Should I attend a law school that doesn't have my specific concentration?

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Kittykat2199

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Should I attend a law school that doesn't have my specific concentration?

Postby Kittykat2199 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:06 pm

Hi all, first timer over here. I'm currently a junior in undergrad but will be graduating a semester early next December. Just sort of figured out I want to go to law school over the last couple of months. Right now I'm very interested in family law. From what I've looked at there aren't that many higher ranked schools out there that allow you to specialize in that field, at least in the areas of the country that I want to go to law school in (Southeast or Southwest). So I guess my question is, how important is it that the field of law you want to go in is specialized by the school you attend? let's say I went to a top 50 school that didn't specialize in family law, would I have a really tough time getting in job in that type of law, even though I attended a good school? Any input would be awesome, thanks guys.

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BlendedUnicorn

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Re: Should I attend a law school that doesn't have my specific concentration?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:17 pm

My first instinct is to say that nothing could be less important than going to a law school with a given specialty.

However, if you REALLY want to do family law, connections are going to be paramount so probably going to a school in the place you want to work and for cheap is going to be more important than the usual maximize preftige advice TLS generally gives.

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landshoes

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Re: Should I attend a law school that doesn't have my specific concentration?

Postby landshoes » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:24 pm

Where do you have connections?

Law school is not like undergrad, there’s not really anything like a major.

Law schools that tout certificate programs are, for the most part, being disingenuous. The vast majority of schools will allow you to cobble together a reasonable education. Networking, doing externships, and making local connections will do the rest.

Top 50 isn’t really a thing. Barring a few exceptions, the top 20 schools or so (or possibly just the top 13-15) give you notably better opportunities. Other than that, you want to go to a school that is well-respected in the region where you want to practice, and you want to go for cheap or free.

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Mullens

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Re: Should I attend a law school that doesn't have my specific concentration?

Postby Mullens » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:27 pm

I agree that for family law, connections are very important and so it’s a good idea to go to school where you want to work. Having a “specialty” matters less except to the extent it means there are more alumni from that school in family law. Everyone I know who works in family law worked at their firm both during summers and also during the school year, which is why location of School matter so much.

Kittykat2199

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Re: Should I attend a law school that doesn't have my specific concentration?

Postby Kittykat2199 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:49 pm

thanks for the responses. Definitely increases the pool of schools i'm going to apply to.

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pancakes3

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Re: Should I attend a law school that doesn't have my specific concentration?

Postby pancakes3 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:47 am

i do think demonstrated interest in family law is super important to break into the field but it's still a secondary concern when applying to schools. the typical - "best school for the lowest price" advice still prevails. the "make sure you attend a school that will get you to the market you want to practice in" advice and the corollary of "make sure you have sufficient ties to the market you want to practice in" advice are also of greater concern.

additionally, i don't think an actual "concentration" designation matters as much as having a clinic for family law. practitioners don't really care about courses as much as clinic experience and other practical experience.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Should I attend a law school that doesn't have my specific concentration?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:57 am

Yeah, if you can do a clinic and/or work for family law practitioners during school (preferably both), that’s way better than a formal concentration. Family law is such a staple, every law school will be able to provide classes enough to prepare you for the field (to the extent it matters. Experience will matter more).

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kalvano

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Re: Should I attend a law school that doesn't have my specific concentration?

Postby kalvano » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:30 pm

Also, generally speaking, family law is very draining and difficult. You should look to maximize overall employability if and when you realize you don't want to pursue family law.

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notDINGBAT

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Re: Should I attend a law school that doesn't have my specific concentration?

Postby notDINGBAT » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:53 pm

approach some local law firms doing family law and ask to intern for a few months. That way, not only can you see what the work entails and if it's truly something you want to do, but you also start to build a network.

In my opinion/experience from people I know, it takes a very distinct personality to go the distance in family law. It can be the most miserable practice - clients care less about winning and more about making the other side lose. You can do everything right, achieve the impossible, and still piss off your client. You're getting into the most miserable family squabbles, and see a lot of wrecked families, all kinds of abuses, lies, schemes, you name it. And generally, for not a lot of money.
After a few years of that, it can really get you down, and most attorneys are desperate to get out. But some people are able to brush it off at the end of the day, and they actually do quite well in the field, and are quite happy to keep going. Try it before you pick a law school based on that specialty



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