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by Vault Law Editors | March 25, 2020

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Law students, we know you have a lot to deal with right now, from adjusting to remote classes to wondering how you’ll be graded this semester to keeping up with your job search. If you’ve reached the point where you need a break—but in law student fashion, want to stay productive—we’re here with an idea: Take advantage of your extra time at home to conduct research into legal practice areas. After all, learning about different legal practices is a crucial step in your job search and career path.

But where should you start? With everything going on in the world, we have selected five practice areas that we believe will become even more relevant in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and have provided an excerpt from our Practice Overview page for each below. For more about each area, click on the link to view the full description, potential career paths, and recommended classes.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring

Bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers represent debtors, creditors, equity interest holders, and other entities that may be interested in a business (such as a prospective acquirer) that is confronting financial difficulties. The practice can involve out-of-court negotiations to restructure a company’s financial affairs without the intervention of a court or bankruptcy reorganization litigation; there are practitioners who focus on either one of these aspects and others whose practices encompass both. Likewise, there are firms that specialize in representing creditors, others that focus on the representation of debtors, and broad practices that do both. Lawyers are often drawn to restructuring work to straddle the business and litigation sides. (Read more)

Health Law

Health law is an incredibly diverse area of practice which does not focus on a singular type of legal work. Attorneys in this field focus on the health industry in general, but the types of work available vary widely. Some lawyers counsel health care entities on a range of transactional and regulatory matters, including mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. Others handle any litigation-related matters that arise for their health care industry clients. Some lawyers focus on compliance issues, ensuring clients are adhering to regulations and laws and conducting internal investigations for clients, while others work on the government side, enforcing regulations. This area is an exciting one because it is constantly evolving and changing, especially when it comes to digital health. (Read more)

Insurance

Insurance attorneys review the facts of insurance claims and insurance contracts to advise the insurers or the insured as to whether there is coverage and then litigate when a dispute over coverage cannot be resolved. Insurance lawyers work in a variety of areas, including auto, home owners, renters, general, employers, and directors and officers. Insurance litigation can be practiced in specialized boutiques, though many large firms will have a few practitioners, or it will fall under the litigation department. (Read more)

Labor & Employment

Attorneys in this area serve as advisors and represent companies and individuals arising out of labor and employment disputes. The “labor” side deals with union issues, advising companies on avoiding unionization of their workers, negotiating collective bargaining agreements, administering labor contracts, and litigating issues arising from union issues, including cases alleging unfair labor practice charges. On the employment side, attorneys advise companies on day-to-day employment issues, draft policies and procedures, develop and sometimes conduct trainings, draft employment and separation agreements, and litigate cases dealing with employment issues—including charges of discrimination before the EEOC or similar state agency or via individual suits. (Read more)

Privacy and Data Security

Lawyers in this area advise business clients on cyber security issues, including internal security protocols, the collection and storage of personal data, and on how to respond to a data breach. While privacy lawyers are most often called into action in the wake of a data security breach, they also help their clients comply with regulations and counsel on ways to prevent data theft or loss. Lawyers may work on incidence response teams and can be called on to work long hours after a client’s data has been breached. (Read more)

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For more details on these and many other practice areas, check out Vault’s Legal Practice Areas Overviews page. 

Also, for a deep-dive into practice areas, check out Practice Perspectives: Vault’s Guide to Legal Practice Areas, which provides firsthand details through Q&As with attorneys at top firms (talk to your Career Services office to see if you have a Vault login).

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