From the beginning of my practice, I have focused on business litigation. During my early years as a young associate, though, I did all types of cases – labor and employment, administrative, landlord-tenant, family, securities, personal injury, workers compensation, insurance, and so on. I love that I was exposed to all types of cases and learned about different areas of the law. It kept me engaged and on my toes.
However, as I became a more experienced lawyer, I was encouraged to find a “specialty.” This is tough for a curious person like me. Since litigation is what I had been doing, it seemed like the specialty to choose. Thankfully, every case is different even if they are predominantly based in contracts.
As anyone in litigation knows, it ebbs and flows and is not always predictable. It is also not easy to market. Generally, litigation is a crisis situation, not a casual “I want to find a lawyer” situation. But it is what I do, and I like it.
But during a particularly difficult discovery dispute, I was contemplating giving up litigation altogether. If you have ever been in an irrational discovery dispute, you totally understand what I am talking about. It really is the bane of a case, though a necessary evil.
Therefore, I decided to “branch out.” I decided that instead of tearing contracts apart and criticizing every word choice, I would start drafting them. This led to expanding my practice into business transactions. Not only can I anticipate the risky terms in a contract, I can draft around issues and anticipate future disputes. Having seen contract after contract fall apart, I wanted to be able to help my clients avoid litigation. Though I like litigation, my clients generally don’t love it.
So, to lawyers of all experience levels, don’t feel stuck in your practice area. Though it may be a little scary to jump into a new practice area, you probably know more than you think and there are always other lawyers who are happy to lend a hand.