Law has always been one of the most lucrative professions, and for those who successfully apply to law school, there is plenty of money to be made as well as an enjoyable career that they can be proud of.
Traditionally, those who wish to practice law have had to enroll in on-campus classes. This isn’t always the most convenient option. Many have had to live far from home or endure long commutes several times a week to attend lessons, and in-person classes tend to be expensive.
Law in today’s world
Today, anyone who meets the requirements can enroll in a juris doctorate degree online. The course offered by Cleveland State University, for example, covers topics like torts, legislation and regulation in state agencies, constitutional law, and evidence. Students learn how laws are made and implemented, justifications for the regulations we have today, the functions of the judiciary system, the separation of powers, and the legal structure of the modern state. They also learn the theories of civil liability, causation and defenses, the allocation of duties for judges and juries, and evidentiary law that guides trials.
Most colleges that offer this course ask that applicants have a bachelor’s degree, an LCAS, a good GRE or LSAT score, a personal statement, and one or two letters of recommendation. Applicants are also asked to show a résumé that highlights their education and work experience.
Because these degrees are offered online, they are perfect for working professionals as they can work and learn at the same time. If you do your course part-time, you can finish it in as little as three and a half years and be ready to go into law practice as soon as you pass the bar.
One of the questions most commonly asked by those considering an online juris doctorate is whether it is just as good as in-person learning. Does one get the same quality of learning as they would if they enrolled in face-to-face courses? The answer is yes; the degree that you get learning online is just as good as the one you would get if you opted to study on campus. However, you must choose an accredited law school that has a high-quality faculty and is well-recognized in the legal world. The other thing students want to know is the various specializations that are available to them and what they can hope to do after they finish their courses.
Common law specializations that lead to lucrative careers
Also called personal injury law, this specialization deals with disputes that arise when one is injured by another either intentionally or unintentionally. Most personal injury lawsuits are solved using mediation, where the two parties decide to settle out of court, or through civil litigation, where the standard of evidence is lower than in a criminal case.
The types of injuries that fall under this type of law differ, and it is the job of the attorney to examine the particulars of each case and determine what type of injury was incurred by their client and the best way to seek redress. Some injuries are intentional, where someone does something on purpose to injure another. In many cases, injuries occur unintentionally due to negligence or, in some cases, are simply accidents. The job of the attorney is to evaluate the facts and determine whether their client has a case and if they do, they advise on the best course of action.
One of the most common examples of personal injuries that can be litigated is slips and falls. If someone slips and falls and suffers injuries as a result, they can hold the owner of the property responsible.
The attorney decides, after looking at the facts, whether the cause of the fall was intentional, accidental, or due to negligence. They advise their client on how much they should sue for, often a higher amount because they anticipate that the defendant will make a good effort to argue the amount down.
If you choose to specialize in injury law, there are many avenues for employment after your course. You will become a personal injury lawyer, and you can open a firm or be employed by a bigger firm that does this type of law so that you get some experience.
It is important to mention that for those who get good at this branch of law, there is plenty of money to be made — especially if they choose to specialize in big cases with potential payouts in the millions. Class action suits are a good example of just how much money can be made from personal injury law.
This specialization of law deals with conduct that is deemed harmful or dangerous to society. If society determines that certain acts are crimes, anyone who is arrested for committing a crime is taken through a criminal trial, and they can be punished through fines, probation, community service, or confinement in prison.
Some criminal defendants are also sent to medical institutions if it is determined that they are suffering from a mental deficiency that makes it difficult for them to process or understand their actions.
If someone is found to have committed a crime, they need to call a criminal lawyer right away. When they are arrested they are informed of their Miranda rights, and one of those rights is to a lawyer. If they cannot afford one, the criminal justice system appoints a public defender to represent their interests.
Criminal law is a rather lucrative branch of law as there is no shortage of people who have been arrested for crimes in America. If you choose to pursue this specialization, you can expect to work in a law firm that handles criminal cases, or you can open a firm and source clients.
Most lawyers charge a retainer to their clients, and they also append any costs they may incur in preparing the case, such as getting independent testing done or hiring experts to testify on behalf of the defendant.
This type of law deals with the rules, regulations, and court procedures that affect the family unit. Family strife isn’t uncommon, and divorce statistics attest to just how often Americans need to hire family lawyers.
Family law covers many areas and may include marriage and divorce law, child custody, adoption law, domestic partnerships (including same-sex marriage), emancipation of minors, paternity, child support, cohabitation, and domestic violence. It also covers parental rights and responsibilities, foster care and surrogacy, child abuse, and many other issues that affect the family unit.
It is a lucrative branch of law for anyone who opts to pursue it because family lawyers have no shortage of clients. There are always families that need legal representation for one reason or another. Students of family law can choose to focus on just one area or they can specialize in any of the categories named above.
Some opt to practice under the wide umbrella of family law which allows them to take on many different types of cases. They can do divorce law, specialize in children’s matters, custodial issues, adoption, domestic violence, or any other area they choose.
Business and commercial law
This is a broad area of the law that deals with the sale and distribution of goods and the financing of transactions. A lawyer can choose to exclusively handle commercial law or business law, but if they have expertise in one area, it usually follows that they have expertise in the other. Business law falls into two categories: state and federal. Federal law deals with stocks and investments, employment laws, workplace safety, and environmental protection.
States can add their own statutes to the federal legislation and even pass their own laws as they see fit. These usually have to do with licensing requirements, rules of business formation, and other business areas that require state legislation.
Commercial law deals directly with the sale and lease of goods, negotiable instruments, and secured transactions. This area of law is regulated by the Uniform Commercial Code, but because states modify laws to fit their needs, lawyers need to be familiar with the statutes wherever they practice.
If you choose to focus on business and commercial law, you can get a job as a commercial lawyer in a company or you can establish a practice and develop clients. In case you’re wondering whether business and commercial law are lucrative, lawyers are paid rather well because they often handle matters concerning large amounts of money.
This is a type of law that deals with patients and medical practitioners, and it is very similar to personal injury law. The difference, however, is that it is focused specifically on patients who suffer medical malpractice and doctors who are unjustly accused.
Also called medical malpractice law, it is usually applied when medical practitioners are negligent and cause harm to a patient. If, for example, a doctor performs the wrong surgery on a patient, or doesn’t follow the correct procedure during surgery, he can be sued by the patient. It extends to matters like wrongly issued prescriptions and poorly managed births.
This sort of law is highly lucrative for those who choose it because it usually deals with lawsuits upward of a million dollars. Most lawyers who practice it are employed by law firms or have their own firms.
It is, however, not easy to do medical malpractice lawsuits. Evidence gathering alone can be an uphill task, and getting professionals to testify against other professionals is sometimes difficult. However, for those who are willing to venture into medical malpractice, it can be a rewarding career.
This is a branch of law that deals with companies and corporations. Because a company or corporation is a legal entity, it follows that it can be sued separately from its owners or shareholders. America is no stranger to corporations breaking the law. Many create defective products that they sell to the public or offer services that fall short of their promise.
When these companies are sued, they turn to corporate lawyers to defend them, and it can be very good business for the lawyers. These lawsuits often run into the tens of millions of dollars so lawyers are well-compensated for their work. Corporate lawyers are also called upon when businesses encounter problems with employment law, employee safety, employee compensation, employment contracts, and intellectual property.
If, for example, an employee is injured in the course of duty, they will seek compensation from the company. Often, these cases are straightforward, and they can be handled by the human resources department. Sometimes, however, they are disputed, and the employee may ask for compensation that the employer feels exceeds the extent of the injury, or the circumstances of how the injury occurred may be disputed.
In such a case, the company will turn to a corporate lawyer to represent their interests, but like many lawsuits, many such cases are settled out of court. Most businesses are not keen to go to court because of negative publicity, and because the awards to the injured party may be much more than what they may be able to agree on out of court. If you choose to pursue corporate law, you can seek employment in a large corporation that has a legal department, or you can start a law firm and seek out clients.
How do you go about choosing a law specialty?
If you are just getting into law school, or are thinking of joining, it is important to consider this carefully because it determines how your law career will go. If you choose a specialty and don’t like it in the end, it can be expensive and time-consuming to go back to law school and try to qualify for a different one.
Ask yourself important questions
What attracted you to law as a career in the first place, and do you think it is enough to make a career out of? Sometimes we are impressed by something but not for very long. We may see a lawyer do a great job on TV, for example, and think it is a good idea to become a lawyer, but the thought doesn’t linger for very long. Think carefully about whether the law is for you because it takes a lot of effort to get into law school and you will pay a lot of money to get a juris doctorate degree online.
Consider the nuances of different specialty
Each branch is unique when it comes to demand. If you choose to specialize in criminal law, for example, you will occasionally be asked to represent unsavory elements, and you must represent them as required by law whether they are innocent or guilty.
If you choose corporate law, a lot of your time will be spent behind a desk examining contracts and reading tomes of documents. Should you choose to be a child advocate or deal with domestic violence victims, you may be thrown into difficult cases that are hard to digest. There are nuances in all types of industries, and these are always important to take note of when thinking about your future and your practice.
You may want to concentrate on a certain area of the law only to find that you don’t meet the requirements. Find out what they are and talk to a faculty advisor so that you know exactly what is required.
Immigration lawyers, for example, are having a good time in America today. They have plenty of work to keep them busy for the foreseeable future.
Family law is a lucrative area, especially when it comes to properties and wills because people in America’s “Baby Boomer” generation all need to have their affairs settled before they die. Some other areas of law may not be so lucrative.
It is worth your while to take some time and do some research on the different types of law and their employment projections for the coming years.
Choosing to go to law school is just the first step of your legal career. You will have to choose a specialty area, and whatever you opt for should be considered carefully with the future in mind. A juris doctorate degree online will give you the qualifications that you need to get into any of the areas discussed in this post.