Legal Specialization

Women In Law Edition 22'

Legal Practices


Mariette Rafik

The word "specialization" has many diverse meanings. For me, specialization is a system of certification of expertise, which includes accepted measures of professionalism, knowledge, and independence. Today, legal specialization is an unexceptional aspect of the profession of law.

The growing need for the concentration of legal practice in specific areas of the law is a reality for both lawyers and the public. The assumption that every person licensed to practice law is qualified in all areas is no longer valid.

As a law student or a young attorney, you may already know precisely which field of law you would like to practice, or you may still not know which legal speciality you would like to pursue. You will probably be asking yourself whether it is better to practice a niche specialty or diversify your skillset. Which branch of law is the easiest to enter? Which law firm offers the best fit? Is it better to work in-house? Countless young attorneys and students are wrestling with the same questions. Let me try to help you with this issue if you may not have settled on your specialization yet.

First, there is no right or wrong way to approach your career path. I encourage you to pursue your passion. My passion was in the construction field.

So, if you want to gain experience across a wide range of specialties, you may consider internships in those fields and try to begin this early in your second or third year of law school. I did so at two of the biggest construction companies in Egypt. However, if you already have some sense of the fields that are most interesting to you, you may get started in a law firm, where you will receive in-depth experience regarding those fields and be able to determine whether it’s the right fit for you or not.

Consult with attorneys and advisors, your professors, and the attorneys at the local law firms. Take advantage of their experience and discuss the pros and cons of specific specialties. You will be able to make an educated decision as to which field you would enjoy the most and try to work or volunteer in these fields.

You have to keep an eye on the economy because the legal world can be affected by the ups and downs of the economy, some areas more than others. For example, in Egypt, the construction field is flourishing and booming, so the demand for lawyers specializing in the construction field is increasing at the same rate as in the industrial field, so you have to do some research on your areas of interest and see how the job market for certain fields varies.

Consider additional degrees. Even after law school, keeping your skills sharp and up-to-date with current information and regulations will help maximize your performance.

Think about your personality. It's important to sit down and think about how you like to work and what sort of work environment suits you. You may prefer law firms, in-house, banks, etc.

By seeking insights from those already involved in the field and following your passion, you will be more likely to settle into an area of law that you will enjoy for many years.