During your last years of high school and college, you'll be faced with a bunch of big decisions that you have to be prepared to make.

Some individuals know exactly what step is next in their professional career, but for others, the path after high school might sometimes seem blurry and confusing.

Schools are supposed to help students figure out these sorts of things —careers, jobs, and how the following years will look like.

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The justice system works as a guide for attorneys and lawyers to do their work properly. Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash

However, if you feel like your institution isn't of much help because you've decided to pursue a degree in Law school but you're still a little confused as to what specialty to choose, don't worry!

In this article, we've gathered together all your options, from types of law degrees and specializations to the pros and cons of the most popular fields.

Learning about your options can help you make up your mind or consider a field you hadn't considered before. Oftentimes people forget to check all their options and they choose to leap.

However, in these sorts of cases (like when it comes to picking a career path), it is better to have all the information, good or bad.

You need to learn what kind of jobs you are going to get if you'd have to work for a firm, multiple firms, people, or for individual clients, what kinds of skills you'll have to develop, what would your area of expertise be, how much your previous experience can help, and so on.

Picking a career path is not a decision you should take lightly. Continue learning on choosing Law as a career after high school.

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Types of law degrees and specializations

If you want to go into law school you should first learn and read about all your options and every specialization available for law students.

There are 5 types of law degrees, and you can choose depending on the field you're interested in. There's the Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Laws (LLM), Doctor of Judicial Science (SJD), Master of Legal Studies, and Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR).

The JD is the most popular one and it is for anyone who wishes to practice law in a courtroom and be someone's lawyer. You'd be working directly with clients as a freelance attorney or for a lawyers firm.

The LLM is for people who already have a law degree but want to continue exploring other areas of the field. These programs may have more than one type of curriculum depending on the area of specialization the student wants to focus on

The SJD is is for lawyers and attorneys who have earned the JD or LLM and wish to continue their legal education.

The Master of Legal Studies is for students who want knowledge of the law but do not wish to become lawyers. Graduates may work in business, law enforcement, human resources, regulatory agencies, or civil rights advocacy. Finally, the MDR is for any individual who wants to find a job in organizations providing resolution and negotiation skills.

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There are plenty of areas of focus like international law, private property, estate, tax, corporate law, family court, intellectual property, civil rights, health care law, environmental law, and so on. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

On the other hand, below you'll find a list that will include some of the specialties if you want to practice law once you graduate:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Health Care Law
  • First Amendment Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Joint Degree Programs
  • Personal Injury Law
  • Justice Department
  • State Laws
  • International Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Public Services
  • Tax Law
  • Civil Rights

What should I study in high school to become a lawyer?

How to know what's best for you?

There is no special formula that will give you a straight answer to this question.

The best thing to do is try out different specialties and classes and see which one you enjoy best. You can also read different cases, learn about the legal procedures for each field, find a personal tutor to help you, and look for different learning resources.

It is up to you to find which field of law or specialization is the one you're passionate about. The programs, teachers, colleagues, or future lawyers can only guide you, but this is a personal and individual decision.

Your education is in your own hands and no one will be there to walk you through it. You are the one that has to search for real programs, careers, or employment; it is your responsibility.

And, it is your responsibility to figure out your path on your own because no one else but you knows what's best for you!

You can ask for advice from faculty members, colleagues, even your parents, but ultimately, the decisions are up to you because it is your career and your life.

If you're having issues or a hard time making up your mind then the best thing to do is to go read about the subject. Get as much information about your areas of interest, check out future employment opportunities, see if those jobs are things you'd like to do and practice, and carry on with your education.

What USA universities are best for law majors?

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People with real legal issues –like anyone declaring bankruptcy — will need to hire a Bar Certified lawyer or attorney, or even multiple lawyers and attorneys. Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash

Bankruptcy law

Lawyers working in this field of the law will represent clients who are debtors (someone in debt) or creditors (those owed debts). The job of a bankruptcy lawyer is often spent drafting motions and reviewing financial documents. To prepare for this field you should study securities, corporations, tax law, contracts, consumer finance, and bankruptcy law.

National average salary: $46,189 per year

Corporate law

Corporate law is also known as business law and is one of the fields that focuses on the legal issues that affect businesses. This specialization focuses on forming, managing, and dissolving commercial transactions, acquisitions, mergers, and different types of businesses.

National average salary: $68,406 per year

Family and juvenile law

Legal professionals in this field of law focus on the realization of prenuptial agreements, divorce, domestic abuse, child support, adoption, and child welfare proceedings. Family lawyers typically work for small law firms or freelance. To become a family and juvenile lawyer you would have to study child custody, divorce procedures, mediation, and conflict resolution.

National average salary: $62,394 per year

Intellectual property law

Intellectual law concerns someone's or a company's legal rights when it comes to inventions or creative work. There are several subcategories within this branch of the law like patent, trademark, and copyright law. Many patent lawyers have a background in science and technology and are required to pass the Patent Bar Exam.

National average salary: $126,930 per year

Personal injury law

Personal injury law is a field of law designed to protect people who claim were physically or psychologically damaged by an entity (public or private). These lawsuits usually happen when a business or corporation was intentionally harming someone or there exited some sort of negligence from their par.

National average salary: $68,798 per year

Law activities or clubs to join in and out of high school.

It's ok to make a mistake!

The career path you're embarking on can be challenging, long, and overwhelming, especially since there are so many different options.

Many individuals put a lot of pressure on themselves and try to adhere to a strict timeline of goals and accomplishments, and when that doesn't work out they tend to suffer burnout or choose to drop out in the face of failure.

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International law and state law are completely different and it'll be hard to include both in your professional career. Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

However, people who go in knowing the obstacles they'll face are usually the ones to graduate despite any setback they face.

The difference between the two students is that one won't allow themself to be human and imperfect and the other one is prepared for failure and mistakes.

If you work hard but know that failure is probable, you'll embrace your mistake and work hard to correct it, and continue aiming towards your goal.

In many cases, people tend to regret their initial choice of a career path. Imagine you believe that business law is your passion and once you start taking classes you realize you're more passionate about criminal law.

This is very normal and you can lose a little bit of time and have some setbacks but you will be better off changing your specialty than staying in one you don't love just for the fear of failure.

Or, you might think you're only cut off to be a paralegal but later on realize you want to become a lawyer and practice law day-t0-day.

Life is constantly changing and careers are too, so you just have to learn to be adaptable and forget about a time frame and start working for what makes you happy. 

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