Having a tough time picking a practice area

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Having a tough time picking a practice area

Postby PDX4343 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:36 pm

Hi all,

I'm starting the process of signing up for 2L classes and am struggling to pick a concentration track. I'm interested in both criminal and corporate law. I really need to choose one of these practice areas in the next few weeks so that I can plan accordingly for classes and clinics -- both of which have sign-up deadlines soon.

A little bit about me:
- My grades are likely somewhere below median but above the 75th percentile.
- I'm at a T30 law school that's the best school in its region.
- My school historically places 10 - 15% of its class in big law.
- I'd like to stay in the region after graduation if possible.

I guess I'm worried that if I choose to specialize in corporate law I won't have many job opportunities given my poor grades and my school's weakness in placing graduates in big law positions. If I don't get a big law job and specialize in corporate law, I'm wondering what other jobs would be available to me? Are there any?

If I specialize in criminal law I'm worried about my long-term salary potential. I would probably want to work as a prosecutor or PD first and then transition into private defense work. What would my earning potential look like in that scenario?

I know that ultimately I will have to make the final decision. However, I was hoping to get some advice on how you all made decisions like this and maybe some answers to some of the practical questions I've posed above. Thanks for any help!


Posts: 806
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2015 12:32 am

Re: Having a tough time picking a practice area

Postby sparkytrainer » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:08 pm

Honestly, you can't care about what type of work you are going to do. You are going to have to fight and work your ass off to get ANY legal job. So stop caring about what type of work and get jobs lined up such that you can choose.


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Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:04 am

Re: Having a tough time picking a practice area

Postby ExperssioUnius » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:06 pm

By posting here, you already know that you've got an uphill climb. That said, only having one semester of grades, you are not in the all is lost, take whatever you can get stage yet. Unless you aced contracts and fell flat in your other 1L fall classes, your paths to a career in criminal law are far more promising than corporate law. Realistically, your path to corporate law would be to pull a 3.6 or 3.7 in 1L spring semester so you are competitive for mid-level firms at OCI, sign up for and do well in a bunch of corporate law focused classes, and be flexible about what region of the country you work in. On the criminal side, I think your numbers may let you obtain a 2L summer position in a state AG divisional office or a local or county prosecutor office (not sure how your state divides its prosecutor offices) or some other state governmental office that will allow you to make connections for a career in criminal law. A solid 1L spring and 2L year might also let you obtain a state intermediate appellate court clerkship, which could help you into a career in criminal law.

What do you have lined up for this summer?

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