Loyola University Chicago

Career Services

School of Law

Ten Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Choosing A Practice Area

The legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa has developed a really useful presentation called “Ten Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Choosing A Practice Area.”  The presentation suggests some areas of law to look into, based on your answers to the following questions:

  • What do you like to deal with? People, Things, Ideas or Money/Business?
    • People: Employment, Entertainment, Executive Compensation, Family, Immigration, Trusts & Estates, White Collar Criminal
    • Things: Asset Finance, Environmental, IP Prosecution, Oil/Gas Energy Practice, Project Finance, Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Land Use, Real Estate Transactional
    • Ideas: Administrative, Antitrust, Appellate, ERISA, IP Licensing, Litigation, New Energy/"Clean Tech", Tax
    • Money/Business: Antitrust, Bankruptcy, Corporate, Healthcare, Insurance Coverage & Defense, International Trade, Securities Litigation
  • Do you want to create or enable?
    • Create: Appellate, Bankruptcy, Litigation, Outsourcing, White Collar Criminal
    • Enable: 40 Act, Corporate, ERISA Counseling, Executive Compensation, IP Licensing, Real Estate Transactional, Tax
  • Do you mind facing moral conundrums in your practice?
    • Yes: Administrative, Corporate, Entertainment, Executive Compensation, IP, Real Estate Transactional, Tax
    • No: Appellate, Employment, Environmental, Family, Healthcare, Insurance Coverage & Defense, Product Liability, Project Finance, Trusts & Estates, White Collar Criminal
  • Do you want to be the expert or a generalist?
    • Expert: Bankruptcy, Corporate, Employment, ERISA, Executive Compensation, Family, Immigration, Patent Litigation, Patent Prosecution, Tax, Trusts & Estates
    • Generalist: Corporate, General Litigation
  • Do you prefer to analyze gray areas or have concrete answers?
    • Gray Areas: Family, Land Use, Litigation, Trusts & Estates
    • Concrete Answers: 40 Act, Administrative, Code-Based Practices, Executive Compensation, Regulatory, Securities, Tax
  • Who do you want to help and how?
    • Help plaintiffs in class action matters
    • Help corporations to grow (corporate, asset & corporate finance)
    • Help corporations protect themselves (corporate, litigation, employment)
    • Help distressed clients (family, immigration, litigation, white collar criminal, bankruptcy)
  • Do you mind dealing with emotionally charged situations?
    • Emotionally Charged Practices: Class Action Litigation, Employment, Family, Insurance Defense, Trusts & Estates, White Collar Criminal
  • What relationship do you want to have with your clients?
    • Trusted Advisor: Appellate, Employment, Family, Insurance Defense, Litigation, White Collar Crime
    • Part of the Team: Corporate, Executive Compensation, IP Licensing/Patent, Project Finance, Real Estate Transactional, Tax, Trusts & Estates
  • Are you comfortable with an adversarial practice?
    • Direct Conflict: Corporate (Regulation), Bankruptcy, Litigation, Employment
    • Direct Negotiation: Corporate, Finance, Compliance/Regulatory, IP, Outsourcing
  • How important is a predictable schedule?
    • Important: 40 Act, Appellate, ERISA, Executive Compensation, IP Prosecution, Land Use, Tax, Trusts & Estates
    • Not Important: Bankruptcy, Corporate (esp. M&A), Cross Border Transactional, Litigation, White Collar Criminal

Next Step: Information Gathering