What if your daughter wanted to become a lawyer? In last week’s column, I wrote about tuition and other very substantial law school costs and the crushing law school debts that many lawyers owe after graduating from the school. by right. But assuming you and she can cover the tuition:
1) What are the main types of legal fields in which she wishes to practice?
Among many others, they include, in alphabetical order, art law, business law (which has many subsets, the most commonly practiced of which are contract law and company law); Constitutional law; Criminal law; disability law; labor law; education law; environmental law; family law; estate planning law; health law; intellectual property law (including the law governing patents, trade secrets and copyright); litigation (criminal or civil); and tax law.
2) What talents will she need to be a good lawyer?
a) She should be good at working with people, for example with her clients (including those who are very difficult); with other lawyers (including those who oppose his clients); and with government officials, including civil servants and judges.
b) She should be good at handling and winning arguments and disputes.
c) It should be a quick study.
d) She should be a good writer.
e) She will need to be good at working with abstract legal concepts – learning them, analyzing them, managing them creatively for her clients.
f) She will have to be a hard worker.
3) How can she decide if she will enjoy practicing law?
a) She should do some reading to get a feel for what the law itself and the practice of law really look like. She could start by visiting the Franklin Pierce School of Law at the University of New Hampshire (UNH Law) and, if the UNH Law School Library agrees, read a few paragraphs in the school’s textbooks. law papers available at the library, books with adjudicated cases (such as New Hampshire Supreme Court rulings), and documents filed by attorneys in legal cases. In fact, the law librarians at UNH, whom I have always found remarkably generous with their time and expertise, might be willing to help her access online one or two cases recently filed in Superior Court. from New Hampshire to see what court records look like in real life. But she should be aware that there is a big difference between studying law and practicing law.
b) If a law school near her home allows it, she should attend law classes in one or two areas of law and speak with law students.
c) She should speak with lawyers from various legal fields who she believes might be willing to tell her what they do in their practice and what they like and don’t like about it.
d) She should spend a few hours in the local New Hampshire Superior Court watching the civil and criminal trials.
e) She should speak with attorneys who work in various types of legal organizations – for example, solo lawyers, in small and large law firms, in federal and state government offices, and as as “in-house” lawyers for large companies. This experience may persuade her, for example, that although she may not be comfortable in a large firm, she would appreciate the independence available in solo practice and the creativity allowed and encouraged in this practice.
4) What are the disadvantages of being a lawyer?
a) Bar exams. They are expensive to study and can be difficult to pass.
b) Long working hours. Due to these long hours, many lawyers find it difficult to balance work and family life.
c) Boredom. For many lawyers, much of their work is routine and boring.
d) Constraints. The practice of law for many lawyers is very stressful. Each year, this stress causes many lawyers to quit their legal practice.
e) Low salary. The starting salary for lawyers is generally good. But for many lawyers, long-term pay can be small or poor.
f) Obtain clients. Customers can be difficult to find and competition for customers can be intense.
5) Why could she be happy as a lawyer? Some examples:
a) She is a business lawyer and she creates legal and tax structures for start-up clients that strongly support their success.
b) She is an estate planner and she develops estate plans for her clients who address difficult issues for clients who have health issues or who have been through divorces or who have disabled children or who own property in multiple jurisdictions.
c) She is a litigator, and she wins cases for her clients anyway.
d) She is a public interest lawyer and she protects the rights of tenants, people of color and LGBTQ people.
e) She is an environmental lawyer and helps her clients to develop their city’s regulations on renewable energies.
I’ll end with a joke. The message of the joke – which I’m sure won’t surprise your daughter – is that not everyone likes avocados.
Question: “What do you call 10,000 avocados at the bottom of the sea?”
Answer: “A good start.
(John Cunningham is an attorney for Concord, NH, attorney for McLane Middleton, PA. His practice focuses on LLC trainings, general commercial and tax law, advising clients under IRC Section 199A and the estate planning. His phone number is (603) 856-7172, his email address is [email protected], and the link to his website is www.llc199A.com.)