Summary: Are you safe in your practice area in the long run? Find out how legal practice areas react to a changing economy in this article.

Is your practice area safe from self-destruction?
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

Every practice area will—at some point in time—self-destruct and become “dead” for a length of time. This generally occurs once every eight years or so.

The practice area could be dead anywhere from a few years to many years. It could die due to economic forces, geographic forces, the seniority of the partners who practice in that area, or other forces within a given firm. But the bottom line is that if an attorney practices law for any length of time, the attorney’s practice area will be hit. Generally speaking, no attorney is safe from this phenomenon.

Have you experienced the death of a practice area before? What happened?

Attorneys assume they are safe when things are busy, but then things inevitably slow down. I know of countless attorneys who diligently worked numerous 3,000+ hour years in a row, but then when the inevitable slow-down occurred they lost their jobs.