Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

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laidoffjournalist
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Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby laidoffjournalist » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:57 pm

The one thing I hear and fear about being a lawyer is that you essentially ruin people's days on a regular basis. I mean, it's kind of the essence of a lawsuit is that it begins a dispute between people. As a newspaper reporter, I regularly would question the integrity of people and report on it -- that really was hard for me to do at first, but eventually I became callous enough that shitting all over people in print didn't bother me one bit. But still, I'd like to go into an area of law where I feel relatively less of an asshole than other areas.

For example, I have no interest in criminal law because a) I don't want to defend scum-bags b) feel the burden of making sure scum-bags get punished. I also don't want to do family law because getting involved in people's divorces and custody battles sounds like the most emotionally draining, depressing thing ever. Which areas of law are a little more benign? Personally, I have my eye on education law so I can work for a school district and collect a nice pension. I'm also interested in civil rights law and intellectual property law. Anything related to cyberlaw and communications law would be great too, I think.

Thoughts?

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Helmholtz
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Helmholtz » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:00 pm

Puppy and sunshine law.

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laidoffjournalist
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby laidoffjournalist » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:01 pm

I knew I could count on you to add to the discussion!

Pearalegal
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Pearalegal » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:02 pm

Estates?

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angiej
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby angiej » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:03 pm

A lot of people automatically think of "big mean lawyer" when they think of what lawyers actually do. I spent 3 years working as a legal assistant (before I became a paralegal) for two trust and estate lawyers. Their clients were the nicest people on earth! I even got chocolates from one client who we helped settle his deceased wife's estate. You do have to have a lot of compassion, but the attorneys I worked for were never bombarded with work, never worked on the weekends, and I know for sure one of them felt like he was really helping people either plan their estate or settle a loved one's estate.

I think in-house-counsel work would be nice too, though I have no experience with it.
Last edited by angiej on Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Helmholtz » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:03 pm

laidoffjournalist wrote:I knew I could count on you to add to the discussion!


Patent law maybe? ITE, it's not exactly easy to be picky.

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angiej
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby angiej » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:03 pm

Pearalegal wrote:Estates?


You jumped me to it, we must have been typing at the same time. :lol:

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Helmholtz
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Helmholtz » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:04 pm

Pearalegal wrote:Estates?


Oh, I have seen this area get nasty.

Pearalegal
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Pearalegal » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:05 pm

angiej wrote:
Pearalegal wrote:Estates?


You jumped me to it, we must have been typing at the same time. :lol:


Your answer was much more complete though!

Cane26
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Cane26 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:06 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
laidoffjournalist wrote:I knew I could count on you to add to the discussion!


Patent law maybe? ITE, it's not exactly easy to be picky.


I worked for an IP firm for a summer and we have some extremely confrontational moments during the discovery process of litigation. Also, there are a few patent examiners at the USPTO office who are pretty big assholes and can make for some pretty confrontational moments. Just my two cents.

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laidoffjournalist
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby laidoffjournalist » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:08 pm

Hm, do estate lawyers do well money-wise? OK, I guess I don't want to do something boring and that sounds a little dull. Maybe I do want confrontation... just the most benign kind of confrontation. Sigh. I know they say you have all of law school to figure out what area of law to go into, but I'd kind of like to go to a school that can cater to where I ultimately want to end up.

I sound so clueless... but do they have lawyers right now that solely specialize on the internet? I'd really like to do communication and copyright law as it pertains to the internet. And, as I said, education law. (Hello state pension.)

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Helmholtz
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Helmholtz » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:09 pm

Cane26 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
laidoffjournalist wrote:I knew I could count on you to add to the discussion!


Patent law maybe? ITE, it's not exactly easy to be picky.


I worked for an IP firm for a summer and we have some extremely confrontational moments during the discovery process of litigation. Also, there are a few patent examiners at the USPTO office who are pretty big assholes and can make for some pretty confrontational moments. Just my two cents.


Eh, it doesn't surprise me. Seriously, if you don't want to deal with confrontation or assholes, maybe law isn't the way to go.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Helmholtz » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:10 pm

laidoffjournalist wrote:Hm, do estate lawyers do well money-wise?


From what I understand, there's a huuuuuuge variety of salary levels in estate law, just like any area of law.

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tintin
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby tintin » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:16 pm

alternative dispute resolution?

Anonymous Loser
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Anonymous Loser » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:16 pm

laidoffjournalist wrote: Which areas of law are a little more benign? Personally, I have my eye on education law so I can work for a school district and collect a nice pension. I'm also interested in civil rights law . . . .

Thoughts?


Image
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Helmholtz
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Helmholtz » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:17 pm

tintin wrote:alternative dispute resolution?


I'm assuming this is a joke. I have seen these turn into a real shit show.

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laidoffjournalist
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby laidoffjournalist » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:20 pm

Anonymous Loser wrote:
laidoffjournalist wrote: Which areas of law are a little more benign? Personally, I have my eye on education law so I can work for a school district and collect a nice pension. I'm also interested in civil rights law . . . .

Thoughts?


Image
Image

Well, education law does not tend to get incredibly confrontational, until you run into employment issues. I've covered education exclusively as a newspaper reporter for two years and the worst issues were firing people. Other than that, it seems to be contract negotiations and, in one district I covered, board members suing each other. (I'd have love to been the lawyer for that district. Talk about easy money. All their lawsuits were so petty and useless.)

As for civil rights law, my only thought is it is something I'd be passionate about, particularly gay rights. But honestly, I am thinking I shouldn't go into a field where I feel truly invested. You want to leave work at the office when you go home.

shadowfish
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby shadowfish » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:21 pm

Estates can get nasty. There's a reason those cases make up a significant number of cases in the casebooks.

The corporate lawyers I've talked to say that it's not so bad, since all the parties in the negotiation WANT to be there, unlike in many other areas of law. Still, it sounds like you can work with negotiators who are real jerks when trying to get their terms. I think people in the legal profession are just likely to be jerks :/

I would put my vote in for tax or something like municipal or education law.

ScaredWorkedBored
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:26 pm

Estates can be flesh-eating vicious. Take all the crap of family law and add tremendous amounts of money and/or property that's extremely important to someone's son who hates the new "mom" and thinks she coerced Elder Dad to making a will that left her said property. Gun collection, for example. Son always thought he was getting it, but 28 year-old bottle blonde with 36DD's is now getting "all personal property."

Money + personal hatred is never a good combination. I'd say estates has the potential to get nastier than most other forms of litigation when you are dealing with large blended families, remarriages, etc.

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angiej
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby angiej » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:27 pm

laidoffjournalist wrote:Hm, do estate lawyers do well money-wise? OK, I guess I don't want to do something boring and that sounds a little dull. Maybe I do want confrontation... just the most benign kind of confrontation. Sigh. I know they say you have all of law school to figure out what area of law to go into, but I'd kind of like to go to a school that can cater to where I ultimately want to end up.

I sound so clueless... but do they have lawyers right now that solely specialize on the internet? I'd really like to do communication and copyright law as it pertains to the internet. And, as I said, education law. (Hello state pension.)



I would say trust and estate lawyers make less than litigation, but more than public interest. If I had to guess, in my 15-attorney midwest law firm, I would say they make about 100k a year.

You would possibly have some confrontation if there is a dispute that merits trial, but that is really rare. The estate planning side of it is really just after-life planning, drafting docs, then having clients execute said docs. With estates, you would be working with the court system, but not as "adversarially" as if you were a litigant. Working with the courts on estate issues is really just a formal process. Lots of accounting though (unless you pawn it off to an assistant or paralegal). Basically what did the decedent own and who do we give it to?

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angiej
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby angiej » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:30 pm

shadowfish wrote:Estates can get nasty. There's a reason those cases make up a significant number of cases in the casebooks.
The corporate lawyers I've talked to say that it's not so bad, since all the parties in the negotiation WANT to be there, unlike in many other areas of law. Still, it sounds like you can work with negotiators who are real jerks when trying to get their terms. I think people in the legal profession are just likely to be jerks :/

I would put my vote in for tax or something like municipal or education law.


Almost all states have to be probated formally through the courts, so that is why there are a lot more estate actions on the docket, not necessarily b/c there is more conflict with estates than other areas of the law.

And in our firm, if there is a conflict, its always referred to the litigation attorneys. So one could essentialy work in estates and never litigate.

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laidoffjournalist
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby laidoffjournalist » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:32 pm

Death depresses the shit out of me. I didn't realize that's what you were talking about. In that case, estates is absolutely out of the question. :lol: Thanks for the suggestion anyway!

texaslawyer
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby texaslawyer » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:34 pm

Real Estate closings.

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angiej
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby angiej » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:43 pm

laidoffjournalist wrote:Death depresses the shit out of me. I didn't realize that's what you were talking about. In that case, estates is absolutely out of the question. :lol: Thanks for the suggestion anyway!


Haha! Glad to be of assistance. :lol:

Corporate law? It can get litigat-y but depending on the firm or position your in, even corporate people like to refer to litigation partners when things go south.

Posner
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Re: Least confrontational, assholely area of law?

Postby Posner » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:47 pm

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Last edited by Posner on Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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