Job Market Improves: Time to Explore New Practice Areas?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 05, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

According to James Leipold of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), job prospects for new lawyers are improving. With law school enrollment rates falling 19 percent from the Class of 2013 to the Class of 2017, new law graduates will likely face less competition for jobs.

Where are these new jobs though?

How many of you went to law school thinking you'd be public service attorneys and save the world, or big firm corporate attorneys raking in the dough? Chances are, there is probably going to be a lot of competition for jobs in these popular practice areas.

You may want to think outside of the box and growing practice areas like these:

1. Marijuana Law.

Four states and the District of Columbia have now legalized (to some degree) the recreational use of marijuana. So should you consider practicing marijuana law?

Hilary Bricken of the Canna Law Group, the 2013 Marijuana Industry Attorney of the Year, explains that marijuana lawyers "provide business advice and litigation services, administrative appeal services, lobbying, corporate formation, landlord/tenant advice and litigation services, recreational licensing services, recreational licensing appeals, intellectual property services and policing, and land use and zoning legal services." This doesn't sound too different from corporate law or litigation.

If you don't like corporate law, you may want to try marijuana DUI defense and help people like Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, who claimed he didn't know that drugged driving was illegal.

2. Digital Estate Planning.

Who has control and access to your Facebook account or e-books when you die? Email accounts, online banking and investment accounts, and documents on cloud services are all part of a person's digital estate; these assets may need to be included in a digital estate plan.

Digital estate planning is a new and growing area of law that the tech-savvy law grad should consider. Be warned though. Since this is such a new practice area, there are few statutes and laws regarding digital assets. You probably won't get too much guidance from other attorneys.

3. Health Care Law.

While this isn't exactly a new area of law, it's certainly dynamic, as the Affordable Care Act's latest Supreme Court challenge demonstrates. Whatever happens, health law is going to be a growing field. With all the new regulations, small businesses and individual consumers are going to have a lot of questions about health insurance and their insurance claims.

And hey, if this doesn't work, you can always fall back on Social Security claims.

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