Every law student, including those aspiring to study law and even young lawyers, often struggle in deciding what type of law they want to practice. Legal dramas on TV, and law school to a large extent give the impression that criminal law or litigation, and working in a large reputable law firm is the true mark of success.
Ultimately, finding the area of law which you are passionate about and suits your personality makes it all worthwhile.
Consider these 4 questions when deciding what type of law is a perfect fit for you:
1. Do you like public speaking and presenting arguments?
If you can deal with constant conflict on a daily basis and enjoy the experience of speaking in front of an audience, then being a litigator in civil or criminal matters might be a good fit for you. However, if you are a person who generally avoids conflict, then another type of law may be suitable, for example, corporate law. Pay close attention to the subjects that interest you in law school and your daily routine during pupillage.
2. Is a big paycheck your only source of motivation?
Studies suggest that lawyers who aren’t highly paid tend to be happier. If remuneration is an important factor for you, then the area of law you choose to practice may be very different from someone who places meaningful work which impacts society as a priority. Although both approaches have their pros and cons, determining what motivates you is important for a long-standing career in legal practice.
3. Do you enjoy working on your own or in a competitive environment?
The truth about legal practice is that you need to manage expectations and may not have complete control over your work as you are subject to the demands of the court and partners of a law firm.
If you thrive in an environment where you have more control, ultimately starting your own practice is advisable. If you enjoy working in a highly competitive environment, then working in a large law firm and going to court on a frequent basis may be a good fit. Each person thrives in different working environments, so choose the one that works best for you.
4. Do you enjoy interaction with people or prefer paperwork?
If you enjoy going to court or interacting with clients, then the type of law you should practice differs from someone who enjoys being in the office doing legal research and paperwork. Does writing briefs and legal research make you happier? Or does handling clients and fighting battles in court?
Whatever the case may be, make sure you choose something you enjoy doing on a daily basis because being a lawyer means you will be spending a lot of time working!