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Firm size: From solo to BigLaw

A lot of attention in the mainstream media (and popular culture) gets focused on lawyers working in large firms (often referred to as “BigLaw”).  But only about 10% of law grads—roughly 4,000 out of the 40,000 who graduated law school in 2015—enter jobs in the very large law firms (those with 500...

Criteria for choosing a law school

What you’re looking for in a law school depends largely on your career goals—why do you want to be a lawyer in the first place?  But it also depends on a number of other personal factors, including geographic preferences, intellectual interests, and desired learning environment.  The...

Deciding where to attend

The law schools have made their decisions; now it’s up to you to decide which offer of admission to accept. How do you decide between the prestigious school that offered you no scholarship, and the somewhat less prestigious one that offered you a free ride?  Or between the...

Is law school a good investment?

Given the long term financial ramifications, it is imperative that you ask yourself this question. There is no universal answer—only you can decide whether, given a number of factors, law school represents a good investment for you. Among the factors to consider are the following: Why do you want...

What legal careers are available?

Presumably, you’re thinking about law school because some aspect of the law interests you. But there are so many different types of law – different fields (or “practice areas”), different types of law office (“practice settings”) – that it’s sometimes hard to get a handle on what your options might...

Networking

What is networking?  In essence, it’s being friendly with a purpose.  If that sounds crass to you, then, to be blunt, you might want to rethink a career that is based largely on building and maintaining strategic professional relationships. Lawyers can’t adequately represent their clients or...

Legal fields and practice areas

A field or “practice area” of law refers to legal practice relevant to a particular type of law, or, more commonly, a particular industry or business.  Most law relates to business, with a handful of exceptions.  The largest exception is criminal law – the body of law relating to...

Resources for researching legal careers

There are a number of published resources for finding out more about different legal careers—so many that it would be impossible to list them all.  But here are a few that we’ve found especially helpful: Online resources NALP: The National Association of Legal Career Professionals NALP is...

Transactional practice vs. litigation

Some lawyers help bring people together, other help break them apart – that’s the best way to describe the difference between these two largest classes of lawyers.  Transactional practice involves researching, preparing and reviewing the documents that bring individuals and companies together: from contracts for large corporate mergers and...

Private practice vs. public service/public interest

Another distinction among lawyers is between those who work in private firms and/or for companies, and those who work for government or in non-profit work.  The first type is generally referred to as “private practice” while the second is called “public interest” (or, occasionally, “public service”).  Attorneys...

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