In her excellent book on major legal practice areas, The Official Guide to Legal Specialities: An Insider's Guide to Every Major Practice Area
(Barbri Group Publishing, 2000) Lisa L. Abrams, Esq. identifies 24 different practice areas. You may or may not agree with how she breaks down the practice-area universe, but to keep it simple, we shall borrow her list and much of her thinking. In the process, we created for you a quick overview of the different types of specialties you might consider entering.
If you seek a more in-depth description of any practice area described here, I recommend you buy Lisa Abrams' book, as she goes into considerably more detail than I do, noting helpful law school courses and outside experience applicable to specific practice areas, and including helpful quotes from lawyers around the country who are practicing in the areas she describes.
The choice of practice area is especially important
for those of you contemplating work in a large firm. Why? Because once you spend a few years, in, say, Tax, that is how you will be identified by the legal community. Changing practice areas gets progressively tougher the longer you practice. Thus, you should think carefully about this at the start. When trying to decide which practice area is best
, you should consider your law school grades, for they are indicative of your natural predilections; but equally or more important, perhaps, is your gut feeling.
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