Family lawyers deal with divorce, child support, adoption and several other cases. Unlike other lawyers, family lawyers work in a specific setting with a small firm that has 15 or less attorneys. Moreover, lawyers who specialize in family law are mostly associated with NGOs or other government agencies not corporate firms.
In writing this article, I consulted with a reputable law firm out of California.
Specializing in family law requires one to start studying it when they start law school or college. However, certain law schools don’t offer family law as a specialized degree. If that is the case, try to focus your practice on issues related to family law. Moreover, while you are in college, take as many sociology, psychology and counseling courses you can as they will allow you to understand how different members of the family deal and interact with one another. Being a family lawyer is not just about knowing the law as it is in the books. Instead, you also need to know about individual behavior to guide and counsel your clients so that they can make the best decisions regarding family matters.
You should also choose electives that are related to family law. Majority of the law schools offer family law related courses such as traditional family law, alternative dispute resolution, juvenile practices and such. Other courses that you can pick as electives that will benefit you in your family law specialization are income taxation, constitutional law, criminal law and procedure. In addition, you can also study independent programs that most law schools offer. Independent study programs involve working in close coordination with a faculty member to carry out advanced study and research on a mutual legal topic of interest.
By studying courses related to family law in your college years will let you gain an edge over others. Once you graduate college, you should then look out for family law firms and start applying for jobs. When drafting your resume, make sure you focus on any family law experience or related experiences that are related to the field. Moreover, if you don’t have any experience and you’re applying for your first job, make sure you highlight the courses you studied on family law and those related to the subject to give the other person an impression that you know the subject well. It is advisable for family lawyers to start their career with a small firm or an established company that deals with family related issues/cases.