the question

The Question is almost certain to come up when we visit with people we haven’t seen for awhile. It’s not what I would call a dreaded question, but it’s one that almost always make me take pause because I don’t know how to answer it just yet.

“What kind of law do you want to practice?”

It’s not a simple question to answer. I’ve always been interested in criminal law. Children’s rights appeals to me, which basically means I am interested in juvenile law and family law. I really enjoyed my torts class, but I’m not sure I would want to be a civil litigator or personal injury attorney. Tax law intimidates me. I’m interested in learning more about probate and estate planning, but I’m not entirely sure it’s something I would want to deal with every day. I think elder law is an up-and-coming area that will be very important in the future. Constitutional law draws me because there’s so much history involved. Then again, maybe I want to be a lobbyist or legislator.

It’s funny, people expect you to have a cut-and-dry answer. Something solid and decisive because you’ve been in school now for quite some time. I don’t have that, and really I’m perfectly okay with it. I don’t need to know what I want to do yet. Besides, I could change my mind after taking a class down the road or working in a clinic or internship or working on a case at my summer job.

I suppose what my answer should be is “I’m really not sure yet, but whatever it is I’ll do my best to be great.” Because that’s the most truthful thing I could possibly say in reply to such a question.


8 thoughts on “the question

  1. Oh my goodness…that’s exactly how I feel! Seriously, world, stop trying to make me know everything years in advance!

  2. Exactly! I think it’s hard for people to understand that law school isn’t like undergrad – you don’t just focus on one subject. You wouldn’t really be a very well-rounded lawyer if you did! I like the fact that my options are open.

  3. You could also just say, “whatever kind of law I end up practicing,” because that is the way it turns out for most lawyers. Or “whatever kind of law hires me when I graduate”. These are both more accurate answers, I have found.

  4. That’s true, Mariska. I’m hoping that I have a little more control over it than that, but I know that I most likely will take work where I can.

  5. The dirty little secret, however, is that the question of “what type of law do you want to practice” is wholly irrelevant, for the most part, to the real world.

    When you graduate, you will need a job. Getting that job is like getting on a train. It’s going to go somewhere. Sure, you might be able to get off, but getting off may just dump you in the middle of no where.

    Most lawyers never chose the field they are in. And for the most part, whatever you imagine the practice of law to be like is completely in error anyway. You end up practicing the type of law you end up practicing, not what you want to practice.

    Ten years from now your graduating law school class will look back at this question and laugh. Nobody will be doing the law they “wanted to do”. About 1/2 of them will be sorry they’re doing anything in the law at all.

  6. Thank you for your point of view, Yeoman.

    It’s probably naive of me to hold on to the notion that I have some control over my career. But I still do. Time will certainly tell whether I will be working in an area that interests me, or whether I will take a job just so that I have one.

  7. Pingback: » Blog Archive » 100 Blog Posts You Should Read Before Going to Law School

  8. Pingback: 100 Blog Posts You Should Read Before Going to Law School -

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