Thursday, March 30, 2017

How Did We End Up Here?

When people find out you're a lawyer, they will inevitably ask what area of law you practice? What do you say? Do you identify a general area of law or your specific niche? What do you say when they ask how you ended up doing that specific area of law? How many of you out there are practicing in the area of law you thought you wanted to practice in during law school? How many of you are stuck practicing in an area of law you would have never imagined? Any luck changing practice areas mid-career?

32 comments:

  1. No one who asks such questions actually cares. When asked about my practice, I usually tell them to mind their own fucking business.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you do insurance defense?

      Delete
    2. Members of the general public have no idea what a practice area is, so they almost never ask that question. Most assume that all lawyers practice all kinds of law and every lawyer practices PI & BK. It always amuses me to find a website of a solo or 2 attorney firm which lists 10 to 20 practice areas:)

      The only thing funnier is to watch a person's face when you tell them you are a lawyer, and then they just walk away as if you are a leper or a member of VIP (Voldemorts in Politics).

      I knew a lawyer in LA who always answered the question "What do you do?" by saying "I break up families for a living."

      Delete
    3. When I did criminal defense, I'd tell them that I put murders and rapists back on the street. That usually would shut them up.

      Delete
    4. I wear out running shoes chasing ambulances.

      Delete
    5. I say I represent the unjustly accused

      Delete
    6. 9:31 wins the internet for the day lol

      Delete
    7. 10:10 is with the Richard Harris office of winners law office.

      Delete
  2. Get those questions all the time. They ask what type of lawyer are you? I say a "good one." They ask what type of law do you practice. I say I don't "practice" I am a lawyer and I am good at it. Once you explain what type of law that you practice (personal injury or whatever) they then start asking a family law question.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or they ask if you can fix their parking tickets.

      Delete
  3. I specialize in sticking it to The Man.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Generally speaking, I represent the man and his interests from the people on billboards."

    ReplyDelete
  5. I usually say businesses suing other businesses, which they probably should've worked out over a steak and a nice bottle of wine.

    ReplyDelete
  6. .."and protect his interests from..."

    ReplyDelete
  7. I appreciate the snark factor but most people who ask me are looking for someone to help with an issue. I try not to come off as the arrogant asshole that some of the posts above indicate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @12:03, what kind of law do you practice?

      Delete
    2. Most of the people I talk to that ask me what area I work in are engaging in small talk, and likely couldn't care less. I do have a life outside the law.

      -Not 12:03.

      Delete
    3. 12:03-- I do business litigation, with a small amount of business contract/transactions. And thank you for asking even if you are not looking for help with an issue.

      Delete
    4. I work for Akerman. Do not admit that I defend the banks for my safety.

      Delete
    5. 1:02, me too! I love giving free advice to friends, family and strangers. I used to love the legal clinics in the old days. You'd sit there and a line of people would form for short consultations. Giving to the common man lifts my heart.

      Delete
  8. "professional pessimist"

    ReplyDelete
  9. I usually say I dabble a bit in bird law, though it is a practice area devoid of governance by reason.

    And then I say that I both sue and defend people being sued. And then I say more stuff....and then, if the questions continue, I'll narrow my eyes and ask "who you people?"

    ReplyDelete
  10. I practice I poke myself in the eye every time I am front of the fabulous Eric Johnson kind of law. Molasses moves faster than that dude, geese.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The best decision I ever made was to develop a specialization on my own time. I make more money because of it and I like my job a whole lot more too. Simply being a "litigator" or "corporate" lawyer isn't specialized enough anymore. So when asked, I'll answer the question with my specialization, but add that I also handle X generally.

    As for changing practice areas, it's hard but still possible. I never thought that I would practice in the area that I do. But I saw a need and an opportunity to learn and I took it. Since there's often little of the type of work you may want to do in your firm, you may need to handle whatever you can to keep the lights on and learn your specialty on your own time. Once you've learned enough to be dangerous, you'll be more comfortable holding yourself out as an expert and then you can go after that type of work. Specialization is definitely where it's at.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @3:05 I completely agree that "Specialization is definitely where it's at." And using your expertise to attract new, quality clients by publishing a great blog as a showcase and as a client retention tool is also "where it's at." Ask Mike Mills, or email me at newclients@aol.com for some blog marketing strategies... I have had the pleasure of publishing his blogs for years.

      Delete
  12. "I make excuses and find fault in others."

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't know why people are embarrassed to just say " As a member of the running dog lackey managerial and professional class, I oppress the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the struggling proletariat on behalf of the imperialist, warmongering, capitalist overlords".

    Great at cocktail parties, left or right.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I preface my answer with "I am NOT an ambulance chaser."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm an ambulance catcher. Chasing without catching just means you're a loser. Sad! I'm a winner. I'm the biggest winner ever in the history of winning.

      Delete
  15. I tell them that I represent the International Association of Hand and Foot Models. That leaves 'em bug eyed. 'Nuff said. (Not Enough Said).

    ReplyDelete
  16. If any prospective law student is reading this: don't do it. The law makes everyone miserable.

    ReplyDelete