One common question that paralegal students often consider is what practice area to pursue. One piece of advice is to consider all opportunities and keep your options open. Some legal practice areas can vary significantly in the type of work performed. For example, criminal law and estate planning are two common practices areas that vary significantly. Some practice areas don’t change much while other practice areas come and go. Getting in at the front end of an emerging practice area can give a person an advantage over those who want until the practice area is more established.
Each year, FindLaw asks its team of legal experts for predictions on what will be the hot practice areas for that year. According to FindLaw[B1] , the top hot legal topics for 2011 are:
9. Facebook/Online Privacy
7. Divorce/Child Custody
6. TSA Security Concerns
5. Gay Rights: Same Sex Marriage and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
1. Jobs, jobs, jobs
The National Jurist Magazine also selected its hottest practice area. According to the National Jurist Magazine [B2] editors, the hottest practice areas are labor and employment, bankruptcy/foreclosure, healthcare, intellectual property, energy/environmental, and emerging companies.
Both FindLaw and the National Jurist Magazine list labor/employment and healthcare as hot areas of the law which is not surprising. In the field of healthcare, appeals are currently pending in the “Obamacare” cases dealing with the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act . Congress passed the Act last year as part of a massive health care overhaul. If there is a split among the different courts, it is possible that the U.S. Supreme Court may eventually consider the constitutionality of the health care legislation and other healthcare cases.