10 Tips for Practicing in Family Law
In March 2022, the Family Law Section participated in a law student roundtable discussion that provided current law students with a better understanding on the experiences, rewards, and challenges practicing attorneys have faced in Family Law while offering insight on the various career opportunities available.
From this discussion Ella Cohen, Esq., from Mosberg Sharma Stambleck Gross LLP, compiled 10 tips for law students who are pursuing a career of practicing in Family Law:
- Network with practicing matrimonial lawyers.
Join the NYSBA Family Law Section and attend events where you can meet practicing attorneys in the field. This is a great way to make connections and learn about the practice.
- Take a Family Law class in law school.
Most law schools offer several classes on Family & Matrimonial law. You’ll become familiar with the black letter law and meet classmates and professors with similar interests. As a bonus, you’ll be better prepared for the bar exam!
- Consider registering for Tax Law.
As a matrimonial lawyer, you’ll encounter both personal and business tax issues. By taking a Tax Law class in law school, you can become familiar with tax concepts and will have a leg up when you begin your practice.
Spend your summer interning for a matrimonial law firm or a non-profit that specializes in family law legal services. You will learn how to interact with individual clients and gain hands-on experience.
- Apply to work for a NY Supreme Court justice.
If you work as a court attorney to a Supreme Court justice after law school, you’ll encounter a variety of complicated matrimonial and family law issues and meet attorneys who practice in the field.
- Volunteer to do pro bono clinical work.
In law school, you can get court experience early on by participating in a family law clinic. Mediation clinics are also an excellent way to learn skills that will make you a better family law lawyer.
- Find a mentor.
Family law attorneys are excited to help young lawyers and law students – reach out to law school alumni or members of the NYSBA and ask questions about their practice.
- Write articles.
Join a family law journal at your law school or volunteer to write articles for bar associations like the NYSBA. You’ll learn about the law and can add it to your resume to help demonstrate your interest.
- Attend seminars, CLE lectures, and panels.
You’ll meet seasoned practitioners and expand your network while learning about interesting new developments in family law.
- Remember that private practice is not the only option.
There are so many ways to practice family law. You can work for a government agency, like ACS, a non-profit legal services organization, a boutique law firm, or even a large firm. No matter what kind of environment you want to work in, there is likely a way to practice family law!
For more information and resources for law students, please visit nysba.org/lawstudent