Areas of Law: How to Become a Family Lawyer
Become a family lawyer with TLP’s free guide to family law…
How to Become a Family Lawyer: What is Family Law?
Family law is an area of law that you can study as an elective module at university and an area of law that you can practise professionally as a lawyer. Family law covers a wide range of matters, but a few examples of the areas that a family lawyer might handle legal issues in are:
- Divorce or annulment
- Pre-nuptial agreements
- Domestic violence
- Child custody
- Domestic relationships
In family law, there is a wide variety in the work that is covered. You might deal with the financial side of a settlement of a divorce or annulment, which may require you to handle assets, money and shares. Or you might have to work on a case that defends a child who is a victim of domestic abuse, which requires court proceedings and state intervention. Family lawyers can work on matters that involve a negotiation process and settlement between two parties, or cases that might end in trial at court.
How to Become a Family Lawyer: What Does a Day Look Like for a Family Lawyer?
On a day-to-day basis, a family lawyer might have to:
- Attend meetings with clients;
- Work on any on-going matters, which might involve: researching similar cases to your own, analysing points of law or drafting legal documents, such as witness statements;
- Investigate and evaluate evidence that might be beneficial for your client;
- Negotiate with opposition to attempt to reach a settlement agreement;
- File applications in the Family Court;
- Meet with barristers to discuss a matter that is going to trial;
- Attend hearings in court before a judge or jury.
How to Become a Family Lawyer: Where Could you Practise as a Family Lawyer?
There are a number of highly regarded, successful firms that have leading family law departments. And there will be a team dedicated to these matters. There are a number of large and mid-sized firms that will allow you to sit one of your training seats in their family department, and go on to qualify in that team.
A list of the top UK firms specialising in family law are:
How to Become a Family Lawyer: What Sort of Person Would Suit a Career in Family Law?
A career in family law may require working with both adults and children, so you must be prepared for client facing work. These children and adults may find themselves in distressing situations, and so it is necessary that you will be able to cope in those scenarios. It also helps if you have a passion for helping people, and want to work on handling relationships and interacting with your clients – for example, your work as a family lawyer will vary massively from that of a tax lawyer. It is also important to be able to detach yourself from the client and their problems on a personal level, as you must always stay professional as a lawyer.
How to Become a Family Lawyer: What Work Experience Looks Good for a Career in Family Law?
If you are looking to go into a career in family law, some impressive work experience includes:
- Completing a vacation scheme or formal work experience at a firm that specialises in family law;
- A mini pupillage that allows you to shadow a barrister working on a family law case;
- Marshalling (shadowing) a judge that is sitting on a family law case;
- Entering/winning prizes in family law essay competitions at university, showing your interest in the field;
- Taking part in family pro bono work in a legal clinics.
Written by Amy Cheng.