The legal world has a lot of branches and niches. One very important branch of law is family law. Divorce cases, property disputes, child custody cases, child support issues, and union matters are all handled by family lawyers. The legal field in itself is a very lucrative career option. Family law can be as interesting as criminal law if one has the aptitude for it. Moreover, family lawyers have no shortage of clients due to the high volume of cases involving domestic relationships and domestic disputes. Moreover, decent family lawyers also have good prices, and you can make good money in this field. For instance, family lawyers Gold Coast charge around $250 per hour on average. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about becoming a family lawyer.
What Does a Family Lawyer Do?
A family lawyer handles cases that involve domestic disputes and domestic relationships. Divorce cases, child custody cases, alimony disputes, property settlements, legitimacy cases, union cases, and security orders fall under family law’s purview. Thus, family lawyers have no shortage of cases. Consequently, some family lawyers even choose to specialize in niches under family law such as divorce law and child abuse law. A family lawyer can guide single or multiple parties throughout the process of settling a domestic dispute.
Steps to Become a Family Lawyer
1. The Undergraduate Degree
The first and foremost step to becoming a family lawyer is to get an undergraduate degree as soon as you step out of school. It is not necessary to enroll in pre-law programs. You can get an undergraduate degree in any field and still apply for law school. However, it is recommended that you go for an undergraduate degree that will help you with your law career later on. For instance, going for an English Literature undergraduate degree can be a good choice as it will improve your reading and writing skills, both of which are highly valued in the field of law. You can apply to law schools and write standardized tests during the last year of your undergraduate degree. Get in touch with your seniors who have chosen the same career path, and get advice from your professors. If you have good relationships with your professors, they can write you recommendation letters that will greatly improve your chances to get into elite law schools once you graduate.
2. The Law School and The Law License
This is where your real training and education to become a lawyer will begin. Get admitted into a decent law school. You can also apply to elite schools abroad, such as Harvard and Oxford. Once you get into a law school, choose subjects that are in some way related to family law. Subjects such as constitutional law, criminal law, and property law will definitely aid you in your journey to become a family lawyer. During your final years, you will be able to take up specialized courses in family law that will include topics such as divorce, adoption, child custody, and much more. These final years will be significant for your career as a family lawyer. You will have to pass a test of some kind depending upon the country you’re situated in to become a full-fledged lawyer. This is necessary in order to get a law license. You cannot begin your practice without a law license. In the United States, you will have to pass the bar. However, every country has different requirements. For instance, in Australia, there is no bar test. But, you have to pass an examination called the “Priestley 11”.
Ensure that you take part in conferences, research, and extra-curricular events to build a solid curriculum vitae. If your school offers you an internship, make sure to accept it and work hard to build a network. This will greatly benefit you in your professional career as a family lawyer.
Once you get your law license, you can continue going for more specialized courses while practicing. You can also opt for a Master’s degree. It’s not necessarily true that you have to practice family law after you specialize in it. You can also go on to become a family law professor and enter academia as a researcher.
Is It for You?
Before you begin your journey to become a family lawyer, it is important to consider whether it is the right fit for you or not. Here is a list of some pros and cons to becoming a family lawyer that will help you make that decision:
- It’s a branch of the legal field that has no shortage of cases. Thus, you will never be out of work.
- You can take up a wide variety of cases, from those involving divorce to property disputes.
- You will end up making a difference in your clients’ lives. You will be able to help people on the ground level and truly make a difference.
- There is a lot of competition in family law due to its lucrative nature. Thus, you will have to work hard during your college days in order to succeed as a family lawyer.
- Being a family lawyer can drain you emotionally. A family lawyer often connects with their client on an emotional and personal level. Thus, this job can be very emotionally taxing.
With these pros and cons in mind, you will easily be able to decide whether you want to go for it or not. If you have a high EQ, you’ll probably do well as a family lawyer.