Can anyone give me insight on how important it is to like your practice area? I finished up a clerkship in 2020 when then market was terrible and felt pressure to take the first job I was offered. It was in litigation, which I wanted, but it’s also construction law which I am finding to be majorly boring. I’m 7 months in and not very happy and I’m wondering if that’s why? (It could also be the low salary, the billable hours, the intangible but definitely present boys club, etc).

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I mean if you’re doing it for the rest of your life, it’s kind of important. It may be difficult to switch as your years continue to go by.

Ask yourself why you aren’t happy with it first before making an entire switch. I thought I wasn’t happy because of the type of law, but then switched forms and realized I loved it but my first firm was awful.

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It is hugely important. One of the things I didn’t comprehend coming out of law school was how much your practice area defined your career. You can switch early on if you try but after a few years it gets much more difficult.

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Good point on time in. If you don’t like the area need to move on in 1-1.5 years to avoid being pegged to that practice area.

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Are we at the same office haha. Also graduated in pandemic, took the first job, in litigation which I wanted but it is construction law, which I do not enjoy. Also boys club, with sexist comments on the side occasionally. Low base salary under the guise that I would make alot in commission in the form of 1/3 of my realized billables.

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So far, DMs have been working. If you think you have a "stupid" question, first of all, it's probably not stupid. Second of all, I think most women in this practice are happy to help.

When you’re billing 2000+ hour years, liking your practice area matters.

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I’m at a firm that I like, working with people that I like, with generally more humane hours. Don’t love my practice area and I’m starting to get miserable.

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For long term career satisfaction, helps to like it. For short term can live with it if you can’t find something else. Litigation experience is great to have in any job.

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Like which jobs? Hate my practice area but wondering whether I should just stick it out.

Pretty important. I graduated in 2012. Not quite as bad as the pandemic market but it also wasn’t great. Pretty much any move I’ve made has been been to get closer to the practice area I want. Took me 10 years to get there but I’m soooo much happier. Find what area of law you like and do what you can to get there!

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Not at all! I’m doing management side labor and employment now. I’ve always been drawn to more of the business side of litigation. I started in plaintiff’s PI which I never wanted to do. Moved to insurance defense with a bit of commercial lit. Really enjoyed commercial lit work but it was still kind of all over the place (anything from labor and employment to construction to consumer protection) so I wanted something a bit more focused. L&E has enough variety to keep things interesting but enough focus that I feel less overwhelmed.

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I think it’s very important. I’m indifferent about litigating so I thought pivoting between fields of law was going to be easy, but I went from automotive product livability to entertainment/IP litigation, and let me tell you, it was a huge difference, I much rather prefer reading about cars than celebs. Nonetheless litigation experience in general is helpful, so moving into something else shouldn’t be too hard.

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A2 aww man, once you get there though, it’s going to be so sweet. It’s fun talking shop with the clients. It’s going to suck but one of the suggestions I was given was to ask for those assignments on top of your full load aka give up what little sleep you’re barely getting.

It's hard to know what you'll like, and easy to think you've made a bad choice when you don't have context from working in other areas.

As someone who moved from people based litigating to construction law, I much prefer the dirt, bricks, and sticks. Couldn't handle the emotions and personal stakes in non-commercial lit. Too much pressure. But maybe if I'd started out in construction I wouldn't appreciate that boring = less stress.

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It matters. Like a lot.

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Definitely try to interview for jobs in the areas you are interested in and the sooner the better!!

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It’s important! I was in a similar situation. Spent 1.5 years practicing transactional real estate and wasn’t a huge fan of the area (bored out of my mind), but factoring in the low salary and demanding clients, I started to hate my job. I left that job for a job in litigation (with a higher salary) and I’m soooo much happier. So yeah, I’d say practice area matters a lot, although it’s not the only factor. But if you enjoy what you do, it can make other things more bearable.

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I just switched into construction defect law and I actually find it fascinating lol

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Find something else! You go! Lots of people looking. At least in Bankruptcy and business litigation.

It matters! I did construction defect defense and hated it. It’s boring and not very intellectually stimulating in my opinion. Now I don’t do it at all and have a more varied practice in a variety of areas and love it. Find something you love.

Thanks for the advice everyone! If anyone else wants to drop a line about what their practice area is, I wouldn’t be mad ☺️

What city are you in?

I think construction law starts to get more interesting like 2 years in. You should really take advantage of your experts’ and clients’ knowledge on things to learn. You should also start trying to get into construction, generally. I started following engineering and trades pages on Instagram that post cool stuff that start to make me think more about construction and become more fond of it. I also think that once you have a few of your large construction defect cases getting geared up for trial (MSJ/Daubert/MIL deadline, hearings on same, and general trial prep) that helps a lot. I had one recently that had like 300 filings from all the parties at the motion deadline. And I read through every single one. And I got new ideas on things and I thought it really helped. AND made it more interesting lol

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