A World Of Possibilities: Choosing Your Legal Career Path
Are you considering pursuing a career as a lawyer?
You’re about to make a smart career move, no doubt! Law, while it might have lost some of its prestige and glamor, is still one of the best professions.
There are only about 1.3 million active lawyers in the U.S., just as much as there are medical doctors. There’s a reason the profession isn’t as populated as, say, business.
However, it’s one thing wanting to pursue a legal career and it’s another being a successful lawyer who loves what they do. The key to success lies in finding the right path for you.
In this article, we’re helping you find your path. Read on!
Do You Really Want to Become a Lawyer in the First Place?
Some people choose to become lawyers not because they’re passionate about the law but because it’s a prestigious career. Sure, being called “lawyer” is a big deal, but if you don’t have the passion for the practice, you’ll be shooting yourself in the arm.
A recent survey on lawyer burnout revealed troubling information. 19 percent of those polled were suffering from anxiety. 21 percent are problem drinkers. 28 percent are struggling with depression.
If you’re practicing because of the prestige or the money, there’s a good chance you’ll burn out quickly. The last thing you want is to consider quitting being an attorney after spending close to a decade getting professional training.
This is why it’s super important to establish why you want to become an attorney before starting to take the first steps toward the career. If you don’t have the passion and inner desire to become a lawyer, this probably isn’t the right profession for you.
An easy way to know whether a legal career is a fit for you is to look at your interests. If you often find yourself following congress debates or even watching legal TV shows, you certainly have something for the law.
Getting Through Undergraduate School
You don’t just graduate from high school and jump into law school.
The first step is to go to college and pursue a bachelor’s degree. This is a requirement for joining law school.
Although there’s no specific course you should pursue when you want to become a lawyer, there are programs that will give you the best preparation. For instance, you’ll love pursuing a criminal justice program when you want to pursue a legal career.
Other undergraduate majors that will give you decent preparation include political science, psychology, philosophy, English, and anything else in the arts and humanities.
That being said, if you already know the kind of lawyer you’d like to become, you should then choose an appropriate undergraduate major.
For example, let’s say you want to become a nursing home abuse lawyer (perhaps a loved one was abused in a nursing home and from that time you resolved to become a lawyer and defend those who are being abused in these homes). In this case, you’ll be better off pursuing a nursing program in undergraduate.
You don’t have to go on and become a registered nurse. The nursing knowledge and training you’ll receive in college is, on its own, adequate to set you off on your path to becoming a nursing home abuse attorney.
Joining Law School and Choosing a Legal Specialty
We have already talked about someone who already knows the kind of lawyer they would want to become right from when they’re in undergraduate school. However, such students are the exception, not the rule.
Indeed, most prospective lawyers join law school without a concrete idea of the kind of lawyer they’d like to become. And among those who do, most end up choosing another specialty anyway.
If you pass your LSATs and join law school without an idea of what kind of lawyer you’d want to be, don’t stress yourself. You have the whole of your first and second years to figure it out.
Naturally, you will develop a passion for some areas of the law during the first two years. Maybe something about criminal law will excite you. Or you’ll find business law irresistible.
There are over 10 fields of law to choose from, and finding the right one is absolutely essential.
Again, you’d want to look at your interests. If you enjoy sports, perhaps you’ll enjoy being a sports and entertainment lawyer. If you’re passionate about the environment, environmental law is there for you.
Can you practice in more than one field of law?
Before we answer that, it’s important to note that you could become a general practice lawyer, but that’s not ideal. Clients don’t want to hire general practice lawyers when they’re facing serious legal issues. They want to hire specialists.
It’s also possible to be a specialist in more than one field of law, but it’s not recommended. You risk coming off as a jack of all trades.
If you have to practice in two fields, at least ensure they’re highly related. For example, you can be a corporate and tax lawyer.
Getting Licensed and Getting Ahead
Once you’re done with law school, you have to sit your state’s bar exam and earn your license.
From here, you’re good to practice. Most new lawyers start out by finding employment in other law firms. However, you can also start your own law firm.
Pursue a Successful Legal Career
You have chosen to pursue a legal career. The next step is to start your journey and become a lawyer. After that, your focus is to find success. This guide has the information to help you along the way.
All the best and keep reading our blog for more legal tips.
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