It can often be difficult to choose between various areas of law to specialise in. This article outlines a few factors that can aid you in arriving at your decision.
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On many occasions, our interest in a particular area of law can be driven by our interest in its subject matter.
For example, science graduates looking to get into law may find intellectual property a natural choice, whereas a languages student may find a euro-centric area of law such as competition law something that you might gravitate towards.
Next, it can be helpful to consider what skills are typically needed in a particular area of law.
An illustration of this point is how public speaking and negotiation are critical in advocacy. Meanwhile, areas such as capital markets, where lawyers are involved in producing a prospectus, do not need public speaking skills as much as the former.
Another way of knowing whether an area of law is suited to you is to try your hand at it. This can be done either through taking that module at university or undertaking work experience.
The clichéd saying of “you never know until you try” applies here. Firsthand experience an often be the best way of telling whether you have a sustained interest in this practice area and wish to pursue it as a part of your career.
Another aspect to consider is whether you are a person who is keen to travel for work or whether you are comfortable remaining within jurisdiction.
For one, legislation and tax are jurisdiction bound and as such you may not find yourself travelling very much for work at all. On the other hand, practice areas such as arbitration or mergers & acquisitions often find lawyers travelling across the globe for hearings and deals.
This is another aspect pertaining to your practice area that can be of concern. In some practice areas, the hours required from you can peak intensely towards the end of a deal or a signing. Moreover, in particular practice areas, these peak periods can be wholly unexpected, such as when a dawn raid occurs.
In contrast, some practice areas such as litigation and arbitration have demarcated and flagged out deadlines, which makes it easier for you to plan your time.