Most students who go into law school have a good idea what they want to do. But that's not always the career path they end up on. There are pros and cons with all of them and a good attorney considers all options before moving forward.
Defense Attorney - This is an exciting career path that is both romanticized and demonized. Defending those accused of crimes is an essential function of guarding individual Constitutional rights. Depending on the kinds of cases you take, this occupation can be very satisfying and lucrative. But the work isn't always glamorous. A DUI lawyer in Utah, for instance, takes on many of the most undesireable cases without the arousing courtroom scenes people often see on TV.
Public Prosecutor - These are the people who get to send criminals to prison. This can be a very satisfying career for those who go into law wanting to confront crime and corruption. As a public servant your choices on the job and off, your politics and personal life will be highly scrutinized. It can be a high profile career and allow you to affect big change if you can endure the spotlight well.
Civil Law - Representing parties in civil cases can also be very exciting and lucrative. You can settle down anywhere as a civil attorney whereas other careers may require you to practice in certain cities. However, civil law is often a saturated field in many markets. Still, a skilled personal injury lawyer from Arlington, TX, can gain notoriety by practicing ethically and consistently winning cases.
Family Law - This career path isn't the most lucrative option, but it gives great satisfaction to those who practice. Case work allows you to provide help for troubled teenagers and children you represent and their families. You can also work to affect how family law is written. Be aware that with the satisfaction of helping kids, this can also be an emotionally stressful career.
Business Law - This is a great track for people who have a head for business and love fast moving environments and high profile cases. You may be part of a firm that specializes in business to business law or you might work as in-house counsel for a large corporation. The pay is good and the lifestyle is exciting, but you may go days at a time without ever seeing the light of day and weeks without being home in time for dinner. Of course there are other career paths including non-litigation oriented options and you can change jobs at any time during your career. The best way to learn about a career path that looks interesting to you is to talk to someone who practices it.