"Do you recommend specializing for success? Do you have recommendations for identifying an area of specialty? Should one week leap away from general areas of moderate success and take the risk of moving to something more enjoyable or something that would be a good niche, even if it's might not be so enjoyable? How should competition a level of sophistication of research and you considering specializing decisions?"
The first thing that I would recommend is you always want to specialize in something you're interested in. It should be something where you actually get stimulated for it. The best types of jobs are when you're excited to start work in the morning and excited to learn more and to study it and where you like it and where you like finding different things.
For some people, that's patent law. For other people, that's tax. For some people, that's even real estate; for other people that's corporate law. It should be something that you get the charge on it. It should also be something where you can see yourself being very good at it. For me personally, I saw that I can be good at litigation, but I think I would have made a horrible corporate attorney. People do things for the wrong reasons. A lot of times people will become corporate attorneys because they think they're interested in business, but they might be very interested in writing and coming up with arguments and so forth. It's very important that you specialize in something interesting to you.
In terms of specialties, people that do well in transactional disciplines, like real estate, corporate, finance, patent law, tend to gravitate towards math and science. That just means that that part of their brain that specializes in numbers and things is more dominant. People that do well in things like labor and employment litigation, things that involve writing, tend to be more the opposite side of the brain dominated. Typically you're going to be a little bit better off in things that you gravitate towards. Most people are more interested in math than they are in reading or more interested in reading than they're math, and people just have these kinds of natural inclinations.
Those inclinations many times run in families, the way your parents talked and thought. I know someone that's extremely good at chemistry, and so are his kids, and they're just off the charts, good at chemistry. It's a way of thinking. He probably communicates verbal ideas and thinking in a way that to his kids, it makes them good at it too. The point is that people that think in a certain way are typically better off in different disciplines. You need to go into an area where you believe you're going to do well, something that gets you excited and charged up. The other thing is you should take a risk and move towards something more enjoyable. Most attorneys will specialize within whatever they're doing. When I was in law school, this partner came from Shearman & Sterling. He was interviewing the attorneys at our school. He said he made partner at Shearman & Sterling because he was very good at doing something like securitizing credit card debt, meaning companies had all this credit card stuff on their books. He would take it and sell it to another company that would service it.
He would get the companies an infusion of cash. He had the specialty, and he was the only person that knew how to do it. That was the only reason he made a partner in this big firm. If you become a specialist in something, you'll be much better off. You should do something that's enjoyable, but where there's less competition. Right now there's this whole big thing of data privacy being a big practice area,where law firms can't hold onto data privacy people because they're being recruited away to in-house jobs, where the pay starts at a quarter- million dollars a year.
You should go into things that are interesting to you. That would be how I would recommend doing that in making your specialization decisions and just becoming fired up about something. When you're fired up about something, it's much easier to write and talk about it, and then clients will remember you for that.