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3 Tips for Choosing a Law Specialization

If you want to gain an edge in the job market after law school, you might want to consider having a specialization. Experts say that having concentrations and specializations, while not necessary, can certainly help differentiate you—both as a law student and grad.

“If you have a concentration or specialization, you’ll probably have unique opportunities in law school as well, like being the first to know about related internships, networking events, or speaker panels,” Jessica Tomer, of New England Law in Boston, writes. “You can also look for mentors, student groups, and volunteer opportunities related to your specialty. You might even publish a paper related to your specialty for your school’s law review. It all adds up to more relevant experience for you—and more attention-grabbing, marketable experiences for potential employers.”

Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach and contributor at US News, recently offered tips for prospective law students to consider when determining a specialization.

PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF CLIENTS

When determining a specialization, you’ll want to consider what expertise can help you do your future job. A good way to go about this task is to think through your future clients’ perspective.

“As an art lawyer, you would likely be representing artists, galleries, art buyers or museums,” Kuris says as an example. “Think about the legal questions these different clients would most likely bring to you. Perhaps they might involve subjects like contracts, negotiation, copyright, taxation, trusts and estates, and nonprofit law. Art law touches on all these fields, and they might all prove useful for your career.”

RESEARCH PRACTICAL OPPORTUNTIES

In law school, much of your education will also take place outside of the classroom environment. Thus, Kuris says, it’s important to consider what types of experiences and opportunities a law school provides beyond the textbooks.

“During the law school application process, research your target law schools to make sure they offer practical training opportunities in areas that fit your interests,” Kuris says. “There is no substitute for firsthand experience to help you determine which areas of law fit you best.”

CONDUCT INTERVIEWS

One of the best ways to learn first-hand about your interests is to speak to the people living those interests. Kuris recommends law students to conduct informal interviews with professionals to better understand career paths.

“If you don’t have relevant contacts in your personal network, speak to career services or alumni offices on campus to connect with graduates,” Kuris says. “Reach out politely to ask if you can schedule a brief informational interview to talk about their work and their recommendations for which areas of law would be most useful to study.”

Sources: US News, ABA For Law Students

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