Specialization is often the last thing law students think about during their years of preparation and study. Getting into a law school and studying for exams often takes precedence over other things like future plans. However, choosing a specialization early is an important part of finding success in your legal career. Here is a short guide to choosing a specialization and how to know where you’ll fit in best.
Learn About the Choices
There are so many law specializations, from criminal defense, to tax law to international law. It will be difficult to determine which specialty is right for you without experimenting a bit. Take the time to learn about the specialties that interest you. Contact lawyers within those specialties and ask questions, even shadow them for a few days or volunteer in their offices. Find a local law firm who will let you watch a few of their court cases. Getting to know the day to day duties of different legal specialties will help you to narrow down vast choices to just the ones right for you.
Try Diverse Electives
When you choose elective courses in your first two years of law school, choose a diverse range. This will allow you to learn about different specialties in an academic setting before your third year, when many students actively pursue a specialty. If you are not yet in law school, take a few undergrad electives related to different types of law. Not only will this help you when it comes time to choose a specialty, it will make you a better candidate for law school.
Follow Your Passions
Many law students are tempted to choose a specialization based on finances or logistical issues alone. While it is important to be able to pay off your student loans, enjoying your lifelong career is also vital. You will probably excel more in a career that makes you feel passionate and inspired, which can partially or completely make up for an income gap. Any attorney representing assault victims will tell you they wouldn’t do their job if it wasn’t important to them personally. Many lawyers works long hours and spends much of their life developing their career, so it is important to feel that passion and love for your field.
It can be difficult to move from one law specialty to another, so choosing well the first time is very important. However, if you get to know a wide range of specialties in both academic and real world settings, you will get a good feeling for which one is perfect for you.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information about specialization in law school talk to a Defense Attorney. You can contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.