Refining Your Career Aspirations

Vol. 42 No. 9

By

Erin Binns is director of career planning at Marquette University Law School.

What do you plan to do with your law degree? This question evokes tremors of anxiety in many law students because either they don’t know or they thought they knew but their interests are now expanding rather than narrowing. Relax. You don’t need to define “forever,” today, but you do need goals. Take advantage of law school to explore the myriad nooks and crannies of practice. Exploration coupled with thoughtful assessment will get you closer to determining where you’ll fit comfortably in the legal profession in the near and far futures.

More than laws. Don’t be too quick to dismiss or pursue opportunities based on substantive laws alone. Pull back the curtains of practice areas to see what’s happening behind the scenes. What does the practice actually look like, and is it something you’ll find fulfilling?

I regularly hear from students who want to be transactional lawyers because they “loved first-year contracts class.” Here’s the problem with that thought process—reading case law to learn about the general principals of contract formation doesn’t at all introduce you to the responsibilities of a transactional attorney. Moreover, the nature of the transactional practice you pursue can greatly flavor the experience.

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