Narrowing Down Your Law Specialty

Law is a massive, complex field. To address its complexity, law schools expose students to fundamental topics like contracts and civil procedure, then offer an array of classes in various legal areas.

While your legal education may have familiarized you with various legal topics, its exposure to a wide range of offerings may also have made an already tough decision – where to specialize – even tougher. If you’re narrowing down your legal specialty, ask yourself the following questions:

Which areas of law interest you – or don’t?

Think back over your law school classes. Did you find Contracts more interesting than you expected? Did you sign up for an environmental law class excited to learn more, only to find yourself falling asleep during lectures? Did you buy every hornbook on Taxation out of a desire to know more than your class taught – or because you could barely make yourself learn the basics?

Your affinity for or dislike of certain classes can help guide your exploration of legal specialties. You may already know which areas of law interest you – or which areas you don’t want to practice.

What’s your ideal work environment?

Some people thrive on the energy and busy atmosphere of a large law firm. Others prefer a smaller, more focused feel.

Again, your legal education may prove helpful. When you needed to study for exams, did you head to the bustling center of your law school’s library where you could bounce ideas off fellow students, or a carrel in a secluded corner where you could focus in solitude? Did you prefer lectures with 90 fellow students or seminars with nine? Use this information to help you determine your ideal legal practice environment.

What life do you want to live?

Finally, think about your ideal lifestyle and work-life balance. How do you want your legal practice to fit into the rest of your life? What kind of lifestyle do you want your work to support? What goals do you have outside the practice of law?

These questions can help you decide both where to go and what type of law to practice. For instance, both criminal and patent lawyers may work long, focused hours, but patent lawyers are rarely called upon to assist a client at three in the morning. Think about the lifestyle of which your legal practice will be a part.


Whether you’re dedicated to a particular area of law or need help focusing your options on your skill set, work with the team at Avata Partners today. We’ll help you examine your options and find a legal placement that fits your goals.