There are many reasons to specialize in one type of law over the other. From personal values and life experiences to an area of interest, law students choose their practice areas for several reasons. If you're considering attending law school but aren't sure why you'd specialize in human rights over real estate law or labor law over personal injury law, read on for things to consider.
Personal values drive most people to make career decisions. Law is no different. For example, someone who values money might pick the area of law that pays best. Someone else who most values advocacy and giving people a voice might be more like Malliha Wilson and go into human rights administrative law.
There are no right or wrong answers in how a law student picks their area of interest. The same way someone who values religion might choose to start a ministry or a person who's passionate about debate might pick a job as a litigator, considering your personal values and what's most important to you is a great place to start when thinking about the area of law you hope to study.
Individual interests, causes, and areas where you've personally experienced or witnessed injustice might be a great reason to specialize in one area of law over another. Maybe you were raised by gay parents and watched them struggle with discrimination and wait hopefully for the right to gay marriage. Perhaps you're a member of the LGBT-Q plus community or are another minority and have a special interest in inequality and human rights. This would be a great reason to specialize in work in civil rights law.
Maybe your hobby is antique cars. Something as simple as a love for vehicles could draw you to a personal injury practice simply because personal injury lawyers often work with car insurance companies and even the mechanics of cars. Again, there are no wrong answers, but something as uncomplicated as interest could be what pushes an attorney toward their specialty.
If you've ever witnessed blatant injustice, grown up around law enforcement, had a parent incarcerated, or even been accused of a crime yourself, you might use those personal life experiences to find your home in prosecutorial or public defense law. Regardless of whether you decide to work for the state as a prosecutor or the public as someone who helps the accused, you'll be more inclined to do a better job in taking your own life experiences with you to a courtroom.
Some attorneys find happiness in specializing in a field of law based on a cause they're passionate about. A feminist with or without her own #metoo experiences might enjoy work as an attorney for sexual harassment claims or cases of sexual, emotional, or physical assault. The same could apply to anyone who's ever been a victim of crime, and so on.
The type of law you choose to specialize in comes down to your basic belief systems and passions. How much you hope to be in court, overall income, whether you'll be able to make a difference, and your outside lifestyle and interests will play a big part, too. If you aren't sure what type of law you hope to specialize in, take some time to figure out what you stand for. All lawyers have in common that it's their job to represent a person or cause. Believing in your work will make it not only more fulfilling but give you a big leg up when those complicated cases and long hours come.