7 Tips to Choose the Right Area for Law Specialization

From Admiralty Law to Health Care Law, the possibilities in law specialization seem to be endless. It can, therefore, be difficult to choose a specialization that is most suitable for you. Usually, law students have to take mandatory classes in all legal topics during the first year. In the second and third year, they are allowed to choose the classes they want.  The reason law schools allow students to choose classes in the second and third year is so that they can experiment with different areas of the law.

Most law schools don't expect you to choose a specialization until the second or third year. However, choosing a specialization early is critical to building a successful law career. Still, most law students continue to struggle with their decision about picking a specialization even after taking the bar exam. The following five tips will help you choose your future practice area more decisively.

1. Experiment with Different Areas of Law

In the first year of law school, you will be introduced to the basics of law including civil, constitutional and criminal law, property, and torts. You will also learn about legal procedures, research, and writing. The basics will strengthen your grasp of law.

Second and the third year's present you with the opportunity to experiment with different areas of law. Although you are allowed to choose a specialization, you should select a variety of electives. "Experimenting with different courses can help you to make an informed decision," says Jonathan Rosenfeld who heads the Nursing Home Law Center, a law firm specializing in nursing home abuse law.

2. Figure out What You Like

You need to figure out what you like from a procedural point of view. Usually, law practice involves research, writing, negotiating, advising, and calculating. Depending on your area of practice, you may have to finish a large amount of work at unpredictable times or spread it over fixed working hours. At times, your personality may get precedence over the legal component when selecting a specialization. For instance, if you like research and writing you may want to practice the Intellectual Property Law. On the other hand, if you have excellent public speaking skills, you can try litigation.

3. Follow Your Passion

There is nothing worse than waking up every morning to go the office to do the work you don't even like. Choosing a specialization that you don't like can turn your career into a taxing nuisance. Although it is important to earn money, you are more likely to flourish in a field that you feel passionately about. Your passion will help you fight off any obstacles blocking your career path. It will help you achieve greatness and a sense of fulfillment in your area of expertise.

4. Speak with Attorneys Specializing in Different Areas

Speaking with attorneys specializing in different areas is critical to making a decision. You should ask them how they selected their area of specialization. You can also shadow them for a few days or volunteer to work at their office. Getting to know the daily routine and duties of different specializations will help you to make the right choice. You can also get firsthand experience of procedural and technical know-how of legal aspects.

5. Consider Your Educational Background

Your previous degree or work experience may help you decide on your specialization. Patent law is a highly-specialized area of practice. You have to pass the patent bar exam to become a licensed patent law attorney. The patent bar exam requires the examinee to have a strong technical background. That's why most patent lawyers have undergraduate or even graduate degrees in science or engineering. On the other hand, a law student with an MBA is more likely to practice Corporate Law.

6. Get a Good Summer Internship

A summer internship is the best way to gain valuable work experience in your field. It can help you learn about your area of practice from a real-life perspective. Interning with a law firm will enable you to apply your classroom knowledge to real-life situations. Working for a law firm will provide you with the valuable insight of whether or not your chosen area of specialization is right for you. A summer internship is a great opportunity to develop skills that will help you in future employment opportunities. You can also meet peers with similar interests, which will certainly help your social and professional life.

7. Speak with Your Career Counselor

Most law schools offer in-house career counseling. You should speak with your career counselor about your educational background, work experience, skills, and interests. He/she can help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. A career counselor can also provide valuable support in searching for a job.

Choosing a law specialization is no cakewalk. Luckily, you don't have to do it alone. Career advice from established lawyers, your career counselor, and other reliable resources can help you decide the area of practice that is best suitable for you. Your educational background and previous work experience are also important factors that will influence your choice. Choosing a specific area of practice is a slow process, so take your time and avoid rushing into a half-baked decision.

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