Students considering a career in law may envision a life as a trial attorney, divorce lawyer, or corporate counselor – much like the ones they see on TV in their favorite legal procedurals. But there are lawyers working in almost every area of business and government, and therefore a myriad of options for specialized practice. There are lawyers fighting to protect the environment, assisting the elderly, negotiating celebrity contracts, and even regulating the seas.
Tricia Bigelow Attorney reviews a few of the niche specializations in law, exploring unique legal fields and emerging areas of practice.
Choosing a Niche Specialization in Law
The number of pathways to choose from in law can be overwhelming. Students might consider looking inward at what interests and causes excite them. Or take electives during their undergraduate to see if an area of study sparks their interest. Taking supplementary classes in the field of study (biology, economics, education, etc.) in addition to standard law courses may be helpful. Here are just a few examples of some of the more unique legal concentrations available.
Animal lovers could be drawn to this area of practice, which deals with defending animals and the people who oversee them. Lawyers may work for an animal rights organization, defend activists, expose inhumane treatment, or get involved with cases to defend endangered species.
Education lawyers often represent school districts or, alternately, parents and children in conflict with an educational institution. Cases may deal with discipline, educational policy, tuition fraud, or special education accommodations.
Elders are vulnerable to a variety of issues related to healthcare, guardianship, estate planning, employment discrimination, and more. This is where attorneys focusing on elder law come in. These attorneys may work independently or for nonprofits dedicated to protecting the rights of the older population.
If a lawyer loves movies, TV, theatre, music, and pop culture, entertainment law is a fun and rewarding pathway. Attorneys in this area often specialize in certain arenas, such as intellectual property protection for creatives, royalties and rights for films, protections for performers, and more. Staying on top of emerging technology, including the looming threat of AI, is key.
Environmental lawyers can work for the government, advocacy groups, and individuals in cases in using and protecting the land and natural resources. This can be at the local, state, federal, and even international level.
Yes, even the oceans and the seas need attorneys! Maritime law (also called admiralty law) addresses the rules and regulations governing nautical offenses (piracy, etc.) and private maritime businesses.
Students with a head for both economics and law might consider entering the field of securities law, which concerns everything to do with stocks and bonds, including crimes like insider trading and fraud.
No matter what pathway a lawyer takes, they have a high chance of career success as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 10% growth in the career over the next decade. Therefore, it is a thriving field where early career professionals can follow their heart and find professional success.