What fields of law sound like what I want?

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southernnewbie

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What fields of law sound like what I want?

Postby southernnewbie » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:33 pm

I'm trying to decide if law school is right for me. Some aspects of law as a career appeal to me, while others really do not.

Here's what does appeal to me:
1. The opportunity to be an advocate for others in the true sense of the word, working with individuals to help them get through difficult legal processes (adoption and immigration particularly interest me) and representing their best interest
2. The opportunity to learn the complexities and quirks of the law and develop expert knowledge in a certain field of the law that I can use to, again, help people deal with legal issues they're going through or improve society as a whole

Here's what does NOT appeal to me:
1. The high-pressure, competitive, adversarial nature of some fields of law (like corporate litigation)
2. The prospect of representing large entities like corporations or the government when I may not personally approve of their actions

Based on these preferences, I'm wondering what career paths in law (if any) I would find fulfilling, and how realistic they really are in this job market. PI work? A small, family-focused practice? Obviously, I do not want BigLaw. What paths can I take to get the kind of career that would make me happy? For context, I graduated college with a high GPA (3.9+) and have done well on LSAT practice tests (167-170 range), so I think many law schools would be attainable for me without much debt. I'm currently taking a gap year and sort of lost. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

cavalier1138

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Re: What fields of law sound like what I want?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:13 pm

I'd say that you should focus on PI, but I'm hesitant. You noted that you aren't really a fan of the "high-pressure, competitive, adversarial" aspects of law, and if you want to directly advocate for people (especially in PI), you're often going to be in a high-pressure, adversarial environment. That's just the nature of the system.

But if your real hang-up is representing corporations, then no, you don't have to do that. Public defense, NGO work, etc. all involve non-government, non-corporate representation. But I can't guarantee that you'll always approve of your client's actions, so that's another catch.

mcmand

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Re: What fields of law sound like what I want?

Postby mcmand » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:27 pm

Family law and/or immigration.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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arroznueve

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Re: What fields of law sound like what I want?

Postby arroznueve » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:41 pm

Have you tried volunteering or getting a job in the fields of law you mentioned yourself (family law and immigration law)? It would be a good use of your gap year to get some experience.

As mentioned, you won't find any job in law that isn't high pressure. If you care about your clients, everything is high-stakes. Your employer may be "kind," your hours may be good, but at the end of the day, you'll end up putting pressure on yourself to succeed because you don't want to let those you represent down. It's a hard career, no matter what path you go down.

mcmand

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Re: What fields of law sound like what I want?

Postby mcmand » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:26 pm

You need to start talking to lawyers. Being on here is a start but you should meet real live lawyers in your geographic area. If you don't know anyone, Google some firms or organizations that practice what you're interested in and send some cold emails asking to meet for coffee. Google the term "informational interview" to learn how to ask people about their jobs, their likes and dislikes in the job, etc.

You will make a lot of progress figuring out what you want this way, just by meeting different people and learning what their jobs are like. And the networking may pay off in the long term.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PeanutsNJam

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Re: What fields of law sound like what I want?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:44 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:I'd say that you should focus on PI, but I'm hesitant. You noted that you aren't really a fan of the "high-pressure, competitive, adversarial" aspects of law, and if you want to directly advocate for people (especially in PI), you're often going to be in a high-pressure, adversarial environment. That's just the nature of the system.


This. If you're going to be in courts and on your feet arguing for your clients, you will be in high-pressure, competitive, and adversarial environments. Are you planning on representing indigent clients who can't pay? Or are you thinking of handling immigration matters for wealthy foreigners who can pay a lot of money for your services? There are family law firms that handle adoptions, trust and estate issues, etc, but those aren't PI.

Family law is way, way more adversarial than corporate law fyi. Corporate law isn't adversarial at all. You'll never set foot in a courthouse or do any legal research as a corp associate.

southernnewbie

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Re: What fields of law sound like what I want?

Postby southernnewbie » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:23 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:I'd say that you should focus on PI, but I'm hesitant. You noted that you aren't really a fan of the "high-pressure, competitive, adversarial" aspects of law, and if you want to directly advocate for people (especially in PI), you're often going to be in a high-pressure, adversarial environment. That's just the nature of the system.


This. If you're going to be in courts and on your feet arguing for your clients, you will be in high-pressure, competitive, and adversarial environments. Are you planning on representing indigent clients who can't pay? Or are you thinking of handling immigration matters for wealthy foreigners who can pay a lot of money for your services? There are family law firms that handle adoptions, trust and estate issues, etc, but those aren't PI.

Family law is way, way more adversarial than corporate law fyi. Corporate law isn't adversarial at all. You'll never set foot in a courthouse or do any legal research as a corp associate.


True--I guess it's actually not the pressure and conflict per se that turn me off, cause I think I could deal with them given enough time to prepare. I think the distinction for me is more about the scale of the cases and how I can relate to the people involved. I'd rather work on an individual or family's legal problems than deal with some big entity's web of complicated issues in a trial worth millions of dollars. It seems like PI work or family law is what I should aim for.

Anyone have thoughts on what schools I should aim for with those goals? Solid local school vs. t14 (hypothetically)? Thanks for feedback!

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PeanutsNJam

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Re: What fields of law sound like what I want?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:30 am

The answer is always the best school you can get into for free, or close to free. If there are multiple comparable schools, you pick with geographic/fit preferences usually.

With a 3.9 and 167, that's probably lower T14/T20 for free, and that would be fine. If you have even a few more points on the lsat, you're looking at full rides at T14, which is obviously most preferable.

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jingosaur

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Re: What fields of law sound like what I want?

Postby jingosaur » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:16 am

None. Become a social worker or try to get an MPP for free.



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