Career Pathways Guides
At the end of your first year of law school, you should begin to consider which area of the law interests you. The Guides below are designed to provide basic information regarding a few areas of practice, to help you assess whether you might be interested in any of these practice areas and to identify resources and experiences which will help you secure employment in that field. The areas of law covered are:
Before consulting any of these Guides, it is important that you keep in mind certain limitations concerning their use. Please understand that these Guides do not represent every possible field in which lawyers may practice law. Through your studies, you will discover an enormous range of specializations and sub-specializations within the various practices of law and LCS cannot devote a Guide to the universe of all possible practice areas. Understand that the exclusion of a particular practice is no indication that the particular practice is any less important or viable than the included practices. If you are interested in areas of the law not found in the following Guides, arrange to meet with LCS to develop a job search strategy. LCS may be able to provide you with contact information for alumni practicing in theses areas and you should take the opportunity to conduct informational interviews with those alumni to learn more about their practice.
Additionally, the Guides provide insight into the courses, academic experiences, and skills that will be relevant to each particular field of law. There will not be enough time for you to participate in all of these academic experiences and you should not feel compelled to tailor your coursework to the Guides to the exclusion of other subject matters. Indeed, you must consider enrolling in a wide array of courses including those which are designed to prepare you for the state bar examination and to develop requisite professional skills (e.g., client interviewing, negotiation, oral advocacy, etc.). In particular, we cannot overemphasize the need to enroll in courses or to obtain experiences designed to practice and improve your legal writing skills.
Also recognize that successfully transitioning from law school to a professional career requires more than identifying and obtaining the skills and experiences relevant to your chosen practice area. You will be competing for jobs against others whose academic backgrounds are similar to your own. Your success in the job market rests on your ability to effectively communicate your skills and experiences to potential employers in your resume, cover letters and interviews. Law school is the time to learn how to convey to an employer what you have to offer AND how your skill set fits his or her needs. Many law students ignore this step to their disadvantage. Do not be one of them. Your professors, internship supervisors and LCS can show you how to highlight your abilities and talents, and share with you what employers are looking for in first year associates.
Finally, there is no direct linear path to getting a certain type of job. Consequently, you should not use these Guides as a checklist with the expectation that, if all the steps are followed, you will be guaranteed a job in that field. An employer’s decision with regard as to whether or not they will hire a particular candidate is multifaceted and generally not dependent upon the courses listed on your transcript. Notwithstanding, we believe that these Guides will assist you to develop a professional network and qualifications that will make you attractive to legal employers.