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by Rachel Marx Boufford | April 10, 2013


What does a securities litigator do all day? Which courses are recommended for budding private equity attorneys? What does it actually mean to be an “international lawyer”?

Unfortunately, a traditional law school curriculum doesn’t do much to help students figure out what it’s really like to practice in different areas of the law. That’s where our new guide—Practice Perspectives: Vault’s Guide to Legal Practice Areas—comes in.

Practice Perspectives is the insider’s guide to what it’s really like to be a practicing attorney in more than 20 different areas* of the law. Whether you’re preparing for on-campus interviews, already have a summer associate job in the bag, are looking to make a lateral move, or are considering applying to law school, Practice Perspectives is a vital career exploration tool. In the guide, you’ll find more than 30 interviews with attorneys who are at the top of their fields at some of the most prestigious law firms** in the country. We asked these partners and associates all about their specific practice areas—the types of clients they represent, the best and worst aspects of working in their chosen fields, and what misconceptions exists about their specialties.

Each attorney featured in the guide answered the following questions:

  • What, substantively, does your practice area entail?
  • What types of clients do you represent?
  • What types of deals and/or cases do you work on?
  • How did you decide to practice in your area?
  • What is a typical day or week like in your practice area?
  • What is the best thing about your practice area?
  • What is the most challenging aspect of your practice area?
  • What training, classes, experience or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?
  • What misconceptions exist about your practice area? What do you wish you had known before joining your practice area?
  • What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

If your school subscribes to Vault’s Career Insider, you can download Practice Perspectives for free through your school’s career services website. Otherwise, check out the guide here: Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.

*Practice areas covered in the guide include Antitrust; Appellate Litigation; Bankruptcy/Creditors' Rights; Clean Technology/Renewable Energy; Energy, Oil & Gas; Financial Services; Commercial Litigation; Corporate; Intellectual Property; International Law; Intellectual Property; IP Boutiques; Labor and Employment; Litigation Boutiques; Mergers & Acquisitions; Private Equity; Products Liability; Real Estate; Securities; Securities Litigation; Tax; Technology; and White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations.

**The attorneys interviewed come from Allen & Overy, Cleary Gottlieb, Cooley, Davis Polk, Dechert, Finnegan, Freshfields, Goulston & Storrs, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear, Latham, Littler Mendelson, Mayer Brown, Milbank, Molo Lamken, Orrick, Paul Hastings, Ropes & Gray, Seyfarth Shaw, Skadden, Sullivan & Cromwell, Weil, and White & Case.


Filed Under: Job Search|Law