I am a …

Planning Your Course of Study

What Kind of Law Do You Want to Practice?

Most law students do not start law school knowing their answer to that question. Instead, they formulate a response over the course of their JD or LLM degree. Even those who enroll with an idea for their post-graduate plans often change their minds as they progress through their education.

That means the classes you take are essential to your career decisions. Some of you will discover a passion for a legal issue that shapes the course of your professional life. Others will realize that you prefer a particular type of legal practice, regardless of subject matter. Many of you will leave law school having learned that you enjoy the various types of work that lawyers perform on a multitude of topics.

We have created this Planning Your Course of Study Tool to help you explore the possibilities for your legal education and ultimate career. The courses you take will not dictate your career, but they may help you evaluate what path you want to take. Ultimately, the classes you select will prepare you to succeed in your post-graduate work. You should use this tool alongside the Office of Career and Professional Development’s Career Planning Guide, which offers useful guidance for all types of legal careers.

Practice Type

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Subject Matter

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Using This Guide

The Planning Your Course of Study Tool is more than a list of subject matters and courses. That’s because being a lawyer is more than just working in a particular area of law.

The subject matter of a legal practice is relevant, but as important is the day-to-day life of the lawyers who work in that field. Because you should think about what your legal work will look like, the Planning Your Course of Study Tool is divided into three sections:

  • The first section discusses types of legal practice.
  • The second section addresses types of legal employers.
  • The third section details subject matters on which lawyers work.

Each section provides an overview of the topic and links to more detailed discussions of particular practice types, legal employers, and legal subject areas.

Within each linked topic, you will see a list of courses and credit-bearing co-curricular activities that will help you explore the subject. You will also find the contact information for faculty who are knowledgeable about the topic.

Keep in mind that the Planning Your Course of Study Tool is only a starting point. You should not use it as your exclusive source of information. Please talk to faculty and other students to select your courses.

Portions of the descriptions on this site were adapted with permission from Andrew J. McClurg, Christine Coughlin & Nancy Levit, Law Jobs: The Complete Guide (West Academic 2019) & National Jurist, Hot Law Jobs for the Next Decade (Fall 2021).