It is not a surprise that the world of law has so many different sectors and areas, this can make it so hard to choose what area you want to go into. You have commercial, corporate, human rights, energy, litigation, technology and so much more.
Now, if you were of the lucky few who arrived at your first law lecture knowing what area you would like to go into. Good for you. But, for the rest of us who have the daily battle of confusion, frustration and indecisiveness… I feel your pain.
I came into law school full of passion and hope, wanting to fight the bad guy and help people. My passion for human rights was further motivated by my father and his work with UNICEF. I spent all 4 years focusing purely on human rights and international modules. I had made the decision fairly early on that I did not want to qualify as a solicitor and made the decision to work for the UN.
Forward to now… I am a fresh graduate who has changed her mind. For the past two months, I have been learning about commercial law and what it means to be commercially aware. My life is encompassed by economics, finance and politics. I am fascinated by economic concepts, financial instruments and the world of business. Getting my head around the idea that being a lawyer means far more than studying law at University was very hard. You have to understand that law firms are a business and they need to make a profit. Not only that but, their clients want to also make a profit, therefore, you must know about what is going on in their sector in order to provide them with the best advice. Does this seem too much? Yeah, it does. But! Is it interesting and heart fluttering? Absolutely! And here is where my problem lies.
I have no idea which sector to choose? Human rights or commercial law? Helping people or helping businesses (who have people). Shall I go after my first love and passion or shall I choose this exciting and slightly terrifying new path?
The answer is, none. I don’t have to choose… yet. What I need is experience. I need to stick my nose in both sectors, work in the environment and only then can my questions be answered. I don’t have to choose because I have time to choose and I never want to rush a decision that I will later regret.
Another thing I realised is, I will have to be commercially aware either way, whether I go into commercial law or human rights law. This is because the political, financial and legal world is going to have an impact on both sectors.
For me, the best way to improve your commercial awareness is through discussion. Hence why I took the initiative and created a commercial awareness WhatsApp group chats. In the group, we discuss the news and any new developments going on in the legal, political, financial and economic world. This is done through weekly discussion on certain topics like lawtech, Brexit, US/China trade war and many more topic. We share regarding applications, interviews, assessment centres and networking. Not everyone in the group is a law student. We have graduates, consultants, mathematicians, economic and business students, professionals and many more.
To conclude, my advise for you is to take your time choosing what you want to do. Don’t follow the crowd because that is what you feel is safest. Go with your gut and trust your instinct and most importantly yourself. Remember, this will take time and although you think you don’t have time, you most definitely do. So, go out there, gain experience, be open-minded and live out your best dreams.