Blend market opportunity with your experience and passion
As the practice of law continues to develop into a more complex machine, it is becoming advisable for lawyers to choose their niche and become a specialist in a particular field. Finding your legal practice niche could lead to a more in-depth understanding of an aspect of the law that most interests you, an increase in clients, career longevity, and ultimately, more fees. Having a focus isn’t enough anymore, now your focus must be focused. The issue isn’t whether to specialize, it’s what to specialize in.
Is there an under represented or fringe group that requires specialized attention and someone to fight for their rights? Determine a unique or highly marketable group that needs someone to represent not just a single person, but an entire cause.
Consider the community of your practice. If you live in a large city, there is a broad range of options. You can join a law firm and your specialty might be built into the demands of the firm’s existing clients. Practices that require volume in large cities have numbers on their side; more clients mean a greater need for a specialty. With the right specialty, potential clients will travel to you to seek out your council. If you live in a small town, there might not be the need for a certain practice. Small town niches should reflect the needs of the community, such as small businesses law or property concerns.
Try and identify where the market opportunity and your interests intersect. Does criminal law excite you? If so, do you practice in an area that is near a certain type of court? Perhaps your town is a the hub of Municipal cases. Perhaps your town is a hub for Federal district-wide white collar cases. Which side do you prefer to represent? These are all things that you should take into account to help identify your niche. Take malpractice for instance, you can focus on one specific type of doctor. Perhaps you transition from the crowded medical malpractice space to a dental malpractice practice. Think about what inspired you to pursue law in the first place; this inspiration might be the niche for you. This interest or passion might help fuel you through long nights and potential redundancies in caseloads. Become a master in the field you enjoy, then find a market opportunity that allows you to narrow it down.
Finding your niche might be a leap of faith. Project what will be the next big legal hurdle and you could potentially form a stronghold, resulting in an extremely positive response to your findings. For instance, 40 years ago, insurance fraud wasn’t the behemoth it is today. Attorneys who shifted their practice or fell into the space found an opportunity that provided a sustainable career path.
The legal organization that you work for might help determine your specialty as well. Depending on the needs of your firm and the background of your experience, you may get called on to help on the next big Philadelphia patent infringement case. The needs of your law firm and community set the stage for your niche, but only your passion can influence the decision. Find your niche by figuring out how you can best serve yourself so you can best serve the law.