Category Archives: Practice Areas

Consider an Elder Law Practice

It only makes sense that as people continue to live longer, there will be a growing and continuous need for elder law attorneys. The 2013 February issue of the Student Lawyer includes the cover story “Exploring Growing Areas of Law”.

The article features two elder law attorneys whose work involves helping families navigate a maze of estate, health care, financial, and other issues faced by their aged loved ones. They point out that it takes a very special personality to practice elder law because very detailed rules are being applied in an emotional and crisis-filled situation. Educating clients is something that they say that they spend a lot of time doing, giving people a very human and practical synopsis of the rules and the law as they apply to their situation.

A trust and estate law course is an introduction into an elder law practice and then students are advised to take further courses in that area as well as a course in tax law.  It is also recommended that you join student divisions of bar association sections in those areas. 

Check out the National Elder Law Foundation ( and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys ( to learn more about this specialized area of law practice.

Public Interest Research Bureau Information Session Thursday March 21st

The Public Interest Research Bureau is hosting an information session (and will be accepting applications) this week.  The Bureau accepts real-life legal issues from legal aid organizations throughout the Southeast.  Students are then selected to be part of a team that will research the issue and prepare a detailed memoranda responding to the issue. This work then gets used by the legal aid organization in legal pleadings as well as court hearings, and truly impacts the outcomes of legal aid cases.  The Public Interest Research Bureau is a fabulous way for students to gain legal research and writing experience while also learning to work with a team of other students and a faculty supervisor. 

 Join members of the Public Interest Research Bureau to learn more about what they do and how you can be a part of this rewarding organization.  Make a difference in the lives of the poor, develop critical legal skills, and acquire essential writing and research experience.  An information session will be held Thursday, March 21st at noon, in Room 250.  During the sessions, you will learn how to become a member of the Research Bureau.  Applications will also be distributed.  If you have any questions, please contact Brandy Natalzia at

Consider a Labor or Employment Law Practice

Practicing employment law can be very complex yet very fulfilling.  It can involve employment discrimination suits, which range from race, sex, age or disability discrimation to cases which pertain to misappropriation of trade secrets or suits to enforce Non-Competition Agreements.  You might represent the employee who feels wronged, or you could represent employers against those claims.  If you defend the employers part of your responsibility would be to advise the employers how to best avoid these suits. 

These cases typically involve complicated relationships between people in the workplace and therefore may be fraught with emotion and hurt feelings.  There is a very human component to this field, so a prerequisite needed to practice in this field would be people skills.  You must develop a real trust relationship with your clients and serve as their competent advisor, regardless of the side you argue.  You should also possess excellent writing skills and ensure that you are up to date on the latest developments in the field.

Consider a Family Law Practice

Most people go to law school because they want to help people, argue in court, or work on sophisticated legal issues.  Most do not belief a family law practice offers that, but they are mistaken.  Helping individuals resolve problems, in contrast to making corporations more money, can be very fulfilling and will show you directly how your legal knowledge and skills can make a difference in someone’s life.  Family law is also a very litigation based practice.  Depending on the jurisdiction you practice in, there should be numerous opportunities to make court appearances, argue motions, or try the whole case, in the event negotiations are not successful.  While many family law cases do not involve sophisticated legal issues, some do, and in those cases, you will be called upon to understand and argue complex business as well as family law issues.  Because you will be dealing directly with people, you will also need a working knowledge of real estate, bankruptcy, will and estates and perhaps even criminal law. 

Because 40 to 50 percent of American marriages end in divorce, long term prospects in this field are excellent.  Family law can and is practiced in every jurisdiction as well.  Family law is not for everybody, but if you want to help people and be in the courtroom, this area may be one for you to consider.

Family Law Panel

Be sure to attend the Family Law Panel TODAY at Noon-1:00 in Room 550! RSVP on Symplicity or send an e-mail to Career Services at now!  The panelists will discuss the challenges, opportunities, typical problems and tasks of lawyers practicing in the area of Family Law. Among other topics, the panelists will explain:  The types of cases they handle, the skills and personality traits that are helpful in practicing Family Law, the opportunities that they have to go to court, the professional organizations that a student can join to meet family law lawyers, the traits that a Family Law firm would look for in hiring a law clerk or an associate, the rewarding and challenging aspects of practicing family law.

The moderator will be Dean/Professor Cynthia Irvin and the panelists will include:

§  Kim Martyn – Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Deputy Director

§  David Garfinkel – GrayRobinson, P.A.

§  Matthew Hunt – Hunt Green & James

§  Ian Hurley – Stone Lockett

 Pizza and refreshments will be served to those who RSVP on Symplicity or send an e-mail to Career Services at by 9:00 a.m. today!

 And remember to RSVP for our all important Resume Workshop coming up this Thursday at Noon in Room 455!

Interested in Intellectual Property Law?

The ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law is hosting its 3rd Annual Student Reporters Program for a select group of its law student members.  Chosen participants will serve as reporters at the 2013 ABA-IPL 28th Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference April 3-5 in Arlington, Virginia.  In return for reporting on the Conference’s events and programs via social media like Twitter and blogs, student participants will receive complimentary conference registration and tickets to certain Section events.  Applications are due by Friday, February 22nd.  Please see the brochure for more information about the ABA-IPL 28th Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference.

Any questions can be directed to<

Consider a Tax Law Practice

Tax law deal with the rules, policies and laws that oversee the tax process and can involve charges on estates, property, transactions, income, licenses and more by the government. This area is extremely complex and ever changing, so an attorney practicing in this field must be on top of his game and continually keep up with all the amendments to the tax law.  There are also many entities that are entitled to collect taxes, from the Federal level to the city or township level.  The Federal tax practice has its own court and is a very detailed practice. 

As a tax attorney, you may represent clients in tax disputes or may assist clients to navigate the intricate laws.  If you are interested in this field, you could explore the option of getting your LLM in Taxation, which may give you an edge in your job search.

Consider a Real Estate Practice

Real Estate or Property law covers a lot of ground and often overlaps with Contract Law.  It is regulated by federal and state statutes, as well as common law and encompasses more than just land and structures on that land.  It can also involve interests people may have in the land, the air above the land, drilling rights, or rights to live on the property.

While primarily a transactional field, there may be occasions when a real estate attorney may appear in court to handle zoning disputes or to represent a client threatened with foreclosure, for example.  Of course, attorneys in this field also deal with related issues like landlord-tenant issues, title issues, home loans and foreclosures and more.  It is a very complex area further complicated by inconsistent laws throughout cities and states.

Consider a Bankruptcy Practice

Due to the current market conditions, bankruptcy is one of the hottest legal fields in our nation and is continuing to grow.  Bankruptcy lawyers represent creditors and debtors in financial restructurings, workouts, and bankruptcy cases, therefore the attorney must know the bankruptcy code as well as understanding mergers and acquistitions, corporate and securities, real estate, employment law and regulatory practice.

Bankruptcy is really a hybrid between litigation and transactional practice, so the practitioner should be skilled in both drafting documents as well as being able to argue them successfully.  Writing skills are a necessity for drafting the pleadings, motions, and other documents the bankruptcy attorney will use daily.  Because bankruptcy law is economy driven, now is a great time to find your opportunity in this field.

A Hot Practice Area

How can you differentiate yourself from other candidates in this tough job market?  You need to have the skills many firms will be looking for.  One new and lucrative niche right now is in the area of E-Discovery.  It is vitally important and just as complicated.  As more data is stored electronically, businesses and law firms need an E-Discovery attorney to help identify, preserve, collect, process, review and produce this electronic discovery.  Further, law firms need expertise is advising them of relevant laws, how to protect e-files, and to advise them in trial.  If you develop the technical knowledge and skills, you can be on the forefront of this burgeoning field.