Any thoughts on family law as a practice area? Got offered 110k plus bonuses with low billable hours requirement. I'm in Los Angeles. Not sure if I should get into it as a practice area though as I hear conflicting things. Any thoughts would help. Thanks

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First off, congrats. $110k for family law in LA as a 1st year is actually pretty good. It can get juicy as you can work high profile cases, sometimes it can bleed into wills, trusts, probates, etc., if you’re into that. Definitely emotionally draining, issues can get complex with more high asset/profile cases where there’s a lot going on. It’s not entirely impossible to get out of it down the line, but can be moderately challenging to pivot. There’s definitely a lot of money to be made if prestige and appearance don’t matter to you.

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I think it’s generally considered somewhat less prestigious, and somewhat less complex, than other practice areas, but if you are good at connecting with people and playing half lawyer-half psychologist, and are actually a good, competent lawyer, you can do fairly well as a family lawyer. Be prepared for lots of handholding and lots of emergencies (“Mg ex won’t answer the door and I’m standing out here waiting to pick the kids up for my week with them!”), but on the balance, probably a less intense work schedule than some of the other more Hugh profile practice areas. For the record, I’m a transactional lawyer and my thoughts are based on my couple of decades of observation, not based on first hand experience in the practice area.

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I have over a decade working with families in education law. Never done family law, but I hear it can be extremely challenging. Emotions run very high and you will be putting out a lot of fires. And it can be very heartbreaking no matter what the outcome of the case is. Not trying to dissuade you, but this is what I have heard from friends who have practiced in this area.

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I’ve heard the same. It can be depressing working with divorces with kids (I am told).

I'm a first year attorney by the way

PI lawyers look down on family law lawyers. Just saying. Bottom of the barrel.

Until you get hurt by someone else’s negligence ....

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I summered at a family law firm and found it draining. Divorcees were awful to their former spouses. But if you have the heart for it, it's certainly valuable and important work! Be prepared for the human element.

If you have the desire to really help people through a tough time, then divorce is up there with death of a spouse. Also I am trained in mediation and do quite a lot of that which is hugely challenging. Family law is the OPPOSITE of real estate. Lots of drama and new challenges and thinking on your feet.

Transactional lawyers think on their feet all of the time. Negotiation is a significant part of a real estate lawyer’s job, and that negotiation doesn’t end when a contract is signed, it goes on throughout a deal. I agree a good mediator could carve out a nice place for themselves - even a nice full time niche - in that area of the law.

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I’m a transactional attorney who was assigned to represent a defendant in a DV matter pro bono. I absolutely never ever wanted to touch any aspect of family law professionally. Even representing “the bad guy” can be heartbreaking and dealing with victims isn’t easy. If you can stomach terrible facts and a lot of emotional hardship then I’d say go for it. You can do a lot of good in that area of law too. Me? I’d much rather represent clients in their mergers and acquisitions.

Sounds like a great offer! It can be emotionally draining but just know you have to separate yourself from the work. You get experience being in court/litigating which is great. It has flexibility in terms of vacation planning and room to grow. People may say negative things about it, until they need one :)

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