Career Paths - Career Services Administration

Career Paths in Law – General

Official Guide to Legal Specialties

The Official Guide to Legal Specialties, Lisa Abrams

NALP/BarBri, 2000. Based on interviews with 130 lawyers from a wide variety of practice settings in both the private and public sector, this book is packed with information on what day-to-day practice is like in 30 specialty areas.
Read Bulletin article (PDF)
Available in NALP's Bookstore


The Right Moves: Job Search and Career Development Strategies for Lawyers, 2nd Edition, Valerie A. Fontaine

NALP, 2013. Legal search consultant Valerie Fontaine shares proven secrets for success in a changing legal marketplace. Unlike the many books addressed to law students and new lawyers, Fontaine's book is meant for lawyers at all stages of their careers, including partners. It's also for all lawyers who want to position themselves for success within their current organizations as well as for lawyers seeking a transition. This substantially revised second edition includes extensive commentary on continuing changes in the way law is being practiced today. "The Right Moves is an essential resource for lawyers contemplating a career move today or in the future," notes Ida O. Abbott, author of The Lawyer's Guide to Mentoring and Lawyers' Professional Development. It covers far more than just changing jobs."
Available in NALP's Bookstore


Choosing Small, Choosing Smart: The Job Seeker's Guide to Small Law Firms, Revised 3rd Edition, Donna Gerson

Revised 3rd edition, NALP, 2012. Donna Gerson's popular Choosing Small, Choosing Smart has been substantially revised and updated to address the realities of today's legal employment market. Gerson, a consultant and former career services professional, offers readers comprehensive information about how to conduct research to identify small firms, network, get hired, negotiate salary and benefits, and enjoy a successful career. She has interviewed small firm practitioners across the U.S. to learn about their career paths and what influences their hiring decisions, and she lectures at law schools across the country and understands students' concerns. Special "spotlight" sidebars offer advice on specific geographic markets and on rural law firms.
Available in NALP's Bookstore

The Lawyer's Career Management Handbook

The Lawyer's Career Management Handbook: Your Bridge to a Satisfying Career, Marcia Pennington Shannon, Managing Editor

West, 2010. This handbook provides an impressive 600+ pages of career advice edited by Marcia Pennington Shannon of Shannon & Manch LLP, with contributions from a number of Shannon & Manch staffers, most with extensive prior experience as NALP members. The book begins with 10 chapters addressing "Who Am I?" and continues with 19 chapters on job searching for both private sector and public service jobs, 17 chapters on success on the job, and three closing chapters on broader topics of success in life. Extensive examples and checklists (from self-assessment exercises to sample resumes) are provided, and the book ends with extensive resource lists.
Available in NALP's Bookstore


The New What Can You Do with a Law Degree? Dr. Larry Richard and Tanya Hanson

DecisionBooks, 2012. In this all new 6th edition of a law career classic, lawyers are introduced to a unique, 5-part model for career satisfaction based on a well-established principle that the better the fit between your career identity and your job, the greater your long-term satisfaction. This model developed by author Larry Richard, JD/PhD, will help readers identify their career identities so they can find lifelong satisfaction in the traditional practice of law, or through alternative work arrangements or career choices. This book contains career exercises, practical career-finding techniques, and a compendium of 800+ ways to use a law degree inside, outside, or around the law.
Available in NALP's Bookstore


Practicing Law in Small-Town America, Richard L. Hermann

ABA, 2012. In three distinct and thorough parts, this book paints a picture of what small-town practice is like in its rich diversity, examines how local practitioners got to where they are, and details what an aspiring small-town lawyer needs to know and do in order to locate in, or relocate to, a small community. Topics addressed in detail include defining "small-town America"; how small-town practice has changed; what's different about small towns; diverse types of practice; tradeoffs; where to locate; and what to do when you get there. Numerous profiles of small-town practitioners are featured, and there are appendices on what's out there, how to do small-town due diligence, and best and worst places to relocate, as well as a thorough bibliography and an in-depth look at one of the representative towns featured in the book. With communications and transportation revolutions spreading the advantages and amenities of big cities into less populous areas, small-town America is not what it used to be, yet in many cases these areas are still very much under-served by the legal community. Learn how to find and understand the factors --  economic, social, demographic, political, legislative, technological, historical, domestic, and international  -- that will impact a small-town practice and life.
Available in NALP's Bookstore



Becoming a Rural Lawyer: A Personal Guide to Establishing a Small Town Practice, Bruce M. Cameron

DecisionBooks, 2013. This third volume in The New Lawyer's Survival Guide series from DecisionBooks is by Bruce Cameron, a rural solo who is a leading observer of practicing law in rural America through his Rurallawyer.com blog. In his slim, readable handbook, Cameron helps readers decide whether they are meant to be small town lawyers; learn the 8 myths of practicing rural or small town law; discover the 5 emerging "hot" areas of rural practice; find the right small town to establish a practice; find the under-exploited niches in the legal job market; appreciate the rhythms and unwritten rules of small town life; and learn what new lawyers must do to prepare for a rural legal practice. This book and Richard Hermann's Practicing Law in Small-Town America are very different books and both well worth reading by law students or lawyers considering practice in a small town or rural area in the U.S., and perhaps even by those who have not yet considered this option.
Available in NALP's Bookstore


Small FIrms, Big Opportunity: How to Get Hired (and Succeed) in the New Legal Economy, Linda Calvert Hanson and Samantha Williams

DecisionBooks, 2012. As law graduates face one of the most challenging legal markets ever, small to mid-sized law firms have become the destination for an increasingly large percentage of graduates. Two experienced NALP members explain how to identify where the small firm jobs are, how to get hired, and how to succeed in small firm practice. Topics include the nine advantages of small firm practice; the recruiting and hiring cycle of small firms; when, where, and how to reach out to small firms; and the core competencies that can improve your chances of getting hired. This book is part of DecisionBooks' New Lawyer's Survival Guide Series.
Available in NALP's Bookstore


Solo By Choice 2011-2012: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be, Carolyn Elefant
DecisionBooks, 2011. It's not easy to decide to become a solo practitioner right out of law school or soon afterward. This book is addressed particularly to law students and relatively recent law graduates who are contemplating that decision.
Read Bulletin review (PDF) (This review is of the first edition)
Available in NALP's Bookstore


Solo By Choice: The Companion Guide, Carolyn Elefant
DecisionBooks, 2011. The Companion Guide to Solo by Choice introduces its readers to some 50 solo practitioners from around the country at all different stages of their law careers and in many types of practices, all of whom volunteer their insights, tips, first-hand lessons, and inspiration and encouragement to help new and prospective solos. Their testimony reinforces the message that there are as many ways to start a law firm as there are solos. Their responses to 34 key questions also offer an important form of mentorship for anyone who is considering or has recently embarked on solo practice.
Available in NALP's Bookstore

How to Start and Build a Law Practice


How to Start and Build a Law Practice, 5th Edition, Jay Foonberg

American Bar Association, 2004. With each new edition, this popular primer on establishing a law practice keeps getting bigger. Weighing in at more than 600 pages, the Fifth Edition adds yet more content to a resource already considered a classic in its field. The book is organized into nine basic sections, each with numerous chapters: Getting Started, Getting Located, Getting Equipped, Getting Clients, Setting Fees, Managing the Law Office, Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Resources and Advice, and Quality of Life. The checklists, business plan template, sample forms and letters, and other illustrations add tremendously to the usefulness of this basic primer.
Available in NALP's Bookstore


The Independence Track: How to Succeed as a Freelance Attorney, Marina Modlin

At a time when solo firms and temp agencies have garnered most of the coverage, this book discusses an alternative career path that is likely much more feasible for most recent law graduates. Author Marina Modlin recounts how she came to work as a full-time, self-employed freelance attorney for two years and learned how to practice a dozen different types of law, how to network, and how to run a company. Ultimately, Modlin established a solo practice, but this book focuses on what it means to work as a self-employed attorney, including how to get work, how to establish a business infrastrucure, and how to do the work. Her advice is wide-ranging and extremely readable. She's honest about the hard work and life choices involved without being condescending. Her book is an excellent and much-needed resource for anyone considering becoming a freelance attorney.
Available in NALP's Bookstore


The Road to Independence: 101 Women's Journeys to Starting Their Own Law Firms

ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, 2011. At once inspirational and practical, this book is a collection of 101 letters from women who have created their own law firms, either as solo practitioners or with others. Brimming with business-savvy tips for starting and growing a practice, the letters also address the larger themes of becoming a business woman, choosing a practice area true to one's passion, and controlling not only one's days but one's destiny.
Available in NALP's Bookstore

Complete Guide to Contract Lawyering

The Complete Guide to Contract Lawyering: What Every Lawyer and Law Firm Needs to Know about Temporary Legal Services, 3rd Edition, Deborah Arron and Deborah Guyol

DecisionBooks, 2003. This book is an excellent resource for the increasing numbers of law students and lawyers who are considering contract lawyering.
Read Bulletin review (PDF)
Available in NALP's Bookstore

The Legal Career Guide

The Legal Career Guide: From Law Student to Lawyer, Gary Munneke

ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2002. This guide offers step-by-step advice on planning a law career, executing a job search, and moving into the legal market.
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Available in NALP's Bookstore

Going In-House

Going In-House: A Guide for Law Students and Recent Graduates, Donna Gerson

NALP, Updated 2003. This 32-page booklet discusses the opportunities available in corporate legal departments, including the advantages and disadvantages of in-house practice.
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Available in NALP's Bookstore

Should You Really Be a Lawyer

Should You Really Be a Lawyer? — The Guide to Smart Career Choices Before, During & After Law School, Deborah Schneider and Gary Belsky

DecisionBooks, 2004. This book is divided into three sections: (1) Should You Really Go to Law School? (2) Should You Really Stay in Law School? and (3) Should You Really Practice Law? It is thus covers the gamut from pre-law decisions to consideration of private practice versus an alternative career.
Read Bulletin review (PDF)
Available in NALP's Bookstore



Career Paths in Law — Specific

See Public Service for careers in public service.

Official Guide to Legal Specialties

The Official Guide to Legal Specialties, Lisa Abrams

NALP/BarBri, 2000. Based on interviews with 130 lawyers from a wide variety of practice settings in both the private and public sector, this book is packed with information on what day-to-day practice is like in 30 specialty areas.
Read Bulletin article (PDF)
Available in NALP's Bookstore


Careers in Health Law and Life Sciences

American Health Lawyers Association and NALP, 2010. This 16-page booklet-style brochure provides an overview for law students and lawyers considering a career in health law, offering an introduction to the field; descriptions of the various health law practice settings; the answers to frequently asked questions on preparing for a career in health law; and selected online resources. Types of health law practices addressed include a wide variety of settings, from large to small firms to government agencies, corporations, healthcare provider organizations, capital financing organizations, and more. FAQs include advice on skills needed for the field of health law, course preparation, whether an advanced degree such as an LLM is helpful, job search resources, and transitioning from a private law practice to a governmental position.
Available in NALP's Bookstore

Careers in International Law

Careers in International Law, 3rd Edition, Salli A. Swartz, Editor

American Bar Association, ABA Career Series, 2008. Rather than being a single explanation of career paths in international law, this volume suggests some of the breadth, variety, and substance of the field by presenting chapters by lawyers in the field.
Available in NALP's Bookstore


Careers in Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, Prof. James T. O'Reilly, Editor

American Bar Association, Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, 2010. This book begins with an explanation of what administrative law is (and isn't) and then explores the wide variety of career paths possible within the field, as well as the skill sets and preparation needed for careers in administrative law. Seventeen veteran administrative law practitioners then share advice on what they think someone considering their career field should know. The veteran practitioners include an environmental practitioner, an immigration lawyer, an election lawyer, a municipal administrative lawyer, a product safety lawyer, an association lawyer, and additional widely varied types of practitioners. NALP member Sean Rhiney of the University of Cincinnati College of Law contributed a chapter sharing a career counselor's perspective on the field.
Available in NALP's Bookstore


Careers in Criminal Law, Ellen Brotman, Editor

American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section, 2010. This book is designed not only to explain opportunities and career paths in criminal law but also to give readers insights into the type of person who will do well in a career in criminal law. The book is organized into five parts: Part I focuses on traditional criminal defense, including public defending, white collar criminal defense, big firm practice, solo practice, and appellate and post-conviction advocacy. Part II shifts the focus to those who prosecute in state, federal, and juvenile courts. Part III describes the journeys of three judges in very different venues, and Part IV explores careers related to prisoner advocacy and re-entry. Finally, Part V presents accounts of several careers in criminal law that defy categorization.
Available in NALP's Bookstore


Careers in Animal Law, Yolanda Eisenstein

American Bar Association, 2011. This book explains the varied career paths and practice settings possible in one of the fastest growing legal disciplines. Animal law is concerned with protecting and improving the lives of animals through city ordinances, state and federal laws, international treaties, and cases that impact animals. This book is for law students interested in animal law as well as seasoned lawyers seeking a new direction. It will help readers gain an overview of the field from a practicing animal lawyer and professor of animal law; forge a successful animal law career whether in a law firm, government agency, corporation, nonprofit organization, or in solo practice; learn career tips from a series of animal-lawyer profiles; and understand evolving trends in legislation, litigation, and academia that will change the face of animal law in decades to come.
Available in NALP's Bookstore



Career Services Administration


Law School Career Services Survey, NALP

This biennial survey provides information on salaries, education levels, and job responsibilities of career services professionals as well as information on career services offices.
Available as a free PDF download to NALP members (login required).
Non-members may purchase through NALP's Bookstore.

Perspectives on Career Services

Perspectives on Career Services, NALP

2004. More than 30 NALP members share their expertise and perspectives on the constituencies of the career services office; skills and strategies for success; the annual calendar; programming; career fairs; marketing; and legal and ethical issues. This book is directed particularly to those new to the field, but seasoned veterans will also find that their colleagues' perspectives will spark new ideas.
View Table of Contents (PDF)
Read more
Available in NALP's Bookstore

Counseling Basics

Counseling Basics for Legal Career Professionals

NALP, 2004. Because increasing numbers are entering career services with legal experience but no training in counseling, a NALP committee prepared this pamphlet, which offers a basic introduction to counseling techniques and explains the difference between "counseling" and "advising."
Read more
Available in NALP's Bookstore


For additional information and handouts on career services administration, see the Professional Resources > Career Services section of the NALP website.
GWU Aug_Sept 2014
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