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February 24, 2023 Law Student

So You Want to Pursue a Career in Family Law?

By: Paulina Marino

Family Law attorneys must be dynamic, practitioners deal with emotions from multiple parties, while also dealing with their own.

A career in family law can deal with divorce, domestic violence, juvenile rights, custody, adoption, and so many more subject matters. When pursuing a career in family law tasks can include drafting pre-nuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements, custody petitions, adoptions, property division, alimony, and child support. 

Further, alternative dispute resolution can create meaningful solutions in family law. Mediation and negotiation can play important roles in custody, divorce, and pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

Family law careers can be rewarding in public interest or private practice. Private practice can incorporate for both for-profit and non-profit components. Private firms can work with public interest organizations or non-profits to complete pro-bono work.

Non-profits and public interest organizations use holistic practice to incorporate family law and other law practices. This holistic view creates a hybrid between domestic violence and immigration law, juvenile rights and criminal law, parentage and education law, to name a few. This holistic form of practice provides multiple resources for clients and allows practitioners to look more closely into their clients’ issues.

Clerkships present a non-traditional, alternative option to a career path in family law. Clerkships are challenging and rewarding; they deal with a variety of issues in family law. Some of the responsibilities of a clerk include research and drafting memos, orders, and opinions. They provide a hands-on experience, and a look at all sides of a case.

While a career in family law is fruitful on its own, there are other ways to be connected with family law and the ABA. One way is writing for the ABA’s Family Law Quarterly. This scholarly journal is in partnership with New York Law School. This scholarly journal features articles by family law practitioners. Quarterly topics have included: Teaching About Race and Family Law, Family Law Trailblazers, and Family Law During Covid-19. The publication also features an annual Winter issue which is a review of the year in family law, identifying new laws in the 50 states.

As family law attorneys, you are a small part in assisting clients with the most difficult times in their lives. Family law is a critical practice that deals heavily with the complexities of human emotions and attorneys are involved with the most personal aspects of their clients’ lives. Overall, not only is it important to be a zealous advocate for clients as family law attorney, but it is of the utmost importance that throughout their careers family law attorney approach their practice and clients with empathy.

The material in all ABA publications is copyrighted and may be reprinted by permission only. Request reprint permission here.

Paulina Marino

JD Candidate

New York Law School
ABA Section of Family Law Law Student Liaison and Law Student Committee Chair