How hard is it for lawyers to find jobs? What types of lawyers are ding best in todays societies?
I am a junior in high school. I am looking to apply to colleges next summer and just wanted to get a heads up to see what I was aiming for. #college #college-major #law #university #lawyer #college-majors #law-school #attorney
Certain legal fields have more job openings than others. It depends on things like where you live, what type of industry is in the area, etc. Go on job websites like indeed.com and search "attorney" for the city where you want to live. https://www.indeed.com/
For example, in Washington, DC there are a lot of jobs for people who practice government contracts.
Assuming you go to law school, even if you don't get the top grades there are still possibilities to get a job. You just have to work hard and network. You may need to be flexible where you want to live, if possible.
I agree with the above posts. In today's legal market, you need to specialize in a particular area of law (1 or 2 areas, max) to be competitive in the current job market. Based on my experience, the following practice areas have been in demand: corporate, tax, healthcare, privacy, data security, patent, and employment. However, where you go to law school and your grades in law school are a large factor in getting a full-time, well paying job out of law school. For me, I chose to go into tax law because it is a growing area of law and with the ever changing tax laws, tax lawyers are in demand. If you go to law school, I recommend interning in different practice areas and with different firms, companies, agencies, etc. so that you will know which areas of law that you like and don't like. Also, this will give you exposure to the business side of the law to learn if you can make a decent living in a particular practice area and how much a particular industry or market affects that practice area. Therefore, my advice is to talk to lawyers in different practice areas and research the trends of the legal market to give you better insight on which area of law to specialize in.
It can be difficult to find a FT job after law school. The most important factors are going to a strong law school, interning / externing (with a judge) while in law school, relevant work experience (like working in an office environment perhaps during college), good grades and strong communication skills. You should do as much networking as possible during law school as it will help you make connections which can help you in the future (but be genuine). The other huge factor you will have no control over is the economy. Don't get discouraged and consider working for free for an experienced attorney (if they are willing to teach you then this will only help you in the future and plus it adds to your resume)
Employment of lawyers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs over the next 10 years is expected to be strong because more students graduate from law school each year than there are jobs available.
Robert recommends the following next steps:
Anyone who gets really good grades usually don't have problems getting jobs out of law school. Other than that, just look at the newspaper. What are the topics that are foremost in people's mind? Trade, healthcare, cyber security, data privacy - lawyers with expertise in these fields are also very much in demand.
I would echo what the other comments have said and add this.
In my experience, there are 4 types of people who succeed in the law (honestly, these 4 types do well in other professions too):
Smart People - Smart people who go to good schools who work hard and get really good grades. If you get great grades in high school and get into a top college. Get good grades in college and then you can get into a top law school. Then get good grades in law school, you will be able to get just about whatever job you want. If your goal is to work at a top law firm and make a lot of money, this is the best route. I have worked at an Am Law 200 firm (a popular survey that ranks law firms by different metrics like profits per partner, and overall revenue) and the most highly prized hires there were lawyers with top grades from top law schools (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Michigan, etc., and a lot of them graduated with magna or summa honors). Federal judicial clerkships are also highly prized.
Hustlers - I have many lawyer friends who didn't go to the best schools and didn't get good grades. But what they do have is hustle. They work tirelessly to get clients and they took risks. Some of these guys have made $100 million in the past 10 years because they work really hard at getting clients and doing good work for those clients. Hustlers who have lots of clients usually have their own firms but many have used their many high profile clients to get jobs at top firms (clients = $).
Networkers - Similar to hustlers, networkers work tirelessly to create and maintain their people networks. You never know when the guy or girl you befriended in law school (or college or high school) will have a job at the firm where you want to work or who becomes the general counsel at a company and can send you tons of legal work. From the inside they can help you or give you invaluable information to get the job you want, Networks are also vital for getting good clients. Contacts send you work. Once I had my own firm with just 2 attorneys. That firm failed because I wasn't a good enough hustler and networker to bring in enough paying clients (I had plenty of clients who didn't pay, but that's another story). Hustling and networking are vital skills.
Specialists - I know some lawyers who are not good networkers. But they still succeed. People with a unique specialty/expertise combined with law will usually have no trouble getting a good job (if it's the right specialty). Sometimes other lawyers who are networkers and hustlers ("rainmakers") bring in the clients and specialists do the work. For example, mechanical engineers or biology majors with a law degree are highly sought after by technology companies (pharma companies, medical device makers) and intellectual property law firms (firms specializing in patents and trademarks). Attorneys who have a narrow legal specialty (and who write books and give talks on it) can create a niche that will get clients and work. For example, I know an attorney who specializes in equestrian law (horses). No kidding. That's all she does. She represents horse breeders and race tracks. I know another lawyer who specializes in motorcycle accidents. He only represents motorcycle riders who are injured. That is his niche and he makes a ton of money doing it.
In my work I have hired hundreds of lawyers who did not develop any of these skills (and they are skills that can be learned). I pay them $22 an hour to sit in a room for 8-10 hours a day and review documents. They don't go to court. They don't meet clients. They sit in a room and look at a computer screen. Even associates (new lawyers) at the big firms make more like $125 an hour. I have no idea how the lawyers I hire for $22 an hour can raise a family and pay off their law school loans at that pay level. Make sure you are learning and practicing at least one of the above strategies (all 4 is better). Lawyers who have an MBA (masters in business administration) are also great business lawyers and sought after.
And lastly, as a junior in high school, you have at least 9-10 years before you start practicing (2 years of high school, 4 years of college, 3 years of law school). The legal field is changing very rapidly now. My guess is the practice will look very different in 9 years. The job you have in the law (or in any other field) probably doesn't even exist now. The people who will succeed in that future legal environment (or any job environment) are techies. If I were a junior in high school now, I would start learning everything I could about technology. Learn to code. Go to hackathons and hangout with computer geeks. Write software. Learn about virtual reality. Learn about artificial intelligence. Study computers in college. Those $22 an hour lawyers I hire now are being replaced now by computers and technology. In a few years, I won't need 95% of them. And honestly, a lot of those $125 an hour big firm associates won't be needed either, especially if they don't understand tech.
But above all, find what you love to do. If it's in law, great. If it's not in law then don't become a lawyer. To find out if you love law, get clerking or receptionist jobs at law firms so you can see how they work and what lawyers do. The most important thing for a successful career is finding what you love. The money will follow. Good luck.