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What J.D. Hopefuls Should Know About Areas of Law

Ilana Kowarski USNEWS.COM

ANYONE WHO IS UNSURE about whether to attend law school should understand that there are numerous types of lawyers and a variety of ways to practice law.

When people imagine legal career options, the first jobs that typically come to mind are ones that involve public speaking in courtrooms, such as positions as judges and trial lawyers. However, there also law jobs where public speaking is rare and which don't require showing up for court, such as transactional attorney positions that involve negotiating business deals, writing contracts and filling out legal paperwork, lawyers say.

Nathan Peart, a managing director in the associate practice group at the international legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, says it is possible to design a legal career based on what type of person you are.

"Tax law is good for people who like to pay attention to detail," Peart wrote in an email. "If you are passionate about social work, there are firms with strong pro bono/public interest cases or that do human rights law – but this field is hard to get into and balance against advancing your career. ... If you want to follow the money, then it's likely going to be in corporate law."

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