By Dennis Hung • October 11, 2018•Careers, Law School, Choosing a Career and Landing a Job
When a new lawyer takes their first job after passing the bar exam, they're happy to be working in their profession. The reality is most lawyers don’t stay with their first firm or continue to practice in the same area of law. It could be a challenge to change an area of legal practice, but it can be done. When a lawyer finds an area of the law that makes them feel passion, it could be motivation to make this switch.
It is possible for many attorneys to internalize what the legal culture has given them and never think about what they are feeling when it comes to the area of the law they practice. Some attorneys find themselves repeating culture messages like a moderate pace is for losers and time equals money and more. There may be a time when they acknowledge what they're feeling. Their passion for a particular area of the law could reveal itself from self-examination as well as speaking with individuals they know and trust.
Making The Switch
It is possible a lawyer could be in a firm where their passion is an area the firm practices. Should there be a need, the law firm's partner may agree to a switch. If there is no need, this may not be approved. It is also easier to make the switch if the new area of practice requires similar skills as their previous one. Should someone want to move from doing corporate work to intellectual property, they may have developed the skills necessary to make the switch easier. Should someone work in wills, trusts and estates then want to switch to being a criminal litigator, it may be a challenging move.
One of the most common traits among attorneys who are happy with their career is a sense of gratitude. They are thankful for common things like their law practice as well as their clients, lifestyle and more. Happy attorneys are thankful for the opportunities in personal growth their career offers them. Unpleasant and challenging situations are considered chances to improve. They believe their career is a reflection of what they value most in life.
Control Over Work
Individuals who work on the legal profession know they do not always have perfect control over their work. Attorneys are going to be influenced by the demands of law firm partners, the court, billing cycles and more. Attorneys who have found a way to have more control over their work life have often started a solo practice or a partnership. Others have taken a position with a government agency that provides them with specified hours and job demands that are more constant.
It’s possible for an attorney to find their area of practice too predictable and routine. They may like to argue and feel they want to be a litigator. Some may feel passionate about arguing a point. These are attorneys who love participating in the trial experience and have a strong desire to win. The stress and level of animosity with opposing counsel during a trial is something they thrive on experiencing.
There are many people who are introverted and find the practice of law attractive. This is beneficial for attorneys who practice some areas of the law like trade secret law. They may work with teams of attorney but most of the work will take place in their own office. The need to speak with other team members seldom happens. These are attorneys who are focused on details and comfortable with not engaging with a lot of people on a daily basis.
Type Of Work
When an attorney is in law school or early in their legal career, it is important they try to find what type of work they enjoy doing most. Some people will enjoy planning an oral argument and others will enjoy negotiating deals. Working directly with clients will stir one attorney's passion and another will excel at writing briefs.
There are so many areas of the law an attorney can practice. Everything from real estate law to personal injury law as well as criminal law and more. Each area of practice requires certain skills and personality traits to succeed. When an attorney discovers what area of the law is best suited to their passion, they will have a long and happy career.