Law: Goals

July 16, 2007

Whenever I say I am going to law school, some variation of the following conversation occurs:

Random Relative/Friend:  So what are you doing now that you have graduated?

Me:  I’m actually starting law school in the Fall.

RR/F:   Oh, where at?

 Me:  Harvard

RR/F:  (Next statement varies) What type of law do you want to practice?

Me:  I haven’t really decided, but I am considering (whatever I am considering at the moment).

RR/F:  Oh, well it will be good to know a lawyer/have a lawyer in the family.

Me:  Smile

I would say about 80% of the conversations I have had with relatives since I graduated have included this exchange.   With that in mind, I want to give you all the best answer I can now, and I will update you as this answer changes.

My dream job would be to try or prepare to try appellate cases in front of various courts, but this is one of the longest longshots available (something akin to saying “i want to be an agent for professional football/baseball/basketball players.”) 

With that in mind, there are three general areas that interest me in the moment:

1.  Litigation:  Yes, I realize that there are tons of people that want to go into litigation and that there is somewhat of a wedge that develops after about 5 years, but litigation is what originally made me interested in the law.  I do not know if I will end up following this path, but I do know that it interests me. 

2.  “Corporate” work.  I don’t know if I will like transactional work, but I do know that there is a lot of corporate work and that all big firms tend to have large corporate departments.  I intend to take a variety of classes that fall under “corporate” law and see if anything interests me.  This is a second path I am considering.

3.  ERISA/Tax:  These are areas I am not sure if I will like, but want to explore because of the career opportunities.  ERISA seems to be an interesting area of law that will be extremely important during my lifetime.  For this reason alone I think it is worth looking into further in the form of taking a few classes.  Similarly, I plan to take at least one, and perhaps several tax classes in order to see if I have any interest in this fairly steady field.   

4:  Tangents I may go off on.   I will likely end up working in one of the three previous areas of law, but there are two other general fields that I would not be shocked to end up practicing in, Telecom and Health Care.  Telecom runs in my family, my mother and father both worked for the phone company for their entire careers and I generally find the regulation around the industry interesting.  Take regulation, mix in some antitrust, throw in some M&A work and you get an interesting area that I would not be suprised to become involved in.  Similarly, Health Care law seems like a developing field, and I plan to take at least one course in the area to see if I find it interesting. 

What I do know is where I want to practice.  I would like to spend my summers in Chicago if at all possible.  As the largest legal city in the Midwest, Chicago seems like the best market in the area I would like to return to.  Although I would not be opposed to spending some portion of my life in D.C., in my ideal world, my career starts and ends in Chicago (with many many many years in between). 

I hope I have answered the question ” what do you want to do” for those of you that are curious.  As I refine my interests, I will further develop this list.


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