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Kathleen McDonald

The field of law is very broad not only in terms of types of law but also in the settings in which you practice. For example, you might practice criminal, bankruptcy, estate planning, family (divorce, adoptions, guardianships), corporate, Constitutional/civil rights--the list is almost endless. In terms of settings, you can practice in a huge, global law firm, mid-sized law firm, small law firm, in-house at a company, have your own solo practice, or work for the government as a district attorney or US Attorney or in a Federal or state governmental agency. Not all lawyers make the same amount of money. Salaries vary based on geographic location (big cities pay more than small towns), area of practice (corporate and big-firm practice tends to pay more than civil rights), and setting (private law firms tend to pay more than government). The work expectations vary, also: big law firms tend to make you work like a horse and you basically don't have much of a life outside of work. Government jobs tend to be much more 9-5. If you do trial work, you will work long hours as trial gets closer, and you will work 24/7 while you are in trial.

I love what I do. I practice law in the area of special education in a mid-sized law firm that does nothing but education law. I used to work in a big firm in a large city, and I enjoyed that too, at the time; I practiced environmental law. But once I had kids, that kind of long-hours, rigorous practice didn't fit my life style. My kids now are nearly grown so I have more time for work, but I still don't want to give my whole life to a law firm, so this mid-size practice works well for me.

Answered 6 years ago

Kathleen McDonald