By Anonymous • January 23, 2018•Law School, Choosing a Career and Landing a Job
Family law sounds like a great field. I thought I could help other women get through their divorce, change lives for the better and enjoy a thriving career. I went into law school with the naive notion that family law was all rainbows and butterflies.
And it's a great field to be in, don't get me wrong. I just wish I had sat down with someone that had experience in family law and understood what I was getting myself into.
I can't go back in time, but I can try and help others that are interested in the field know what they're up against to align expectations with reality.
Family Law is Huge, There's a Lot to Learn
I was a good student, and I left law school with a great education and GPA, but I didn't know it all. I don't think anyone knows it all. Judges, opposing counsel – no one knows it all. Learn from those around you and leverage these relationships to your advantage,
You can learn from:
- Opposing counsel
Experience and knowledge are important, but they're only learned through time and experience. Don't get down if you don't feel like your fancy education taught you everything there is to know; experience is the true teacher in the legal world.
Every case has something to teach you, so be prepared for a life of learning and expanding your knowledge.
Start with a Specialty. Don't Be a Jack of All Trades
Family law is a huge field. You can specialize in certain areas of law and expand. I don’t recommend dabbling in everything during your first few years in the law field. Specialize in areas that really interest you.
If you don't like bankruptcy, you can choose child custody, divorce, child support, adoption and a slew of other areas.
Dabbling in everything will not benefit you. Choose one or two areas that really interest you and focus on them during your initial years in family law. A jack of all trades is a master of none.
Who knows, you may even decide to leave law and choose an alternative career path. But before you forget about all of those years spent studying and taking exams, sit down and choose a specialty that you really enjoy.
You'll be more passionate about your cases, learning about the specialty and winning cases.
Settling is Not Something to Be Afraid of Doing
You have a duty to do what's best for your client. Sometimes, doing what's best for your client means settling a case. Family law is a little different than other areas of law where pushing a case through trial means that a relationship may be broken.
Families will still have relationships in many cases, so settling may be the best way to put an end to the conflict.
When working on settlements, you'll often come across creative solutions that the family may have not otherwise figured out on their own. Settlements, especially in divorce, are often financially better for the client and helps both parties.
If it's in the best interest of your client, discuss the potential to settle the case instead of dragging it into a trial.