specialize early in career

In this blog spot, Tejaswini Ranjan, CNLU, Patna, pursuing Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws from NUJS, discusses whether one should specialize early in career or not.

Area of Specialization

Since the day, I have stepped in law school, my friends enrolled in courses other than law, have informally appointed me as their counsel to defend them in criminal matters, civil matters, business disputes and every other dispute that can possibly occur to them in future.

In a five-year law course, law school makes you learn around fifty different law subjects. Evidently, one cannot learn everything in every subject. Each and every subject wouldn’t interest you. The five-year law school journey or even the three-year law school journey would take you to numerous areas of study where you would identify the area of law that would interest you the most. It may also happen that every semester you may have a new area of interest. But, you have to choose your pole stars amongst others.

How do you choose your area of specialization

In the course of deciding which area to specialize in, the most significant question that pops up is “What area of law you should specialize in?

Yes! What should be the parameters to decide the most appropriate area of specialization? The area that interests you the most, or the most popular area of specialization, or the one that can easily fetch you loads of money?

What should be the parameters to decide the most appropriate area of specialization? The area that interests you the most, or the most popular area of specialization, or the one that can easily fetch you loads of money?

Every area of law requires certain skills. For example, an ‘International Law Practitioner’ may be required to travel places and to interact with foreigners and government agencies. Apart from this, that person may also be required to translate documents and interpret them.

One should make a selection with the application of their brain along with their heart. 

One should make a selection with the application of their brain along with their heart. A wrong choice would lead them to waste their money and most importantly, their time.

How does one specialize in any subject

One can gain expertise in a particular subject by pursuing that subject not only in the curriculum but also beyond that.

  • The most common way of specializing is pursuing a post-graduate degree or higher degree(s) in that field of law.
  • Other ways are pursuing certificate courses, diploma courses, participating in workshops, conferences and seminars, writing research papers, taking part in research projects etc.
  • You may also participate in different competitions relating to your area of interest or, may also pursue related subjects from different streams. For example, those interested in constitutional law can take part in quizzes, debates, moots, etc. related to the subject.

The Pros

When you study 50 subjects in a law course, you may want to narrow down to some subjects. Expecting one person to master in all the areas would be an illusion.

Specializing early would mean that you are working in a definite area of law and that obviously would mean that you will have an upper hand in that ‘area of law’ against everybody else.

 You would have pursued that area of study for a considerable amount of time and have ‘invested’ your time in learning that subject.

 

  • Specializing early would mean that you are working in a definite area of law and that obviously would mean that you will have an upper hand in that ‘area of law’ against everybody else. You would have pursued that area of study for a considerable amount of time and have ‘invested’ your time in learning that subject.
  • This implies that sooner you identify your area of specialization, sooner you would become an expert in that area of law. You would consequently know what your job prospects would be and how you would shape your career. Most importantly, you won’t be caught in the dilemma of deciding what to study and what not to.

The Cons

  • Specializing in a particular area of law at one hand opens all the opportunities in that field for the candidate but on the other hand, closes (almost) all the doors for opportunities in other areas of law.
  • Specializing in one area would (in a way) debar a candidate from getting into jobs requiring inter-disciplinary knowledge or expertise but even that would require EXPERTISE.

One may take up two areas of study or may be three or maybe four that would be the limit.

 

  • Another disadvantage here could be that the person who has specialized in a particular area of study, fails to find the opportunities he had been looking for, if he lacks the skill or he could have applied his skills in a better way at other areas, specializing early would mean a sheer waste of time and money.

It is, therefore, necessary that the candidates who take up an area of specialization should decide for the same according to their skills and the job prospects in the field where their interest would remain constant.

Does specialization help in finding a job?\

Specializing in a particular area of law would define the category of jobs you would be eligible for. You would know what firms you should apply for. Someone specialized in business laws would apply in firms practicing in commercial laws or someone specialized in real estate laws would apply in firms practicing in that area.

Those applying for teaching jobs or taking up research projects would also know what subjects they would be dealing in their profession. It becomes easier for employers as well to select the most appropriate candidate for the vacancy. It is obvious that those candidates with a specialization (the employer is looking for) would be preferred over those who don’t have the same specialization.

Should I specialize early in my career

If you set your goals right, if you know what your career should be and most importantly, you know where you can apply your skills and make the most out of them, YOU SHOULD, sorry, YOU MUST!

Specialization at an early stage would yield you the best results if executed at the right area of law. However, if things go wrong, you always have an option to move to the other area(s) but remember, at the end of the day, you have to specialize. Doing it sooner would be better than doing it later. Specialization can make you an expert but a jack of all trades is master of none.

Additional Read: How to stand out as a Young Lawyer?

Tell us in the comments how did the article help you to specialize in your area of interest and share the article.

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