Should You Pursue a Concentration in Law School?
Laura Bergus just wrote a great post on how to choose law school courses. Personally, I think all students should take as many practical skills classes as they can. Another important issue is whether to pursue a concentration in certain area of law. Depending on your career path, it may not be worth it.
Are you sure you want to really want to practice that area?
If you are 99.99% sure that you want to be a patent lawyer, then get a patent concentration. Concentrations are also ideal for individuals with previous experience in another area. For example, if you were a bio-chemical-engineer working in the health care field, and you want to continue doing so, then health law is probably right for you.
If you have more of a general “I dunno” feeling, then maybe a concentration is not for you. If you cannot find an area of law that appeals to you, try and take as many different classes as possible. With a concentration, you are limited to how many “non-concentration” classes you can take.
Is there a current demand for lawyers in that practice area?
There will always be a demand for criminal lawyers. What about International Law? Do you have any connections that would lead to a career in international law? Liking a certain area of law is great, but getting a job in that field can be another story.
Another problem is that concentrations may not even help get a job in that practice area. It will not hurt you, but it might not be as helpful as you think. Many employers (especially in this job-market) want young lawyers with some real experience. Getting all A’s in your concentration is great, but the person who went out and got some real experience could have the edge over you because of experience.