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Author Topic: finding your practice area  (Read 3526 times)

xferlawstudent

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finding your practice area
« on: October 09, 2006, 01:40:25 PM »
I am struggling to figure out in which area(s) I want to focus my law practice.  Is anyone else stressed out by this decision?  I liked all my first year classes, but I don't know if there are any that I liked so much I would like to focus on them.  Any advice on how to decide?  Any book reccos on the matter?

Jumboshrimps

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Re: finding your practice area
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2006, 03:02:20 PM »
No need to decide. I just got back from an interview at a big firm. The consenus is that you might want to decide if you're more interested in transactional work or litigation, but beyond that, no need commit to anything.

xferlawstudent

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Re: finding your practice area
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2006, 04:25:49 PM »
No need to decide. I just got back from an interview at a big firm. The consenus is that you might want to decide if you're more interested in transactional work or litigation, but beyond that, no need commit to anything.

I should be more clear.  I do not want to work for a big firm, under any circumstances.  As I've mentioned in other threads, I've done it before law school and its not for me.  So does this change your answer?

jacy85

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Re: finding your practice area
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2006, 04:47:46 PM »
Does your school have clinics or field placements?  If so, you might want to try to take advantage of those to get sense of what you do and don't like.

The only other thing I can really think of to suggest is that you try to look up alum in the area and set up informational meetings.  Offer to buy them coffee, lunch, etc. and try to find out why they chose their practice area, how they feel about it, what they do and don't like, and see if you can get some guidance that way.  And the bonus to this is that you'll make some good network connections.

gibbsale

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Re: finding your practice area
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2006, 04:35:38 AM »
It took me a while to figure it out, and both of my parents are attorneys. I worked as an RA over the summer for a professor who focused on international law, and ultimately it just wasn't my thing. I thought about plaintiffs work in labor and employment, which is what my father practices, but what really piqued my interest in 1L were civil procedure and criminal law. This year, my favorite classes are Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Constitutional Law and Conflicts of Law. I still do international research for my professor and I am on an international law journal, but my immediate focus has definitely shifted to criminal defense. I took a second job at the Fair Housing Commission to explore civil rights work. My resume is all over the place.

 There are plenty of opportunities out there as a 2L to explore. Even apart from electives, Jacy mentioned clinical and field placements. I would also look at positions with the City Attorney, local hospitals, judicial externships, etc.  I like the staff and the work at the Fair Housing Commission, and it gives me insight into that field (which is not exactly crowded).

 On the business side, a friend of mine at another law school is taking a corporate counsel seminar, which is what she wants to do, ultimately. That work is very different from a law firm, and is probably worth exploring if you have any interest.

 In CA, there are continuing legal education requirements and every so often a seminar in a particular practice area is offered up. Students are usually admitted at a discounted rate, or go for free. That is another chance to talk and network with people in a variety of fields.

 Another worthwhile option is a judicial clerkship. Competitive, yes,  but you are exposed to a wide variety of practice areas.

 Finally, the first year classes, to my mind, are not really practice areas, with the possible exception of criminal law. I wouldn't sweat not knowing what area you are interested in after the first year.

 

xferlawstudent

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Re: finding your practice area
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2006, 10:39:42 AM »
I wouldn't sweat not knowing what area you are interested in after the first year. 

I'm a 2L

J D

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Re: finding your practice area
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2006, 10:07:06 PM »
I think everyone knows that; the point is, you only have one year of law school under your belt.  You've been a 2L for, what?  2-3 months?  It's ok not to have a clear idea of practice areas when basically all you have is experience in the basic first-year courses, limited experience so far with maybe 3-4 upper level courses, and whatever you happened to do this past summer (if different in subject matter from the preceding).  Don't worry; there's still plenty of time to invent/discover who you are as a lawyer.
"I never think of the future.  It comes soon enough."--Albert Einstein