Learn How to Tell a Dream Job from Reality

Learn How to Tell a Dream Job from Reality

Pursuing a law degree may not be as straight forward as you thought? There are several avenues to explore. Learn of these here in your quest for a dream job…

A legal career has many different avenues.   A law degree can open any one of these avenues, meaning law school graduates have to carve out their own path.   And once a path is carved, keep in mind that one single path is not even realistic.  There are many types of law. Sometimes attorneys find themselves on a career path they’d never imagined before law school.  That’s why it’s good to meet some law practitioners early on, in order to learn about different specialties of law.  Students should be able to see a practical application of what they can do with a law degree.  That way, they can make the right career choice in a such a diverse field.

Dream Jobs vs Reality

Law school graduate is one thing; becoming a successful attorney is another.   A typical dream of a future law school student is to become a civil rights attorney.  These are the attorneys who protect the balance of individual and government power.  It’s less common for an applicant to law school to be dreaming of going into corporate and securities law, even though there are many more jobs in this area.  In fact, jobs for civil rights attorneys are so sought after that many attorneys take on civil rights cases pro bono just so they can work in this field.  They may have gone to law school with intentions of becoming the next Johnny Cochran but reality hit and they found work in one of the many other types of law where there are many more jobs for law school graduates.

Let’s take a look at some of the two major types of law.  Remember, these are then broken down into the actual types of law.  For a complete description of the many fields of law, consult a law school admissions office.

Substantive Law

Substantive law is the type of law we see enforced on the streets…often by police.  If someone robs a bank, a substantive law has been broken.  If your neighbor hires an undocumented person who is not legal to work in the United States, a substantive law has been broken. If a corporation hides important financial information from its shareholder, well there goes another substantive law broken.

Most people don’t even know there is any other type of law other than substantive law.  That’s because the other types of law, called procedural law, deal with the legal system on a higher, administrative level.  For example, the steps that must be followed in a trial case are dictated by procedural law.   What laws do members of the US Supreme Court follow in their daily operations?  Procedural law.

Now, there are other types of law that fall into a sub category under substantive law…private law and public law.  Then those types can also be divided.  Private law covers transactions between private parties…real estate transactions, business transactions…both are types of private law.  For public law, we have mainly what you see on Law & Order: murder, burglary, assault, etc.

Procedural Law

In the most general sense, there are two types of law: Procedural Law and Substantive Law. However, generally people are most concerned with the latter; substantive law. This is the type of law which matters to most people…the legal rules of society by which we all live, and which are enforceable. The US courts, the police, defense lawyers, and everyday citizens of the US come into contact with some form of substantive law every day. This is the working body of legal rights and duties that make up our legal world.

Procedural law is what governs the courts, the legal professionals and the enforcement institutions (e.g. the Police) which keep the substantive laws going. Most people are not concerned with the types of law at this level…unless they are working at something like the Procedural Law Institute or some government legal consulting agency or for an educational institution.

Civil procedural law in the US follows the supreme court-mandated Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We also have the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. This lets lawyers know how to go about doing their job…the procedure.

For example, how does a lawyer know when he or she has to file complaints or serve documents on the opposition? Procedural law determines this. What’s the next step in your case? Your lawyer knows what to do because he or she studied procedural law in law school.


This has been a Guukle guest post

Belinda Mills is a freelance writer and she write on law, business and finance topics, more of her work can be seen here