Jump to content
shockinator13

How do you decide which area of law to focus on?

Recommended Posts

Also, when?!

Should I know what I favour before heading into law school, or should I have this relatively figured out before I go? I’m just prepping for the LSAT now but I’ve seen some discussions on law school forums that I should focus my applications on schools that have a focus on which area of law I’d like to work in. Is this true?

And if so...how do I figure this out?! I know money, personal desires and everything all contribute...but is there an explanation of each focus of law?

I know big law makes good money but it’s long hours, hard work, and stress. But other than that...I don’t know much. Is there a lot of opportunity for environmental law? Human rights law? I’m just not sure. 

Any help you can provide is really appreciated! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'll find what you're interested in in school. Failing that, you might work out what kind of area you could tolerate in school.

 

I mean, some people going in have ideas, and they can tailor them to that. For example if your attitude is 'The only meaning of the word 'success' is a corner office in a Calgary skyscraper', you might find University of New Brunswick isn't the best place to start from, what with being about as far away as you can get in Canada. But by and large, any Canadian law school will provide you with the ability to go into any area of law, and the general advice given is to try to attend in the Province you want to work in, which will mean you're learning local law, and meeting local bar members.

 

Random thing to bear in mind with the examples you've given, is that oil companies, chemical firms, miners and dictators tend to have a lot more money than trees, rivers, and refugees. As my environmental prof pointed out, more of the people in that class were likely to be working on what we'd collectively have called 'the wrong side'.

 

Most people find their preferences, or at least some things they're prepared to rule out, after a year or so of law school. Some are lucky enough to go in already having an idea of that. (Likely far more common among mature students, who may have had a specific impetus from experience driving them into school, or just more experience finding the kind of working environment they do/n't like).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, lookingaround said:

For example if your attitude is 'The only meaning of the word 'success' is a corner office in a Calgary skyscraper'...

This is the single saddest sentence I’ve ever read. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But anyway. You have four options.

1. Spend time before law school trying to learn what lawyers in different practice areas really do. Research heavily and decide what life looks best to you - example, try to get in touch with a junior labor side employment lawyer and talk to them for a few hours about what they like and don’t like in their practice; get a sense of their average day. Go into law school with goals, knowing they may well change in the process. 

2. Go to law school and luck into finding areas of law that fascinate you for which practice is equally cool.

3. Go to a large full service firm after the recruit and hope one of their many practice areas clicks for you.

4. Spin the roulette wheel of life and just get the first cool sounding (or, any) job offered.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

But anyway. You have four options.

1. Spend time before law school trying to learn what lawyers in different practice areas really do. Research heavily and decide what life looks best to you - example, try to get in touch with a junior labor side employment lawyer and talk to them for a few hours about what they like and don’t like in their practice; get a sense of their average day. Go into law school with goals, knowing they may well change in the process. 

2. Go to law school and luck into finding areas of law that fascinate you for which practice is equally cool.

3. Go to a large full service firm after the recruit and hope one of their many practice areas clicks for you.

4. Spin the roulette wheel of life and just get the first cool sounding (or, any) job offered.

To be fair,  a lot of students find their calling using a combination of all four options, with number 4 looming large after the first 3 fail to pay dividends.

@shockinator13 ... should you know what you favor before going to law school? Maybe,  but you really don't have to. It may or may not be useful to be honest. It's also perfectly legitimate to go into law school without a set destination, but with an open mind, a fondness for new experiences and open to discovering your niche along the way.

Some students get there by planning for it way ahead of time, I'd reckon most students end up taking whatever path opens up. There's a pragmatism to where we end up that I think is well served by keeping an open mind. I did not think I'd end up where I am right now when I started law school. In fact my current position reads like a delightful betrayal of everything I wrote about in my personal statement. This is more common than you think.

"Human rights law" is a nebulous concept that turns up a lot in admission essays but means less than what it sounds like. And in time you'll see why. It's not like there are a bunch of firms advertising for human rights lawyers. A lot of it is really just charter litigation, which can come up in different fields. Also it's practically unheard of for a young lawyer to be able to specialize in charter litigation out the gate, and there are usually more pressing things like landing a job, and paying bills that take precedent over finding that dream gig.

Anyway, I don't mean to be didactic or bleak. I guess I'm just saying, you're okay for now. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A great many people discover their inclinations, or if nothing else a few things they are set up to preclude. Following a year or so of law school. Some are fortunate enough to go in previously having a thought of that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...