The world of law is vast and expansive. If you’re thinking of a legal career, you may already be struggling to find your place in the industry. The first thing to understand is that a typical law degree requires coverage of the full spectrum. So, when you first enroll, you’ll study every single aspect of the law. It will help give you a broad understanding, and give you a sense of where your passion lies. Throughout this period of study, you should find yourself leaning towards one particular discipline.
Today, we’ll go into a bit more detail on each discipline, and help you make that decision. Each area of law provides a different career experience. Each has its unique benefits and weaknesses. Some are more lucrative than others while some provide a stronger sense of civic duty. Whatever your reasons for choosing a law career, you’ll find a wealth of opportunity here. Without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at the options available to you.
Criminal law - When you picture the average lawyer, standing in front of the jury, you’re thinking of a criminal lawyer. There are two types of criminal lawyer, the defense lawyer and the prosecution. The prosecution is responsible for building a case against the accused. They’ll work to convince the jury that all the evidence points to their wrong-doing. The defense lawyer will provide the counter argument, and build a case that defends the accused. Their job is to reduce the sentence, find a plea bargain or convince the jury of their client’s innocent.
Corporate law - If you’re looking for the most lucrative career, then the world of corporate and contract law if your choice. There is big money in business, hence big money in corporate law. Here, you’ll oversee million-dollar contracts and assess the legality of business proposals. Some lawyers in this sector work directly for the big companies, employed on their payroll. Others work on a consultant or freelance basis. It’s a high stress environment, with time spent tweaking every last word in a complex contract. But, the rewards are high!
Family law - Family law is perhaps the most emotionally draining discipline. Family law solicitors act as arbitrators in complex divorces and child custody cases. They craft and hone lengthy divorce settlements. More importantly, they must learn to act appropriately in emotionally-charged situations. You’ll grow your CV in a small law firm, learning the basics, before fully qualifying. If family disputes can’t be settled amicably, then family lawyers do go to court with their cases. However, a family law court is very different to the typical law court. It’s smaller and there is no jury. You’ll need a stiff upper-lip for this one.
Entertainment law - Entertainment lawyers have the enviable job of dealing with the rich and famous. They oversee million-dollar record deals and create water-tight contracts for celebrities. They’re responsible for their client’s best interests and ensure they are reflected in the negotiations. They will also work with the biggest media and entertainment companies to create their business agreements. It’s not all as glamorous as it sounds, but it’s a fascinating area of law.
Environmental law - This area of legal practice has grown significantly over the last ten years. The big issues surrounding global warming and climate change have come to the forefront of public attention. All businesses must now comply to government regulations on emissions and renewable energy use. As such, environmental lawyers are called in to include these aspects on contracts and negotiations. Environmental lawyers also act on behalf of nature to protect valued lands. For example, in the bid to extract oil from the Alaskan tundra, lawyers will work to defend and protect that area.
Personal Injury law - You’ve all seen the adverts on TV for personal injury lawyers. If you’ve tripped or fallen at work, or suffered injury in a car accident, you can claim compensation. These lawyers negotiate the tricky world of insurance and ensure you get the recompense you deserve. It’s another lucrative sector as our compensation culture grows wider and deeper. These lawyers will help calculate the costs involved in an accident, and claim them back.
Wills and probate - Lawyers are required to help distribute a person’s assets after death. A probate lawyer handles the wording of the initial will and deals with the assets. Many lawyers find this a morbid area of work, but there are big fees involved for the richest clients.
Immigration lawyer - Immigration has become a powerful cultural force in most countries. It has powered economic growth and created a culture of acceptance in many parts of the world. However, there are lots of legal issues surrounding immigration. Many migrants enter the country illegally. When they do enter legally, there are strict rules and regulations to comply with. Immigration lawyers make sure migrants comply to those rules. They establish citizenship and oversee migrant employment. It’s a varied and exciting sector of law.
Real estate law - Every house sale is accompanied by a trail of documents, paperwork, and contracts. These contracts tie every buyer into the sale and explain the terms of the deal. Real estate lawyers will also create tenant-landlord contracts and handle foreclosures. The range of income here varies. As you can imagine, the best real estate lawyers deal with the biggest and richest clients. Here, the money gets very steep.
Paralegal - A paralegal is not a qualified lawyer or solicitor, but they do have extensive legal training. So, what does a paralegal do? In many cases, they do all the same work as the solicitors above them. They tend to specialise around the law firm that employs them, but carry out many of the same duties as the lawyers. It is not simply an assistant position; they are fully valued members of the legal team.
DUI lawyer - Finally, DUI lawyers exclusively take on drink driving cases. It is a specialist part of criminal law as there are so many factors involved. DUI lawyers are crucial in explaining the best course of action and reducing the punishment for the accused.
As you can see, there are plenty of varied career options in the world of law. As you study, you’ll find yourself naturally gravitating towards one area. What’s yours?