Are you interested in studying litigation? Do you want to become a litigator but you are not certain about what this career entails? If your answer to either one of these two questions is yes, Rosemary Jones, a professional legal blogger has some valuable insight, with the latest addition to our Law School & Careers features.
There are some facts you need to be aware of before you decide that litigation is the right career pathway to be followed. First and foremost, you have to understand that litigation is one of the most complex fields – if you are not tough, you will have difficulties fitting in and working out your cases. Keep on reading and discover the rest – what to know before studying litigation.
Diversity is a keyword when it comes to litigation
At first, you might be tempted to think that litigation only means that a case is taken to court and solve. However, in real life, you will go through some difficult cases, many of which you might lose. Moreover, as a litigator, you will not represent only the good guys; in fact, there will be a broad range of circumstances in which your clients are going to find themselves – you might end up representing someone in a civil case, in a patent dispute or even in traffic court.
No one becomes a litigator overnight
Becoming a litigator is more complicated than you might believe and it requires some steps to be reached. It also begins with earning your bachelor’s degree, with a pre-law major that suits your future career (the bachelor degree program should be accredited; otherwise you will risk not being accepted into law school). For the next step, you will have to be admitted into law school and earn your law degree.
The license to practice law is obtained by passing the bar exam; often, this is followed by the admission to a state bar association. Last, but not least, you will have actually to find a job. The good news is that there is something out there for each and everyone. While many companies require litigators to have years of experience, you will be able to find some who are interested in hiring fresh faces (directly out of law school).
A litigator comes with some specific skills
When applying for a job as a litigator, your potential employer will be interested in the skill set you have to offer. Keep in mind that these skills are often developed and polished in law school; it is common for many law students to pursue summer internships, including at litigation firms. These internships can help one improve his/her critical thinking abilities, as well as the analytical reasoning and negotiation skills.
As a litigator, you will have to be experienced at doing research and interacting with many different people. You will have to interview both clients and witnesses, demonstrating in-depth understanding and practical knowledge about the field in which you have decided to practice and its procedures. After all, you cannot expect to do well in a courtroom, without knowing the procedures that have to be followed.
Speaking about skills, how good are you at writing?
If you are interested in pursuing litigation, then you need to work on developing your writing skills. These are a huge part of the job, even though it might not seem like this at first. Often, you will not feel like a litigator but rather as a writer; you will have to dedicate a lot of time to writing, no matter the field in which you decide to practice.
Imagine having to write letters, emails, contracts, memos, and briefs. All of these require excellent writing skills so that the respective information is communicated in a manner that is both clear and compelling.
Long hours, plenty of stress
We would all like to be told that the career we are interested in pursuing is nothing but rainbows and good times. Even though you will have a lot of satisfying moments as a litigator, it is important to know and remember that this career entails many hours behind a desk and in the courtroom. Moreover, it comes packed with a lot of stress, especially when handling high profile cases.
In deciding to study litigation, you need to be prepared for what the future entails. You will have to spend a lot of time drafting legal documents, not to mention researching different legal issues and arguing in a court of law. You might have to skip meals, sleep less than desired and handle stressful cases – in the end, it will be all worth it but resilience to stress matters quite a lot, nevertheless. Just remember that this is a demanding career and not everyone is suited to become a litigator. If you have what it takes, then you are also bound to be successful.
The answer is not always around the corner
While the law is a pretty straightforward matter, you cannot expect for things to be always easy. The majority of the cases you are going to come across will be complicated, requiring that you put everything in the game. The solution to a case will not appear out of magic; you will have to work hard to find it. In this battle, you will be lucky to rely on the skills and abilities developed in law school. Also, you will have to be able to handle uncertainty as part of the job; sometimes, you might fail in finding the best solution, and you need to pick yourself up and continue.
A Final Note
The field of litigation is complex and beautiful at the same time. If you have decided to study litigation, the most important thing is to ensure that this is the right career path for you to follow. Keep in mind that when you do something that you love, it does not feel like work. This is what being a litigator should feel like.
Rosemary Jones is a professional blogger who loves to write on several niches particularly in law, including personal injury, estate planning, business law, real estate law, construction law, criminal defense law and DUI law. Read more about her blog posts on Band Gates & Dramis.