Commitment to practice area — part one

Recently, someone asked for four words that describe what you look for most when hiring either an intern or a first year lawyer.  LegalJob's answer is COMMITMENT TO PRACTICE AREA.  LegalJob has many blog entries on this topic (including the previous post) because it is so important.  It is an important indicator of success in that field even more so than grades and strength of the law school.

Legaljob meets many rising 3Ls that have not yet secured full-time employment after law school because they have not decided what type of law they want to practice.  Many have not focused because they do not know where to start.  Below are some thoughts on how to proceed.  This post will be one of two that addresses this area.

Think about setting

  • To aid your decision, gather some information for each category:
    1. a general description;
    2. salary averages;
    3. average weekly work hours;
    4. potential for advancement;
    5. common credentials/qualifications hirers in the area expect;
    6. pros and cons of the job;
    7. accounts of what job holders do in a typical day; and
    8. job satisfaction levels.

Apply preferences to a particular specialty area of the law.

  • The University of Michigan Law School Office of Career Services has developed a practice area chart to provide an overview of the various legal settings for the top 25 practice areas.
    • Top 25 Practice Areas and Sample Practice Settings, University of Michigan Law School Office of Career Services and the Office of Public Service (June 2010), available at

Image courtesy of