It’s common knowledge that a career as a lawyer is lucrative. If you were to interview parents, including yours, and ask them what career path they’d wish their child to follow, an attorney will come up several times. That said, there are several areas of law, and once you learn about them, they’ll quickly leave you wondering, “What lawyer should I be.” In this read, we’ll explore some of your options.
1. Corporate Law
A corporate lawyer may come up when you’re searching “What lawyer should I be.” Also known as a company lawyer, this legal professional counsels businesses on the legal aspects of their business practices. They help with everything from forming businesses, contracts, selling businesses, and mergers to daily operations and representation in court if necessary. So, to be a mergers and acquisitions attorney, you need to study corporate law.
A corporate lawyer works with various corporate entities, including partnerships, alliances, and limited liability companies (LLCs). In this area of law, you can work directly for one business as an employee of that corporation or for law firms with many different corporations as clients. The choice is yours. Your daily responsibilities may vary with the client you represent or the particular case you work on.
However, generally expect to appraise businesses, oversee mergers and acquisitions, negotiate agreements for different parties, help with the legalities of restructuring or selling companies and listing on the stock exchange, and verify finances and accounts for business transactions. You’ll also be tasked with understanding a company’s provisions and constitution, particularly concerning the rights of directors and shareholders. Besides that, you also meet with clients, assesses their needs, and collaborates on strategic day-to-day legal decisions.
The national average base compensation for a corporate lawyer is $130,857 annually, according to Indeed. You must typically complete seven years of formal education and pass several exams to qualify to practice this area of law. The first step is obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
Next, apply to law school, for which you’ll need to pass the LSAT or The Law School Admission Test. After graduating from law school, you must pass the bar exam to legally obtain a license and practice law. From there, you can take a specialist course, like corporate law, in this example. This process applies to most practices.
A legal malpractice lawyer may also practice under corporate law. Sometimes, an attorney may handle a case or business transaction inappropriately, intentionally, or unintentionally. Here, these lawyers can represent the victim to file a case against the said lawyer.
2. Criminal Law
Criminal law, arguably among the most well-known legal disciplines, keeps the justice system running. If you want to work in a contested area of the law while assisting individuals through challenging and complex life situations, your answer to the question “What lawyer should I be” may be a criminal lawyer. These legal professionals deal with everything from minor infractions to white-collar crimes, fraud, and major heinous crimes. They also deal with international relations and numerous jurisdictional laws, particularly in matters like terrorism, cross-border crime, money laundering, and extradition.
In this area of law, you’ll encounter serious social problems like robbery, rape, or murder. You may get employment in both public and private practice. You can serve as a defense attorney for persons charged with crimes in private practice for a criminal law firm. If you pursue public practice, you may work for the Public Defender Service (PDS) or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the public sector.
Criminal defense attorneys often work on the case from start to finish. You’ll be required to perform well under pressure while maintaining meticulous attention to detail. If you decide to pursue a career in this area of law, you must remember that you’ll often interact with dangerous and sometimes intelligent criminals. So, besides having a comprehensive understanding of criminal law, you need to be street-smart and quick on your feet.
You must have excellent communication and bargaining skills and know how to accommodate different personalities. A criminal attorney may frequently represent violent, psychologically ill, drug-dependent, or chronic offenders. That’s why it’s important to put away biases and judgments from the past and approach them with a clinical and objective mindset.
Crime carries a lot of stigma and bad will by its very nature. Thus, a criminal lawyer must exercise complete discretion when dealing with clients. According to Comparably, a criminal lawyer earns an average of $117,137 annually, so at least you know it’s a profitable career path. Under criminal law, you could be a bail bond lawyer. There are plenty of specialty areas.
3. Intellectual Property Law
The legal rights of an individual or business over their creative creations are protected by intellectual property law. Subdivisions of this legal field include patent law governing inventions and discoveries, trademark law relating to brand names and logos, and copyright law, where everything from books and music to movies. The need for technical knowledge means you need a background in science or technology if you choose to pursue this area of law as part of your answer to “What lawyer should I be.”
Those in this field often interact with customers who believe someone has stolen their intellectual property. A client may also consult an intellectual property attorney to verify legal compliance before using another firm’s work. According to Salary.com, the average base salary of a lawyer specializing in this field is $165,086.
4. Immigration Law
Do you find helping people with human rights concerns exciting? Does interacting with individuals from other cultures and nations seem like your cup of tea? Are you interested in business law, family law, entertainment law, education law, civil rights law, compliance, sports, or criminal law? Do you wish to practice transactional law or engage in federal court litigation?
If so, your answer to “What lawyer should I be.” may be immigration law. Why? The foundation this area of law gives you will equip you to represent clients who have immigration issues to address and give you an understanding of how a client’s immigration status may affect them in various seemingly unconnected ways. Immigration attorneys offer guidance on legal rights concerning immigration and provide representation in administrative courts. They make recommendations for the best course of action based on their understanding of immigration law.
Strong interpersonal skills are also necessary in most situations. An immigration lawyer working in an immigration law office may, on any given day, deal with clients who have experienced particularly traumatic events, such as being persecuted, a victim of human trafficking, or being tortured.
5. Injury Law
Being involved in an accident such as an auto body collision that leaves the victim injured, disabled, or dealing with the fallout from defamation not only hurts the victim’s physical and professional well-being but is also incredibly distressing. A personal injury lawyer assists those who have survived such catastrophes in filing claims, negotiating settlements, and, if necessary, litigating their cases in court to obtain the compensation they deserve. It’s one of the most rewarding areas of law because you get to defend accident and injury survivors from having their rights violated by unethical people, businesses, and corporations. The settlement amount helps rebuild the victim’s life and career.
Personal injury law isn’t just a very honorable profession but also well-paying. There’s a constant demand for qualified attorneys knowledgeable about the law, skilled in negotiating, and capable of successfully representing their clients in court as more individuals become aware of their legal rights. According to The Daily Collegian, a personal injury attorney typically earns between $70.00 and $80,000 annually.
Those who work high-end cases and class actions earn up to $300,000 per year, but those just getting started still receive respectable pay. Your salary will increase as you put in more time and gain more experience. If you want to pursue a career as a personal injury attorney after answering the question “What lawyer should I be.”, it’s wise to take up relevant subjects such as advanced tort law, trial advocacy, and civil litigation for your specialization in the second and third year of law school. Apply for internships in personal injury law firms to gain work experience.
6. Estate Planning Law
Estate planning law covers various topics, from trust administration to tax law and probate. Estate planning primarily involves preparing for a client’s future demands and costs. It also entails ensuring clients and their immediate family members are cared for in the event of an injury or future need for long-term care and developing strategies for safeguarding and distributing their wealth after death.
Estate planning law applies to anyone with assets and their loved ones who stand to inherit them. Creating an estate plan is among the most crucial actions a person or family can take to guarantee that their financial and healthcare wishes are respected, even in their absence.
So, as an estate planning attorney, it’s your responsibility to analyze all facets of a family’s estate and how it will be divided after their passing. They then create the ideal estate plan for every client. When making an estate plan, some considerations include the estate’s size, the type of assets and if they hold debts, whether a family is blended, and if a member has special needs. Will lawyers practice in this area of law.
An estate planner must clearly understand a person’s or family’s long-term needs and objectives. It’s common for beneficiaries and later generations to continue using the same lawyer after the trust’s original creator dies. The estate planning lawyer is responsible for providing sound guidance for a generational family estate plan.
According to PayScale, an estate planner earns an average salary of $91,425 in 2023. The pay can increase as you gain more experience and prove yourself in the industry. When searching for “What lawyer should I be” consider pursuing a career in estate law. You’ll earn good pay while helping people ”rest in peace.”
This practice area sometimes interacts with elder law. According to Legaljobs, the demand for elder law attorneys will surely increase with our population’s increased life expectancy. Those who look after elderly parents, spouses, or other loved ones know the challenges they encounter as they age, including health care, housing, and financial security. Despite how frightening these issues may seem, an elder law attorney is knowledgeable and may make living honorably as a senior citizen easier.
Understanding the responsibilities and difficulties associated with a career in this law area is critical if you’re considering pursuing one. A licensed elder law attorney must satisfy various licensure criteria and additional requirements, such as continuous field education and specific experience in these matters. The main reason is to ensure elder law attorneys stay up-to-date with the latest developments and have all it takes to successfully represent older adults’ interests.
As a result of their sensitization to the emotional and physical requirements of elderly or disabled persons, many elder law attorneys can handle a wide range of challenging circumstances. They play a key role in giving older people the tools and assistance they need to live independently and with dignity. If you are passionate about working with older citizens, your search for “What lawyer should I be” may lead you to an elderly lay lawyer.
7. Family Law
If you’re interested in resolving interpersonal issues, searching for ‘”What lawyer should I be” will likely lead you to family law. Lawyers in this field help clients navigate legal matters involving family relationships. This might include everything from adoption and child custody to marriage and divorce counseling.
Family law is a practice area where no two days are the same. You may be asked to draft prenuptial agreements or other legal papers, advise clients on resolving a conflict, or defend clients in court for matters ranging from child custody to property division. Experts in this area frequently work as sole practitioners or for small firms.
Note that this is a potentially very emotionally charged area of law. As a family attorney at law, you’ll often deal with personal and sensitive matters. Plus, clients will range from adults to children. This means you’ll need to know how to communicate effectively with persons of different ages to understand their needs and show compassion and empathy.
You can’t go wrong when pursuing a law career. However, it helps to know which area to specialize in. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself, “What lawyer should I be.”
If you hope to open your own practice in the future, remember that trying to be a master of all will only make you a master none. Your want to be known as a specialist. The ”guy” people turn to when they’re dealing with a certain legal issue. Choose a specific area of law and double down.