Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

Switching Practice Areas in the Law: 3 Things to Keep in Mind

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. | Last updated on

In a previous piece, we gave a few pointers for how to escape law as a career. That was meant for those who gave it their best but decided that the honeymoon of law was over.

If you still have some love left for the law, but you're otherwise feeling burnt out, you should consider looking for other practice areas. Fortunately, you're not the only one (nor will you be the last) who has considered a practice change. Take the following points into consideration.

1. Hot Areas

Legal head-hunting service Robert Half Legal threw together a list of the top in-demand fields based on salaries. If you have (or want) experience in the following fields, things are looking good for you: litigation in insurance defense, med-mal, commercial litigation and employment, business law, healthcare law, IP, Property, cybersecurity. You'll notice that all of these lean towards property rights and technical expertise. Bachelors of Science holders and those with technical backgrounds, rejoice.

2. Do you Have the Skills?

Let's assume you're a transactional attorney. This means you probably have experience looking up necessary contract provisions and proofing documents for glaring omissions. But does this mean you can just switch into litigation? Probably not so much. This is why it's so crucial to have a general focus in your first few years, but to also have enough breadth of practice so that you won't be completely type-cast once you try and switch roles.

3. Your Ego: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Although switching practice areas is less drastic a move than switching professions, the law is a profession that is stratified into multiple areas of specialization. If you've been spending years as a bankruptcy attorney and want to make the change to employment litigation, you'll have to accept that you'll be junior to some other attorney.

Of course, a little humility is a good thing, but a lot of lawyers will have a real problem with this, especially if his or her boss might be a number of years younger. Unfortunately, the only real chance of determining who might be your immediate or ultimate superior is to try and find a position at a smaller firm and get to know the people first hand. If you're a real gunner, keep this in mind about your personality. You don't want to start making enemies too soon on the job.

FindLaw has an affiliate relationship with Indeed, earning a small amount of money each time someone uses Indeed's services via FindLaw. FindLaw receives no compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.

Related Resources:

Was this helpful?

Response sent, thank you

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard