Monday, October 18, 2010

Attention new law grads: Six hot practice areas according to National Jurist Magazine

Even in this dismal legal job market, there are certain practice areas that are hot right now according to several experts interviewed by The National Jurist Magazine.  For those still in law school, no ones knows if these practice areas will be as vibrant when you graduate, but if you just got your JD and are looking for a job, consider the following:  

  1. Labor and employment: This area is growing because employees and employers are sorting out differences resulting from . . . defensive corporate maneuvers made during the economic downturn.  Another [hot legal] issue? Discrimination suits by laid-off employees and employers monitoring employees’ use of social media at work.
  2. Bankruptcy/Foreclosure: Even as the recession winds down, these practice areas will still be going strong. The so-called housing bubble created a long-term mess, so experts say the demand will be high for years to come. Foreclosure defense also is emerging as an interesting sidebar to this practice area. Attorneys in Florida, Nevada and across the Midwest, particularly hard-hit states like Michigan, are seeing a surge of business.
  3. Healthcare: [This is an area of] the law [that] is affected by issues such as aging of America, growth of lifecare facilities and changes in employer regulations in light of the new Obama healthcare plan. Legal issues surrounding FDA regulation also is said to be growing. Any area with high popularity densities such as Arizona, Florida and parts of the Midwest are expected to enjoy a rise in the healthcare practice area.
  4. Intellectual property: If there is a positive side to an economic downturn it’s that it often forces individuals and corporations to think differently and creatively often resulting new products, inventions or ideas. Areas like social media and e-commerce also are enjoying a surge. New York and California is seeing strong growth, especially in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  5. Energy/Environmental: Some may argue this practice areas is not as relevant, but [one career counselor] disagrees, especially in light of mega-disasters like the Gulf oil spill. The Obama administration also may make the environment a key issue. . . .  As ‘green’ initiatives continue to accelerate, demand for attorneys with experience in these areas is expected to grow. . . .  [Look for more growth in] Pennsylvania and the Northeast.
  6. Emerging companies: [One law firm consultant] believes there is room to grow in this arena, considering how many new entrepreneurs the nation is seeing. "It is surprising but the number of former big company executives starting new businesses hit a four-year high in 2009 and continues to increase,” [this consultant] said. Boston is a great area for this kind of company, particularly in newly popular areas such as life sciences and pharmaceuticals.

Read the full article here and learn what other advice the experts have for law grads seeking jobs in emerging practice areas.


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