Choosing a Law Specialization: Passion Trumps Pay

When I was in law school, I remember being given very ill-advised advice from friends and family: choose the highest-paying field of law. Sure, the money is good, but where's the passion? I couldn't imagine practicing law and being in a field I chose just for the money.

I'm fueled by passion. I want to help people.

I was drawn towards birth injuries. Maybe I have sympathy for mothers that go through nine months of pregnancy, dream big for their children and then are hit with birth injuries that cause their hearts to sink.

Mothers can also be the ones injured.

The scary truth about childbirth is that if the baby is born healthy, it's seen as a success. But if the mother is injured, "it's part of delivering a baby." Moms often overlook their own injuries during birth, and oftentimes, these mothers don't realize that they've been injured during childbirth.

The focus is put on the baby.

"It is estimated that five out of every 1,000 children born in the US will suffer some type of birth injury," states SGK Lawyers. That's a statistic that is still too high for me.

Proper pre-delivery risk factor planning and identification alone can cut these statistics in half. Preventable birth injuries are what fuel my passion.

I chose the passionate route, and maybe it's because I've had friends that have been in the same shoes as many of the mothers I represent. Maybe seeing the look of defeat on these mothers' faces when they try to explain that "something went wrong." Many of these strong women put the blame on themselves.

Passion fueled my choice to specialize in birth injuries, but was it a personal or compassionate choice? I already mentioned that I have somewhat of a personal tie to birth injuries.

But what about the compassionate aspect?

The Dalai Lama once said "females have more sensitivity about others' wellbeing" when calling for more world leaders to practice compassion.

"In that respect, biologically, females have more potential," he said.

Studies tend to conflict with the Dalai Lama's ideas.

Was I just another statistic? Did I pick my career based on compassion?

It's not likely. I chose to be happy in a career where I could walk into the office every day with excitement. We all have aspirations of joining a law firm, earning the respect of our peers and becoming a top lawyer.

This can change, too.

Career satisfaction isn't always a straight line. Priorities change, life circumstances change, and maybe one day in the future, I will want higher pay or more of a social life. Who knows, maybe I will open my own firm, which sounds exciting, too

Career goals are important, and for me, my career goal was to walk into a job that I didn't hate every day. The birth injuries field fits me well.

My advice? Think long-term. Short-term sacrifices often lead to a better, happier career in the long-term. I could have followed the advice of my friends and family, and chose the "highest paying field."  But I think being happy in my career is far more important.

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