How To Find Your Ideal Practice Area
- Research the different types of law practiced in your state.
- Determine what type of law practice you want and research the top schools for this practice area.
- Network with alumni from various schools to get a feel for what it is like to attend each institution.
- Check out the school's placement rates before making an application decision.
- Apply to at least five schools to increase your chances of being accepted into one of the top law schools.
- Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Consider your passions, your life goals, or what you wish to achieve.
- Talk to lawyers who practice in the area that interests you most.
- Ask yourself if this would make you happy for the next 5-10 years.
- Decide whether or not your career will pay off financially (consider things like salary, benefits, bonuses.)
Things To Consider When Choosing a Practice Area
- Consider your current skills and the significant areas in which you are most knowledgeable.
- Consider factors such as cost, location, and program requirements when choosing law schools.
- Consider what kind of work environment you want to be within. Determine if you are the right lawyer for their business.
- Consider whether you are interested in a solo or team environment and what size firm would be best for you.
- Consider the hours, responsibilities, the clients, and other factors that will affect the type of law you want to pursue.
Requirements For Different Practice Areas
Below are examples of legal practice areas available to any legal professional. There are many options for new attorneys, and how you choose your field is up to you. The requirements for several areas are increasingly common for all legal professionals, so take a closer look at your options.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Criminal Defense Attorney?
- To become a criminal defense lawyer, you need specific qualifications. First and foremost is the desire for justice in your heart.
- Secondly, prospective law students must meet a rigorous set of ethical standards, including a Written Bar exam and supervised experience at local courthouses with judges.
- You need to have at least three years of post-degree experience as an assistant district attorney or another prosecutorial capacity.
- You must have passed two sets of bar exams after graduating from law school within ten years.
- Apply through GRE Subject Test Score Guide's website. Applicants may select several subject areas where they excel: Civil Litigation, Constitutional Law/Code Analytics & Statutory Interpretation.
The Requirements to Become a Personal Injury Lawyer
- A law degree from one of the best universities, such as Harvard or Yale.
- Work experience with the legal services of big firms before deciding on whether you want staff attorney roles at smaller practices.
- Handle personal injury cases for a minimum of five years. Injury lawyers must be licensed in the state where they practice law.
Requirements For Being an Immigration Lawyer
- You must know how U.S. Visa's work and compliance on Green Cards that will help with applications all over America.
- Immigration lawyers must have at least three years of previous work experience as assistant district attorneys or in another prosecutorial role, including death penalty cases.
Requirements To Work in Patent Law
Aspiring patent lawyers need to know intellectual property (I.P.) laws. I.P. includes trademarks or copyrights and covers trade secrets that protect company information from competitors seeking strategic advantage with their products.
The following list provides some general requirements for aspiring attorneys interested in working within this field:
- A strong background in science and engineering, especially knowledge of how to apply formulas.
- Strong mathematical skills are beneficial for this career path because they help you apply formulas and work with data.
- You need good attention to detail because the details of each case are what make or break a patent infringement lawsuit.
- Patent lawyers need strong interpersonal skills for interacting with clients, other attorneys, and expert witnesses who specialize in scientific fields related to your cases.
How Do You Become a Family Law Attorney?
A lawyer who has the interest to pursue a legal career in this particular area should consider the following:
- You must first earn your bachelor's degree from a prestigious university like Harvard Law School or Stanford Graduate Studies Program.
- Apply for admittance at any state bar association where positions match what was taught during undergraduate studies (i.e., unrelated fields).
- Earn a Juris Doctor or J.D. degree from an accredited law school.
- Pass the Bar exam in your state with an LSAT score between 75-79. This test evaluates ethical practices, so applicants should check their knowledge by preparing high-quality study materials and resources.
- Work as a lawyer for at least three years before seeking employment at law firms if possible. Should have exposure to issues like divorce, custody, and child support.
- At least five years experience practicing law, preferably under pressure; adeptness negotiating between lawyers from opposing sides during trials.
Requirements of Becoming a Bankruptcy Lawyer
It is said that bankruptcy law attorneys are the most vilified group in America. Yet, they must work hard and get past all these hurdles to be successful at their jobs. Here's what you need for this field:
- The candidate must have a Juris Doctor degree and must be licensed to practice before a federal court of appeal, district courts, and bankruptcy courts.
- Applicants also need two years of post-degree experience, including direct involvement with at least 50 cases.
- You also need a specific number of credit hours with CLE/Lecture courses and pass the exam.
- Candidates must have graduated from an accredited law school for this position, as most state bar associations require.
- For this career, applicants need to possess the appropriate amount of experience in bankruptcy law.
- Before applying for any job requiring certification or registration as a lawyer, all applicants should be licensed by their state bar association.
Examples of Practice Areas for Law Firms
Below are some of the examples of practice areas in the legal industry.
Arbitration Law is a legal process in which two or more parties can settle their disputes out of court. The person who offers the most compelling argument persuades his opponent, so there's no need for an expensive trial and judgment that could put both people at risk from having it recorded on paper (arbitrations).
Aviation Law is a field of law that deals with the operations and safety aspects of aviation. It sets forth the rules that govern aircraft operation and navigation.
Banking and Finance Law
Banking and finance law is a branch of civil, administrative, or commercial litigation that covers the legal issues related to private banks.
Construction law is a field of practice that deals with all aspects of building construction. Contractors, engineers, and architects can find themselves in need if they do not know how contracts work or understand the legal terminology litigators specialize in this area.
Corporate law is the branch of law that deals with business and corporate matters. It can be described as a set of rules governing how companies are structured, operated (including finance), problems between owners/managers, disputes from employees or customers about their rights under the contract. Corporate lawyers can also be involved in how businesses are financed, how they affect the society and environment around them.
Criminal law is a field of study that deals with the legal aspects of crimes which can be defined as an act punishable by law based on the criminal code. Law enforcement agencies, lawyers, and judges are those who work in this area.
Employment law is a set of rules that govern most aspects of working life, from hiring practices to termination. They mainly protect workers' rights and promote good faith in employment transactions between employers, employees, or unions. Employers can hire lawyers to help them comply with these rules.
Environmental law deals with the legal aspects that shape how humans interact and affect their surroundings. It includes all resources from air quality, water use, or even climate change. Environmental lawyers can specialize in how these laws are enforced, how they affect people's lives and livelihoods.
Family Law is an area of law that deals with all aspects related to marriage, divorce, child welfare, and custody agreements.
Human Rights Law
Human Rights Law is one of the practice areas that guards and protects Human Beings' fundamental rights. These include things like the right to life, freedom from slavery, or imprisonment. Human rights are also meant to protect people from discrimination in the workplace, housing, or applying for medical care.
Immigration Law is a specialized field of law that covers all aspects related to immigration. It deals with the acquisition and losses of citizenship, as well as its implementation in any country. It is obtaining legal status in the United States for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. These legal areas are closely related to international law.
Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual property law is the legal system that protects intangible creations, such as ideas or brand names. It covers patents, data security, and copyrights, among other things, not just for inventions but also artistic works like books or songs with their own set of rules about how you can use them without infringing on another person's rights. Information technology lawyers work in this area.
International law is the rules that govern relations between countries and their citizens. The term "transnational law" is a catch-all for all sorts of regulations applied across borders, and it can refer to domestic or international laws.
Labor Law is a set of rules and regulations which outline workers' rights. It protects them from unfair treatment, provides fair compensation for work performed and health care insurance coverage while on the labor market or job site.
Property law is the branch of civil law that governs what things are protected and their ownership. It concerns things like real estate transactions such as buying or selling property and includes any rights an owner may have over their land. Real property, estate planning, and personal property are areas that fall under the umbrella of this area.
Public Sector and Local Government Law
Public sector and local government law are legal study areas that deal with legislation governing governments and public institutions. Government agencies and how they communicate with the public can also fall under this category. Prosecutors and defense attorneys, along with judges, work in this area.
This area of law is the framework for regulating a business to ensure operating within set guidelines.
Sports Law is a field that deals with the legal aspect of sports. It's concerned with everything from contracts and player compensation to intellectual property rights or safety issues on the playing fields. Sports lawyers often work with athletes, coaches, or anyone involved in this high-stakes industry.
Tax Law is typically used in connection with the federal income tax, which regulates and determines how much different types of incomes should be taxed. Tax lawyers can advise individuals or businesses on how to minimize their tax liability through legal means. You can also use tax law in conjunction with national, state, or local taxes.
About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.
With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.
Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.
Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.
One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog, HarrisonBarnes.com, and BCGSearch.com, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.
One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.
Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.
In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.
Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.
In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.
About BCG Attorney Search
BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.
Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays
You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts
You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives
Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.