Serve Specific Clients or Causes

Many students come to law school wanting to serve a specific client group, or develop that goal as they move through their education. Different types of clients are associated with specific subject matter specialties and practice settings, and distinct rewards and demands for lawyers working with them.


Low income individuals

Lawyers focused on serving low income individuals:

  • Specialize in areas such as child welfare, consumer, criminal defense, disability, elder law, employment, government benefits (social security, veterans benefits and a wide range of other programs), health (Medicaid & Medicare), family, housing, immigration law, and post-prison re-entry
  • Practice with civil legal aid providers, public defenders and small firms
  • Face demands including heavy caseloads, limited staff support, and working with clients who are experiencing trauma. Lawyers working with them can be secondarily affected and must remain empathetic while setting emotional boundaries. Hours required vary.
  •  Enjoy rewards that include making a difference by helping individuals or changing public policies, intellectual and interpersonal challenge, especially when work also involves representing causes, groups and communities. but, typically, modest salaries
  •  Possess credentials that include, for many non-profit settings, involvement in clinics, externships, and volunteer work that demonstrate commitment to the work and clients
  • Need relevant skills, knowledge, and experience

Moderate income individuals

Lawyers focused on serving moderate income individuals:

  • Specialize in areas such as consumer, criminal defense, disability, elder law and estate planning, employment, family, government benefits (social security, veterans benefits), immigration and plaintiff’s personal injury law
  • Practice primarily in small to medium size firms and occasionally with the Judge Adjutant General (JAG) Corps
  • Face demands including law practice management, intensive client interaction, focus on problem solving beyond narrow legal issues
  • Enjoy rewards including helping individuals, reforming unjust laws, and maintaining control over their own work
  • Need relevant lawyering and practice management skills, knowledge, and interpersonal skills

High income individuals

Lawyers focused on serving high income individuals:

  • Specialize in areas such as family law, estate planning, and advising closely held businesses
  • Practice in firms of all sizes, including many solo and small-firm practices.
  • Enjoy rewards including the satisfaction of strengthening businesses and helping families; ability to define the scope of their practice; opportunity to generate a substantial income based on their abilities.
  • Need tax and broad-based business training and interpersonal communication, client development, and client minding skills

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