plan for me, finance was number one and for now these are the ciients I want so I can stay close to an industry that I can eventually be apart of.
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Pablo’s Answer

Well, when you think in the end of your vocation about Lawyer, of course is your soul of justice that have a first step. Give to everyone that they need is the principal verb that you need feel
Thank you comment icon Hi Pablo, this isn't very helpful for the student. Do you have any insight on HOW to pick a speciality in law? Gurpreet Lally, Admin
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