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Author Topic: I need some perspective. Please help.  (Read 2017 times)

jack24

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I need some perspective. Please help.
« on: July 15, 2008, 02:41:28 PM »
So I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I don't really know that much about the legal field.  I start 1L this August.
I thought I knew a lot, but I don't.  My mom works for a law firm so I've shadowed and worked with about 10 different attorneys.  I know what they do on a daily basis and I'm really excited to start my legal career, but I don't really know anything about the different specialties.  I know that I'm really interested in law school, and working as a lawyer, but people ask me what kind of law I want to practice and I really don't have any idea yet.

Can anybody give me a job outlook on some of the specialties?

Do most lawyers work in "corporate law"?
What is the highest risk/reward specialty?
What is the lowest risk/reward specialty?
Are there any sure bets? 
How much of an accounting background do I really need to be a tax lawyer?
Will I be able to do any IP law with a business background?

jack24

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Re: I need some perspective. Please help.
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2008, 02:47:47 PM »
Thanks.
That's what I've been hearing from the law school and my friends that are already in Law School.
I'm partially just looking for confirmation.

sheltron5000

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Re: I need some perspective. Please help.
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2008, 05:26:15 PM »
The only real limit seems to be in IP law. To practice Patent law you need to be licensed by the Patent Office and they require science experience, which usually means at least a bachelors in a hard science.

Other than that it all seems to be fair game, but there is some debate about whether specializing is a good thing. Basically, if you don't absolutely know for a fact that you want to practice X specialty, then don't worry about it.
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Re: I need some perspective. Please help.
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2008, 05:44:17 PM »
Very, very few people have any idea what they want to practice before going to law school. Of those that do about half change their mind once they are there. Those that don't have known since before law school what they wanted to practice, if you were of them you would you would already know by now.

Don't worry about it, don't worry if you don't even know by 3L. What people end up practicing is very often not decided in school, but by what position they have open at the firm that hires you, then you become a "Y type" lawyer based on that.

For many, many students, especially those who get a job from OCI, what type of lawyer you end up being is what type of practice area the firm has open, you might have some choice, but not a ton. Its likely that unless you are one of the types who always wanted to practice Y so thatís why they went to law school, your first offer is going to decide more what type of lawyer you end up being than much else.
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AspenLizzy

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Re: I need some perspective. Please help.
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2008, 09:06:21 PM »
IP litigation requires no scientific experience.  Also, remember IP is a lot of stuff, not just patents.  Generally patent law requires specialized knowledge.  The best advice is to go in to 1L with you head down and kick ass.  Figure out the rest later.

likeitmatters

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Re: I need some perspective. Please help.
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2008, 12:21:53 AM »
yeah, i'm with you.  i'm starting my 1st year in august too, and i'm super excited.  but i have no idea what specialty i'm going for or anything like that.  i just know that i want to be in the legal field. 

ppl that i've spoken to have told me that you really decide what your focus is going to be while you are in school, not really before you go.  Besides, how could we possibly pick what kind of law we want to focus on when we haven't really been exposed to all the possibilities yet?

so don't worry, you're not alone!  good luck!

nealric

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Re: I need some perspective. Please help.
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2008, 12:34:14 PM »
Quote

Do most lawyers work in "corporate law"?
What is the highest risk/reward specialty?
What is the lowest risk/reward specialty?
Are there any sure bets?
How much of an accounting background do I really need to be a tax lawyer?
Will I be able to do any IP law with a business background?
 

1. No, unless you have a very expansive definition of the term. However, a large percentage of lawyers in large law firms work in what could properly be called corporate law.
2. Probably large class action plaintiffs litigation. Ludicrous payoffs if you win, but the potential to sink a ton of time/money into losing cases.
3. Criminal (prosecutor), most likely. Stable government job that is not that hard to get in most localities (with a few exceptions). There may be good psychic rewards if that's the type of thing that moves you.
4. Of course not.
5. None, if you are talking about before law school.
6. Soft IP yes, Hard IP (that requires the patent bar), no.
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Talk Is Cheap

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Re: I need some perspective. Please help.
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2008, 08:28:32 PM »
I have a question, Mr. Hutz, do you still have any of those smoking monkey dolls available if I hire you as my attorney?

nealric

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Re: I need some perspective. Please help.
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2008, 06:16:18 PM »
Quote
Mr. Hutz, do you still have any of those smoking monkey dolls available if I hire you as my attorney?
 

Yes, yes I do. I also offer low cost child care.
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Re: I need some perspective. Please help.
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2008, 06:26:32 PM »
As a PI (negligence/torts) lawyer, I can tell you that the classes do not teach you much about whether you'll like a specialty. Then again, I enjoyed torts and trial ad, so badabing, PI litigation lawyer.

Actually, Mathias is right, you'll work where you find a position to pay school loans. After a bit of practice, you'll learn if you like the specialty and your co-workers (maybe just as important as the work).
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