Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA
 

Things to Consider When Choosing a LAWS Track

All three LAWS tracks teach the basic skills you will need to be a successful attorney including client counseling, interviewing, standards of professional conduct, legal research, legal analysis, objective and persuasive legal writing, and effective oral communication. Accordingly, regardless of your career interests, any track would be an excellent choice. We have created choice in the LAWS curriculum not because you need to start selecting a specialty this early in your legal career, but simply to make the experience more exciting and interesting for you. The information below is designed to help you select a track that you will enjoy based on your personality, interests and goals.

Selecting a Track Based on the Reasons You Chose to Go to Law School

  • I decided to go to law school because I want to be in a courtroom in front of a jury: choose trial practice.
  • I decided to go to law school because I love to debate: choose appellate advocacy.
  • I decided to go to law school because I am interested in learning more about the conceptual underpinnings of law: choose any track.
  • I decided to go to law school because I believe it will help me pursue my interest in politics: choose any track.
  • I decided to go to law school because I believe it will help me pursue a career in business: choose negotiation.
  • I decided to go to law school because I like to solve mysteries and piece together evidence: choose trial practice.
  • I decided to go to law school because it will offer me financial stability: choose any track.
  • I am not sure why I decided to go to law school: choose any track.

Selecting a Track Based on Your Career Goals

  • I think I want to be a courtroom lawyer trying cases before juries (e.g., prosecutor, criminal defense attorney): choose any track.
    • Trial practice is geared toward arguing cases before juries, but this is only one skill required in courtroom careers.
    • Courtroom careers also frequently require lawyers to argue legal issues to judges, and appellate advocacy is geared toward this second skill;
    • Courtroom careers also frequently require lawyers to negotiate settlement deals, and negotiation is geared toward this third skill.
  • I think I want to be a family lawyer, a children’s rights lawyer, an employment lawyer, a civil rights lawyer, a healthcare lawyer, an immigration lawyer or another type of lawyer who might handle cases before juries, judges or administrative agencies: choose any track.
  • I think I want to be a patent lawyer: choose negotiation.
  • I think I want to be an entertainment lawyer:
    • If you do not yet know what kind of entertainment lawyer you want to be, choose any track.
    • If you want to litigate cases involving copyright, licensing, trademark or other entertainment-related issues, choose appellate advocacy or trial practice.
    • If you want to "make deals," choose negotiation.
  • I think I want to be a businessperson: choose negotiation.
  • I think I want to be a transactional attorney (i.e., an attorney who negotiates business deals): choose negotiation.
  • I think I want to be a judge or work for a judge: choose appellate advocacy.
  • I think I want to teach law: choose any track.
  • I think I want to be a politician or work in the public sector but not as a lawyer: choose any track.
  • I do not want to be a lawyer: choose any track.

Selecting a Track Based on Your Personality

  • I love to talk: all three tracks involving public speaking. In negotiation, you will share your "air-time" with other participants whereas in the other two tracks, you will be speaking solo.
  • I hate public speaking: all three tracks involving public speaking. In negotiation, you will share your "air-time" with other participants whereas in the other two tracks, you will be speaking solo.
  • I love to debate: choose appellate advocacy.
  • I love to solve disputes and keep the peace: choose negotiation.
  • I love to tell stories: choose trial practice.
  • I love to solve mysteries and piece together evidence: choose trial practice.
  • I am a people person: all three tracks require good people skills.