The Essential Guide to Legal Practice Areas

by Nicole Weber | June 03, 2015

  • My Vault

What does a day in the life of an M&A lawyer look like? What classes should an aspiring bankruptcy attorney enroll in? What does “clean tech” law really mean?

Unfortunately, a traditional law school curriculum doesn’t do much to help students figure out what it’s really like to practice in different areas of the law. That’s where Practice Perspectives: Vault’s Guide to Legal Practice Areas comes in, offering budding lawyers insight into the myriad of choices they face as their careers take shape.

Practice Perspectives, now in its third edition, is the insider’s guide to what it’s really like to be a practicing attorney in 20 different areas* of the law. Whether you’re preparing for on-campus interviews, already have a summer associate job in the bag, are looking to make a lateral move, or are considering applying to law school, Practice Perspectives is a vital career exploration tool. In the guide, you’ll find more than 30 interviews with attorneys who are at the top of their fields at some of the most prestigious law firms** in the country. We asked these partners and associates all about their specific practice areas—the types of clients they represent, the best and worst aspects of working in their chosen fields, and what they wish they had known before selecting a specialty.

  • Each attorney featured in the guide answered the following questions:
  • What, substantively, does your practice area entail?
  • What types of clients do you represent?
  • What types of deals and/or cases do you work on?
  • How did you decide to practice in your area?
  • What is a typical day or week like in your practice area?
  • What is the best thing about your practice area?
  • What is the most challenging aspect of your practice area?
  • What training, classes, experience or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?
  • What misconceptions exist about your practice area? What do you wish you had known before joining your practice area?
  • What is unique about your practice area at your firm, and how has it evolved since you have been at the firm?
  • What activities do you enjoy when you are not in the office, and how do you make time for them?

If your school subscribes to Vault, you can download Practice Perspectives for free through your school’s career services website. Otherwise, check out the guide here: Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.

*Practice areas covered in the guide include Antitrust; Appellate Litigation; Bankruptcy/Creditors' Rights; Clean Technology/Renewable Energy; Financial Services; General Corporate Practice; Intellectual Property; IP Boutiques; International; Labor and Employment; Litigation Boutiques; Mergers & Acquisitions; Private Equity; Products Liability; Project Finance; Real Estate; Securities; Securities Litigation; Technology; and White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations.

**The attorneys interviewed come from Allen & Overy, Cahill, Cleary Gottlieb, Cooley, Davis Polk, Dechert, Desmarais, Finnegan, Freshfields, Fried Frank, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear, Kobre & Kim, Mayer Brown, Milbank, Orrick, Paul Hastings, Ropes & Gray, Seyfarth Shaw, Shearman & Sterling, Skadden, Wachtell, Weil, and White & Case.

Filed Under: Law

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