When you decide to go to law school, you’re making a bold move. Many famous people from politicians to authors began their careers as lawyers. But one thing might continue to nag at you as you check out the right schools for you: what’s the best field of law?
To be sure, this is a bit of a trick question. There’s no “best field of law” actually because each attorney figures out which is the best field of law for him or her. In other words, your best field of law is the one that’s going to be advantageous to you.
Below are some of the different types of law areas that you might want to practice. Under each title is a bit of a description of what you’ll do when you enter this kind of law. Use this as a bit of a “best field of law” guide or checklist.
As you’re reading through the various kinds of lawyers, ask yourself a few questions. These might include: Which one of these types of lawyers suits me best? Which field makes the most sense based on my natural talents? What type of law could I see myself enjoying for decades?
At the same time, be honest with yourself. Sometimes, the best field of law for you isn’t going to be the one that gets you the most attention or even money. That’s okay. It’s better for you to be happy with your decision than to just try a particular kind of law because it seems like a road to glamour or high profit.
Be sure you’re not swayed by others who try to get you to concentrate in one law area rather than another, either. Just smile and thank people for their advice. Then, go and pick the best field of law for you and your needs.
Family lawyers deal with issues having to do with family matters. For instance, plenty of family attorneys deal with situations related to divorce. Others might help a client to put child up for adoption. As a family law attorney, you may want to get more specific at some point in time, focusing on something a little niche. You could become a custody lawyer, perhaps, and just work with divorcing partners who are trying to figure out appealing custody arrangements that work for both them and their shared children.
How do you know if family law is a good path for you? In general, family law attorneys like divorce lawyers need to be patient and understanding. They’re dealing with people during very stressful times. Clients sometimes get very heated and emotional, even about what may seem like little things. They can also take out their frustrations on their attorneys. Therefore, a family law professional must have a bit of a thick skin. Bad reviews for divorce attorneys aren’t uncommon, and they don’t necessarily reflect poorly on the attorney. Instead, they can be an indication that a client didn’t understand why they couldn’t get what they wanted.
At the end of the day, if you like dealing with family and household matters, family law could be the best field of law. Take a few classes on the subject while you’re in law school, or get a summer law clerk job at a family law firm. You’ll know relatively quickly if it seems like the right fit for you.
A personal injury attorney generally concentrates on helping people who have been hurt due to someone else’s negligence. Someone might have slipped and fallen on a wet grocery store floor, for example. That person may have tried to submit a claim through the grocery store’s insurance provider, only to be denied or offered a settlement that wouldn’t cover the mounting medical bills. Under those circumstances, the injured victim could work with a personal injury attorney to, hopefully, recover damages.
Personal injury attorneys frequently deal with victims of accidents. Again, some attorneys in this law field hone their craft to focus on one basic area. A truck accident attorney may pretty much only handle cases for drivers and passengers who were seriously injured in truck crashes. On the other hand, a car accident lawyer might only want to deal with car-related wrecks, giving truck wrecks to a colleague.
Personal injury isn’t limited to slips, falls, and crashes, either. Medical malpractice can be a big part of personal injury law. Medical malpractice occurs due to negligence by someone in a medical field or healthcare capacity. Sometimes, surgeons leave instruments inside patients, causing terrible pain and long-term damage. Other times, manufacturers may design healthcare-related equipment with defects, which can sometimes lead to patient fatalities or acute illnesses.
About three-quarters of medical malpractice cases settle out of court in America. This means that if you become a personal injury lawyer, you’ll be negotiating for equitable settlements a lot of the time. If this interests you, and you don’t mind working with clients on a contingent fee basis, you could determine that personal injury lawyering is your personal best field of law.
Did you know that sometimes people sue veterinarians and veterinary hospital entities? Plenty of people consider themselves full-time pet parents, and they’re serious about the health of their pets.
If you like the idea of trying to serve up justice on behalf of furry and exotic animals, you’ll feel energized every day that you’re working in this niche type of malpractice field.
Has money always interested you? Do you love talking about finances and checking out the latest tax laws and regulations? You may have considered becoming an accountant. But the lure of being a bankruptcy attorney or tax lawyer could be a more lucrative, exciting use of your time.
As you can guess, bankruptcy attorneys represent clients who either have to file for bankruptcy, have already filed for bankruptcy, or want to consider filing for bankruptcy. These are people without a lot of funds, necessarily. However, they may be able to pay for set legal fees to help them either start bankruptcy proceedings or avoid them with pragmatic planning.
In fact, your goal as a bankruptcy attorney isn’t to necessarily help an individual or couple file for bankruptcy. Your role might be to help them avoid bankruptcy altogether by availing themselves of other solutions. Plenty of people who have lost everything or gotten deep into debt assume that bankruptcy is the only way to go. They’re often very grateful to learn that they may have an alternative option that they didn’t know about.
You’ll need to stay up to date on bankruptcy laws in any states where you practice. If you end up being admitted to more than one state bar after graduating from law school, you’ll need to keep those states’ laws straight. Consequently, bankruptcy and tax lawyering require quite a bit of organization. If you’re not totally organized, make sure you join a firm with paralegals and clerks who can help you keep everything in order.
It can be very gratifying to be a real estate lawyer. Not only do you get to assist people in doing something important, but you can usually make a significant difference in their lives. Let’s face it: People who are buying homes or commercial properties tend to be extremely pleased. This is a terrific time of their lives, and you get to be part of it.
As mentioned, though, real estate law isn’t just about being present at residential closings. You may want to concentrate your practice on just working with businesses. In that case, you’ll be doing a lot of high-priced deals, which puts more of an onus on you to cross all the “Ts.”
Does this seem like the best field of law you could imagine? Do you like the notion of hobnobbing with realtors? Take some time to talk with a real estate lawyer about what happens on a day-to-day basis. You’ll get a well-rounded picture of what you’d experience if you joined the ranks of real estate attorneys.
In the United States, entrepreneurs launch new businesses all the time. Plenty of them turn to business law attorneys to form LLCs and handle key contracts. Unless you specialize in a single type of business or industry, you’ll probably get the chance to work with CEOs and partners from many verticals. One day you could help a client set up his residential roofing services business. The next day you might be assisting someone else in figuring out how to arrange a plumbing service partnership that serves apartment buildings.
It can be helpful as a business law attorney to understand something about creating and building a company. If you have any experience with this, you may be able to add some first-hand advice to your services. Whether or not it’s the best field of law for you remains to be seen. But definitely consider it, especially if you’ve always been fascinated by the world of startups.
If you become an education law expert, you could work for either side. Your ideal client might be the private school down the block, for example. Or it could be parents whose child’s rights were allegedly trampled.
Becoming an education lawyer may necessitate that you understand quite a bit about the local political scene. Public schools are governed partly by elected officials, after all. So you’ll probably want to have some kind of interest in politics, not to mention learning, for this to be the best field of law for your needs.
As a side note, being involved in education law is not the same as becoming a law professor. They’re two different things. You could certainly become a full-time or adjunct professor at a law school in your area, of course, whether or not you actively remain in practice. However, being an education lawyer doesn’t mean that you’re teaching budding lawyers all day in a classroom setting.
Employees can have trouble with their employers. Sometimes, they file workers’ compensation claims only to have them denied. Other times, they’ve been fired and they feel it’s for the wrong reasons. This means you could be a workers comp lawyer one day and a different type of employment law attorney the next.
Truly, employment law can be quite varied. You might have dozens of active cases at any given time, and all of them could be a bit different. Nevertheless, you’ll feel this is the best field of law possible if you enjoy having a buffet instead of the same meal over and over again.
One caveat: Employment law can be very sticky and you may have to interview many clients before one can pay you. People who seek out employment attorneys have frequently lost their jobs or are injured. They may not be able to pay for legal fees, even if they want them. Understanding this upfront is important so you don’t get disheartened when you see a lot of prospects but aren’t able to get them to become clients.
The show “Shark Tank” got audiences excited to go out, dream big, and file lots of patents. Though anyone can file a patent alone, it can be tough. That’s why there are patent lawyers on the market.
As a patent lawyer, you’re going to be doing a lot of paperwork. You’ll file documents after first making sure they’re exactly what the patent office needs. You and your staff may also have to track down patents that haven’t been issued, or uncover why a patent was denied.
You wouldn’t even consider spending years at law school full-time or part-time if you weren’t someone who valued and appreciated the law. Therefore, you’re probably in the right place if you’re starting your law school journey.
The good news is that you aren’t under any obligation to make fast choices in terms of the field or fields of law that will guide your career. Sometimes, lawyers take several different types of courses while they’re in law school and keep their options open for later. As long as you’ve spoken with your advisor and mapped out a game plan that you can live with, you will find the field that works for you.