Choosing a field of law to practice can be overwhelming for some graduates. Unless they have an idea of the type of legal practice they desire, they might fall into a practice area because it is the first job they were offered after graduating.
Some law students know what area of law they want to focus their practice before entering law school. For example, they might have known for years that they wanted to be an intellectual property lawyer or an entertainment lawyer. Other students might take a class during their first year of law school that causes them to focus on that specific area of law.
Other law students might go through law school bouncing back and forth between the legal fields they study. If you fall into this category, you might want to consider personal injury law. Before you dismiss personal injury attorneys as ambulance chasers or television personalities, you should know a few things about practicing injury law.
It Is a Rewarding Field of Law
When you practice personal injury law, you have the opportunity to help each client that walks through your door. Clients come to personal injury attorneys after going through a traumatic event. Some clients and their families have suffered life-altering injuries and damages.
You have the chance to right a wrong. The law cannot undo the pain and suffering the client endured, but you can fight to get the client fair compensation to help them as they continue to recover and move forward with their lives.
You Can Hold Negligent Parties Accountable for Their Actions
Personal injury law involves holding parties financially liable for the damages they cause because of intentional torts, negligence, and other wrongdoing.
For example, you can sue a drug company for selling a defective medication that it knew would cause patients harm. You can pursue a claim against a company that polluted the groundwater, causing thousands of people to develop cancer. You can stand up for a family who lost their loved one because a doctor made a mistake during surgery because he was impaired.
There are endless possibilities for holding parties accountable for their conduct when practicing personal injury law. If you have a specific interest or passion, you can specialize in that area of personal injury law. For example, if you have a strong desire to protect the elderly, you might want to focus your personal injury practice on elder abuse.
You Are Entering a Competitive Field
If you do not want to compete for clients, choose a legal practice in bankruptcy law, maritime law, or intellectual property. The personal injury field is highly competitive. However, there is always room for an injury lawyer who is passionate about and dedicated to advocating for injured people.
You can narrow your competition in several ways:
- Choose to specialize in a specific type of personal injury law, such as medical malpractice, wrongful death, mass torts, or premises liability claims.
- Offer exceptional legal services. When you provide a higher level of service than other lawyers, you develop a reputation within the community. Clients are savvier today and research attorneys online before contacting a personal injury lawyer.
- Join a large law firm with resources that smaller firms cannot match. As a result, you will likely receive more complex and higher-value cases.
- Create a boutique law firm. Boutique law firms are smaller firms that offer clients personalized services. The clients are treated more like family or friends, which many people prefer.
Be patient. It might take time for you to discover your niche. However, once you do, you can shine brighter than the competition.
You Will Have Emotional Cases
Being a personal injury attorney sometimes means meeting people who have experienced the worst day of their lives. Their loved one was killed in an accident, a child sustained horrific burns, or a person sustained catastrophic injuries that resulted in paralysis. Some cases will cause sleepless nights as you wonder how your client can go on each day.
Josh Fogelman, an experienced personal injury lawyer at FVF Law in Austin, TX, tells us: “The reward is that you can make a difference. You can use your knowledge, experience, and legal expertise to fight for your client. You can stand up for them and demand that the party who caused their pain and suffering compensate them fully for all losses.” Attorney Fogelman explains that, for him and his legal team, the biggest accomplishment is to be able to help other people in their community.
You Might Not Get Rich
There is a myth that all personal injury lawyers are wealthy because they earn millions from their client’s pain and suffering. However, being injured does not guarantee a huge payout. Working on a contingency fee means you earn less when a client receives smaller settlements.
On the other hand, many personal injury attorneys are wealthy. They work hard and take complicated cases that result in bigger paydays and higher salaries. It is up to you to create the best work-life balance for yourself.
If you are unsure about practicing personal injury law, invite a personal injury attorney to lunch. Talk to several attorneys practicing vastly different areas of personal injury law. You will soon have the information you need to know if practicing injury law is right for you.