What Are Some Legal Careers You Can Consider If You Don’t Want to Work in Criminal or Corporate Law?

Mar 15, 2018 by

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Working as a lawyer is a dream for a lot of people, but while you are on the study path to becoming a qualified legal practitioner, you will probably face some pressure to start thinking towards what field of law you eventually want to end up working in. While it is true that some people don’t decide on this until later, after they have done a training contract and have some experience in working for a law firm, the earlier you know which type of law you want to spend your career working in the more you can focus on what you study and the companies you apply to when you are still starting out, which can help you find success in your chosen field in the long run.

In the UK, there are numerous types of law that are in demand, and there are a lot of interesting paths your career can take. Criminal law is obviously one of them, as is working as a lawyer for businesses. However, if neither of these appeals to you – perhaps because you want to work in a field that benefits ordinary people rather than companies, or you don’t like the idea of working in the justice system, then there are lots of other options for specialisms that can be just as lucrative and can also be more in demand depending on your region.

Here are a few legal career paths that might be of interest to you if you don’t intend to work in corporate or criminal law:

Medical Law

The field of medical malpractice law is one where there are thousands of cases every year. The NHS alone paid out £1.7 billion in compensation claims in 2016 and £1.4 billion in 2015 (the latest figures available), showing both that there is a significant demand for medical negligence solicitors and that this demand is increasing year on year.

Medical negligence claims arise in all kinds of situations, and the NHS is only part of it – there are also claims against private practices and individual surgeons, for instance in the field of cosmetic surgery, which add further millions onto the total value of medical negligence claims UK each year.

In some of these cases, surgical errors have occurred, where a patient may have been given incorrect surgery or even had items from surgery left inside their bodies. In others, medical negligence during pregnancy can lead to long term health problems for a child, such as cerebral palsy, or for the mother. Then there are cases of missed diagnoses, treatment given based on false positives, and errors in medicine prescriptions. In private medicine, there can also be issues where someone has been mis-sold a treatment or procedure (for instance elective cosmetic surgery) or pressured into having a treatment or surgery when other options might have been preferable.

As you can see, medical negligence solicitors do some pretty diverse work, and due to the fact that healthcare is in demand everywhere, there are opportunities to work for medical negligence lawyers in all parts of the country. The only issue with going into this area is that there’s a lot of competition – this is why many firms such as The Medical Negligence Experts have begun to provide free advice services, as well as a no win no fee policy as it sets them apart from others in their field. As a new firm coming into this area of law, you’ll need to check out the competition, in order to keep up with the new offers and policies that attract clients.

Property and Estate Law

While getting on the property ladder may not be the easiest thing to do anymore, there is no denying that a lot of people move house every year, and buying and selling homes requires solicitors. Equally, people who buy properties to let out need lawyers, and there are also legal needs arising when property and other assets are passed down through inheritance.

Property and estate law is one of the few areas of law aside from tax that almost everybody will have a need for at some point in their lives, so if you like the idea of doing the kind of legal work that provides a much-needed public service, as well as being financially secure and rewarding, then this could be a field that might interest you.

As with medical negligence law, property law is a field where there is a demand everywhere in the country, so it can be a good choice if you want to make a reliable living as a lawyer but prefer the idea of living in a rural area where there is less demand for other types of law.

Divorce and Family Law

Another time when people may need to consult lawyers is if they have domestic issues that affect their property or child custody. Divorce law is another field where you get to work with ordinary members of the public and help them navigate a legally difficult time in their lives. Some divorce cases are very simple, whereas others involve complicated negotiations and offers, and this means that the work can be quite interesting.

With divorces where children are involved, a big part of the proceedings can also be arranging custody, visitation rights, and other conditions affecting how the parents will continue to raise the child after the family unit has been dissolved. This isn’t the only thing that lawyers concerned with family law work with, however child custody can be a big part of it. This can make it a good area to work in if you like the idea of your legal career benefiting vulnerable people and helping to ensure families find satisfactory arrangements after periods of change and upheaval.

Personal Injury Law

One of the most well-known fields of law that can affect people from all walks of life is personal injury – perhaps due to the fact it is one of the only areas of law where firms regularly advertise on TV! Personal injury compensation is in some ways similar to medical negligence and malpractice claims, in that as a lawyer you would be representing people whose lives have been negatively affected by something that was the fault of an individual or organisation who could have been realistically expected to prevent such an incident.

Personal injury claims can be against individuals, the claimant’s employers, third party businesses or even government agencies in some cases and can range in value into the millions depending on how serious the consequences of the injury were. In cases where the victim is permanently disabled, their ability to work for the medium to long term in their previous capacity is affected, or they require ongoing medical care, compensation pay-outs can become quite weighty in order to cover losses and costs.

Most law firms that work in personal injury do so on a no win, no fee basis, and so have a business model based around taking on only cases where success is very likely, meaning a lot of the work of the lawyers can be investigating potential cases and assessing whether they are likely to result in a win or settlement for the client.

As you can see, there are lots of different situations when normal people need the help of a lawyer, and if you are interested in working in a section of the legal industry where you speak to all kinds of different people and can practice wherever you want to live, these can be interesting choices.

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