While many lawyers make a good living and have fulfilling careers with only a general knowledge of law, earning a second law degree to specialize in a particular area can help to focus your practice and increase your earning power.
With prestigious law schools like Washington University now offering an online LLM program, it is easier than ever before to develop a specialization without taking time off from your other obligations.
10 Law Careers Worth Considering
Here are 10 specializations to consider:
1. International Law
In today’s increasingly globalized world, trade, political dealings and human rights work all require the services of individuals well versed in international law.
There is no easy predictor of where opportunities for international lawyers will arise, but any area heavily involved in international trade or diplomacy, such as New York, Washington D. C. or Tokyo, is sure to need lawyers proficient in the field.
Earning an LLM can give you a step up on the competition by demonstrating a thorough knowledge of global law.
2. Tax Law
Tax law is a highly specialized field that many lawyers – not to mention ordinary citizens – cannot make head or tail of. With the U.S. population growing and the economy beginning to recover from its recession, a greater number of individual and corporate tax returns are filed each year.
This growth will create the most opportunities in business-friendly states, and an LLM in tax law will help you to take advantage of this demand.
3. Intellectual Property Law
The rise of the Internet, file sharing and, in a broader sense, information technology has led to an enormous number of disputes over intellectual property.
The lack of definitive legislation in this area has created an increasing number of opportunities for lawyers who understand both the technology in question and its legal context – which you can learn by earning an LLM.
Opportunities will be particularly prevalent in areas with growing tech sectors, such as Silicon Valley.
4. Medical Law
With landmark growth occurring in the health care industry and legislative reform changing the legal landscape, opportunities to practice injury law, malpractice law, insurance law, and drug law are all likely to increase rapidly.
Opportunities are also likely to exist in any population center, however, areas with high concentrations of hospitals, pharmaceutical corporations or related laboratories (such as Boston) are your best bet.
5. Business Law
As the economy swings upward again, it brings greater opportunities in the vast field of business law. From starting businesses to selling them and everything in between, lawyers are a necessity of enterprise. Every city needs at least a few business lawyers, but a wealth of opportunities exists in large financial centers like New York.
6. Corporate Law
Corporate law deals with the most minute nuances of big business and, clearly, it is a profitable and growing field. An LLM in Corporate Law will make you a more attractive candidate for positions in the higher echelons of business law.
7. Government Counsel
Just like the private sector, the public sector needs lawyers as well. Washington, D. C. may seem like the obvious go-to area for opportunities with the government, but every state capitol also employs numerous lawyers, as do major cities.
8. Environmental Law
With rapid advances in sustainable energy, impending climate change and the general increase in environmental awareness, this field of law is growing rapidly. An LLM in environmental law will bring you up to speed with this quickly changing arena.
A perk of environmental law are the opportunities in locales not usually associated with other types of law, such as the green tech meccas of Portland and San Francisco.
9. Legal Recruiting
Legal recruiters spend their days finding job openings and qualified lawyers, matching one with the other. If you have already had a successful career in law and enjoy working with people, this may be the perfect position for you.
Growth in the field of law is about average, which means that opportunities will exist in recruitment – although admittedly, there are far fewer headhunters than lawyers out there. Headhunting opportunities tend to exist near the major centers of legal education.
10. Legal Education
As long as lawyers exist, someone will have to educate them. If you have a gift for articulating the law in simple terms or a passion for passing on what you know to the next generation, this could be the line of work for you.
Most legal educators hold a second law degree and/or have significant lawyering experience.
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