Before you start law school, it’s a good idea to have a game plan. Between studying, moot court, law journals, and part-time jobs, it’s easy to let three years fly by without adequately planning for your future career. Taking time to research legal specialties now will give you an edge when planning courses and applying for clerkships. Here are 8 legal fields you may want to consider.
1. Tax law: The IRS code is well over 1,000 pages and growing. Individuals and businesses need expert legal advice to assist with tax planning and address taxation issues as they come up. Tax lawyers should be well-versed in the Internal Revenue Code, state and local tax codes, Tax Court decisions, and administrative rulings. Since tax issues intersect with many other aspects of the law, tax lawyers have opportunities to work on a variety of issues.
2. Education lawyers: Education lawyers work with school districts and parents to resolve issues at the federal, state, and district levels. Some education lawyers work as general counsel for school districts and provide general representation in all pertinent areas of education law. These lawyers may also be involved in the legislative process. Other education lawyers focus on special education law, or represent families in student discipline matters.
3. Family law: Family lawyers are always in high demand. A family lawyer works on issues involving family relationships, like adoption and divorce. Most family lawyers work in small firms or are solo practitioners.
4. Immigration law: Immigration to the United States is at all-time high. Most immigration lawyers work with families to secure and maintain legal status, or apply for citizenship. Some immigration attorneys may represent undocumented immigrants in deportation proceedings. Immigration law is a complex and growing area that can provide many opportunities for specialization.
5. Real estate law: Real Estate attorneys may concentrate on transactional work, or they may prefer to focus their energies on litigation. Real estate attorneys assist with all aspects of owning and transferring real property. This can include real estate transactions, land use and development, and landlord/tenant disputes.
6. Criminal law: Like family lawyers, criminal attorneys are always needed. Criminal lawyers can focus on prosecuting crimes, or they may choose to defend individuals who have been accused of a crime. Criminal attorneys are litigators and should expect to spend much of their time in court at various pre-trial hearings and trying cases before juries. Criminal defense attorneys may be employed by private firms, or they can provide defense to the indigent as Public Defenders.
7. Civil Rights law: Some of the greatest attorneys of the 20th century practiced in the area of civil rights law. If you have a passion for social justice and a strong understanding of constitutional law, this may be the right field for you. Civil rights attorneys primarily practice in non-profit law firms or work for the government.
8. Environmental law: This growing area needs lawyers who are passionate about the environment and possess the skills to navigate a complex and changing regulatory framework. Environmental law attorneys may focus on issues ranging from land use to toxic torts.
These are just a few of the many legal specializations available. Take some time to research potential legal fields before starting law school. If you know where you want to go, getting there is easy.