The demand for specialized expertise in the legal job market marks one of the biggest shifts in the legal industry. There is a high career potential for skilled talent with practice-area or industry specialization. The opportunities in the legal market now lie in understanding the areas that are growing and will be in high demand in the future and specializing in one of them. Rather than focusing on all areas, a savvy lawyer is one who focuses on one career direction and uses it to reap rewards. As I found out from working here and here, the following are the best career directions to follow in the law industry in the present climate and foreseeable future because they are gaining traction:
Healthcare Law: Significant new opportunities have been created in the healthcare sector and the career settings vary from government agencies and hospitals to health law practice groups that represent pharmaceutical manufacturers, corporations or biotechnology companies. The government may employ lawyers specializing in healthcare law for creating, implementing and enforcing policies. This area of practice can also intersect with contract law, benefits law and civil rights.
Family Law: A high level of knowledge and experience is required if you want to specialize in this area of the law because it has varied issues. You may have to get advanced certifications or clear additional examinations for ensuring competency. Casework included in this branch of the law includes divorce attorney, child custody lawyer, adoption lawyer etc. This career direction requires you to often work in traditional practice settings, educational settings and courts.
E-Discovery: Electronic discovery has now become a $2 billion industry as it is driven by the mass accessibility and storage of electronic data. A decade ago, this career didn’t even exist, but has now become critical in litigation support. E-discovery lawyers are required to collect, identify, review, process, produce and preserve electronically stored information (ESI), which can include social media posts, emails and search history.
Environmental Law: The increase in environmental regulation and growing interest sustainability has opened up plenty of opportunities in this branch of the law. Lawyers are hired for helping companies and corporations in understanding their environmental liability or drafting legislation for an energy policy. They can even work for nongovernmental organizations to advise about litigation against malicious companies. As gas and oil industries grow and externalities like greenhouse gases and climate change create environmental issues, the demand for these lawyers will rise even more.
Elder Law: The population of people who are growing older and living longer is increasing rapidly. It has been predicted that by 2030, nearly 20% of the population is going to be 65 years or older. Due to this shift in demographics, the specialization in elder law is becoming even more necessary. This field of the law plays an important role in protecting and advocating the rights and well-being of older adults, a lot of whom suffer from complicated medical issues. This area of law also has some interaction with family and healthcare law in areas like insurance, medical care, guardianships, trusts etc.