By Larrisa James • December 12, 2014•Law School
Whilst law schools do not expect you to know which area of law you want to branch into when you sign up for a course, it is a good idea to know about the various options available to you. Educating yourself in this area will help you plan better for your future career, and it will help you to settle on a career choice before you need to make a final decision. Keep reading for a selection of the top sectors of law, as well as detailed information on each area.
1. Civil Litigation
When the economy began to struggle, civil litigation cases increased dramatically as people tried to recoup financial losses, and avoid paying the money that they owed. Usually a dispute between two parties, although it can be more, civil litigation can involve everything from issues between landlords and tenants to personal injury and environmental cases, to the California lemon law. It’s a wide reaching area of law, and is ideal for people who want to experience something new each and every day. Civil litigation lawyers often have to work long hours and travel, especially during the dates of the trial. Their cases may provoke controversy so they need to be able to handle this, especially as some lawsuits drag out for months or years.
With unemployment reaching record levels throughout the country, bankruptcy law is one of the fastest growing sectors in the legal industry. Bankruptcy lawyers represent debtors and creditors in cases that often involve financial distress. It is therefore a good sector to branch into if you can deal with high stress situations under pressure. The timeframe for a typical bankruptcy case is a lot shorter than a civil litigation case, so requires attorneys that are skilled at speaking, writing, and working under pressure. Law firms across the US are currently busier than ever with bankruptcy related cases, and this is set to continue until the economy recovers. It’s a good area to branch into if you are currently studying.
3. Intellectual Property Law
New developments in technology and science have created a need for lawyers with these backgrounds. Intellectual property law is a practice area that aims to help protect creations of the human mind. It encompasses unfair competition, licensing, trade secret law, copyrighting, trademarks, and patents, and is a sector that requires lawyers whether the economy is faring well or not. Intellectual property lawyers are often responsible for sorting out disputes across the globe, and may be required to stand in federal court as well as state courts. They are frequently required to stay up to date with the industry, and advise on new rules and regulations regarding it. Lawyers with technology and/or scientific engineering degrees are especially sought after.
4. Employment Law
Employment law centres around discrimination litigation, including claims relating to unfair dismissal or hiring due to disability, age, race, or sex. It can also involve cases related to pay, the misappropriation of trade secrets, and suits to enforce non-competition agreements. Another area of employment law involves counselling employers on their legal rights regarding employees, which can include everything from the minimum hourly wage, to staff training, workplace harassment, and unemployment compensation, amongst others. Employment law is never dull, and each case will be completely unique. It’s a proactive form of litigation, and an area that is constantly growing.
5. Aviation Law
Aviation law regulates freight shipments and passenger transportation by air. It involves aircraft and facility maintenance, the regulation of routes, taxes and fares, airport security, air traffic control and security, and airway rights. It can also involve air crash litigation, and the investigation into why crashes occur. Aviation law is regulated by the federal government, and because of this, those who work in this industry may be required to travel and work long hours, especially those in the air crash litigation field. People with good organisational skills are well suited to a career in aviation law.
6. Foreclosure Law
When the economy deteriorated, many people found themselves unable to make repayments on their homes, and some experts have estimated that as many as 10,000 homes in the United States are foreclosed every single day. On the defence side, foreclosure professionals help to prevent homes from being taken away from their clients, and on the plaintiff side, professionals help mortgage companies and brokers to reclaim property. The national foreclosure crisis in the United States has created an increased demand for professionals in this industry. Many people who were originally in the real estate and bankruptcy sectors of law have since switched to foreclosure law for the better opportunities.
Every sector of law is different, and the above are just a few of the many areas available. Think about what it is that interests you, and what your skills are, before embarking on a specific path.