Career Paths

Planning for your professional life begins early in your law school experience. It is important to take the time to explore the numerous career options available to you.  The list below identifies potential paths in order to help you plan and reach your academic and future career goals. Each listing will take you to a page with a brief description of the practice area, as well as suggested resources and representative employers.  While these are some of the more popular practice areas, there are many more. features over 70 core areas of practice, with 190 sub-specialties, and is a great resource to explore. Additionally, check out Major, Lindsey & Africa's Practice Area Summary, a guide to over 50 practice areas.

  1. Administrative Law


    Administrative Law governs the work/activities of government agencies, including areas such as the regulation of health and safety and the administration of disability and welfare programs. Many Administrative Law lawyers spend their career rotating between the private and public sectors and are focused in one specific area of regulation (such as environmental or pharmaceutical). Administrative lawyers in law firms typically help ensure private clients are cooperating with federal regulations from administrative agencies such as the EPA or OSHA. Administrative lawyers in government work at the agencies in creating, promulgating, and enforcing regulations and administrative policies.


    • American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice – including a page on careers in administrative law.

    • International Bar Association, Public Law Committee

    • - Career Guide to Administrative Law

    Representative Employers

    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

    • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

    • Social Security Administration

  2. Alternative Dispute Resolution


    Alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") includes mediation and arbitration, processes which can take place either independently of the court system or during the in-court litigation process. While litigators seek to resolve conflicts in a court of law, mediators work with parties in private settings, helping them to arrive at mutually agreeable decisions. In mediation, decisions are ultimately made by the parties themselves and are non-binding, with parties free to pursue other avenues of redress if they remain dissatisfied. Mediators handle disputes in areas ranging from divorce and child custody agreements to landlord-tenant conflicts, employment discrimination issues, and toxic tort liability.  In arbitration, decisions are made by the arbitrators and are binding on the parties. Arbitrators often handle disputes involving business-related matters, including labor, construction, real estate, insurance and securities, and often they have expertise in particular areas of contention.  ADR is a growing field with opportunities in most government agencies, the private sector, public interest organizations, as well as internationally at entities such as the World Bank, Permanent Court of Arbitration, and many others.



    • Fresno Pacific University has an ADR career page and an ADR and peacebuilding jobs page

    •  - Click on “Education and Training” on the homepage


    • The Justice Institute of British Columbia has a job listing site


    • The National Association for Community Mediation lists job announcements

    • Ombuds Blog

    • Employment opportunities related to the DR field are posted as a public service of The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine

    • The Southern California Mediation Association maintains a website with job listings for members

    For additional advice, see


  3. Antitrust


    Antitrust Law focuses on the statutes and regulations that promote fair and open competition within different industries and geographic markets. Antitrust laws scrutinize monopoly activity, price-fixing and collusion, bid rigging, merger plans between business, price discrimination, group boycotts, and a range of other business conduct that, depending on the circumstances and the impact on the consumer, may run afoul of the law. 

    Antitrust practice  may be divided into two broad categories: (1) litigation/investigations, and (2) mergers. In the first category, an attorney is called on to help a client either defend or prosecute antitrust violations, or to pursue or counsel a person/company through investigations.  The litigation matters could take the form of one competitor in an industry alleging unfair monopolistic or price-fixing conduct on the part of another competitor. Or the suit could be an enforcement action – brought pursuant to civil or criminal laws – in which the government alleges that a business has violated antitrust laws or regulations. With respect to mergers, antitrust attorneys advise their client in the pendency of a mergers & acquisitions deal. Attorneys will file documents with the appropriate regulatory authorities regarding the merger, conduct "due diligence" regarding the merger to learn about relevant facts related to product and geographic market, advise on potential regulatory issues, and if needed, negotiate an outcome that allows the merger to go through.


    Representative Employers


    The main regulators at the federal level are the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. Other agencies may handle industry-specific antitrust issues that arise as part of compliance programs or rate-making duties. At the state level, many state attorneys general are active in bringing antitrust and other consumer actions; there may be state laws that are enforceable in addition to federal laws.

    • Federal Trade Commission –The Bureau of Competition works on mergers and litigation matters related to antitrust. There are several sections within the Bureau, including mergers sections separated by industry, as well as compliance and litigation sections. Regional offices in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York handle investigations.

    • Department of Justice (DOJ) - Antitrust –The Department of Justice handles litigation matters related to antitrust out of Main Justice in DC. Civil Sections are separated by industry; there are also criminal antitrust attorneys in DC and the Chicago, New York, and San Francisco offices.

    • House Judiciary Committee –Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law

    • Senate Committee on the Judiciary –Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights

    • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) –Energy Department (regulates mergers, consolidations, and acquisitions of utilities and pipeline facilities)

    • Comptroller of the Currency (focuses in part on bank mergers)

    Think Tanks:

    • American Antitrust Institute

    • Association of Corporate Counsel

    Private Sector:

    • –Top Antitrust Firms. In addition to defense firms that defend corporations and/or individual facing antitrust scrutiny from regulators or competitors, there are law firms that litigate class action matters against business on behalf of consumers. Some of these plaintiff-side firms are captured in Chambers and Partners.

  4. Appellate Litigation


    In an appeal, a higher court reviews the decision of a lower court, generally the trial court or an administrative agency. Lawyers specializing in this practice handle the process of appealing the lower tribunal's decision. Both the state and federal courts have avenues of appeal for civil and criminal cases. Appeals may happen in a civil or criminal case after trial, or after dismissal of a case. Appellate attorneys may specialize in a practice area, such as criminal appellate work, tax, environmental, or others. High-quality research, analysis, and writing skills are vital. Appellate attorneys must also be skilled oral advocates. Appellate lawyers may work at private law firms, or in state or federal government agencies. The appellate bar includes appellate judges and attorneys who work as staff attorneys for those judges. Firms that hire appellate lawyers target law school graduates who have held judicial clerkships, especially appellate clerkships. Law students or graduates interested in this area need excellent legal research, analytical, oral advocacy, and writing skills. Moot court and law journal experience are also highly regarded experiences when evaluating applicants.


    Representative Employers:

  5. Bankruptcy


    Bankruptcy lawyers represent individual and corporate creditors and debtors in financial restructurings, workouts, bankruptcy cases and other matters involving financially distressed transactions.


    Representative Employers

    • Center for Responsible Lending

    • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

    • - Bankruptcy law firms

  6. Business Law


    Lawyers who choose to practice business law can select from an almost limitless number of environments within which to work. Most select to work in small or large law firms, but many others work as a private or public corporation’s “in house” lawyer (referred to as in house counsel); in federal government agencies (such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service, Office of Management and Budget, Office of Housing and Urban Development); in state agencies (such as a Bureau of Labor and Industries, Workers Compensation Department, Department of Insurance and Finance); in an insurance company; a bank or financial institution; an accounting firm; or an investment banking firm. Business lawyers who practice law can be divided into two general categories: trial lawyers/litigators and transactional lawyers. Business trial lawyers focus on disputes between businesses that end up in court, litigating business issues (such as breach of a contract) rather than criminal law or personal injury. Their days are often filled with meeting clients, conducting depositions, drafting legal documents like motions and pleadings, and appearing in court for trial, motion hearings, or arbitrations. Transactional lawyers spend the better part of their day talking with clients, negotiating contracts with lawyers representing other companies, and drafting contracts and other documents, such as lease agreements, licensing agreements, and the like. Most of their time is spent in their offices and with clients, never in the courtroom. Transactions lawyers also give clients advice on regulatory issues as well as prepare documents required by regulatory agencies, such as the SEC or the IRS.

    International business law covers everything from taxation, trade regulation, human rights and employment law, environmental regulation, to intellectual property and patent law. Most lawyers who practice in this area are “transactional attorneys” which means that they do not go to court. Rather, they engage in the negotiation and drafting of contracts, interpret regulations (such as tax, trade, building code, human rights regulations, etc.), represent clients in business deals and negotiations, help secure financing with lending institutions, and draft documents to protect intellectual property such as patents, trademarks and copyrights.


  7. Child & Youth Advocacy/Juvenile Justice


    Children’s rights and juvenile justice lawyers provide legal defense and protection of children by addressing their social welfare, health, education and special needs. Specific areas of children’s rights practice include child abuse and neglect, child trafficking and labor exploitation and foster care and adoption. The practice of juvenile justice law is interdisciplinary incorporating criminal law, constitutional law, administrative law, education law, mental health law, disability law, immigration law, conditions of confinement, and public benefits law. Children’s rights lawyers work in a range of practice areas, including direct representation via Legal Aid/Legal Services offices, non-profit organizations that advocate on behalf of children through impact litigation and legislative initiatives, government, including local, state, and federal agencies and the courts and private, public interest law firms.


    • ABA Center on Children and the Law includes information on a range of advocacy and reform issues, as well as research, training and technical assistance for children's rights practitioners.

    • ABA Section of Litigation; Children's Rights Litigation includes resources, latest news and announcements and a comprehensive directory of Children's Law Programs.

    • Child Welfare Information Gateway is a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families that provides information, resources and tools covering topics on child welfare, child abuse and neglect, out of home care, adoption, and more.

    • Child & Youth Advocacy/Juvenile Justice curriculum and experiential learning at Southwestern 

    • Harvard Specialty Guide: Children's Rights Law, A Career Guide includes extensive information on children's rights practice settings, along with personal narratives and representative employers.

    • Children's Rights and Juvenile Law provide a basic overview of the practice area as well as useful links to educational resources and selected employers.

    • Juvenile Defense Career Resource Guide (PDF on right side)

    Representative Employers

    • Center for Children's Law and Policy

    • Children’s Law Center of California 

    • Children's Law Group

    • First Star

    • Human Rights Project for Girls

    • Kids in Need of Defense

    • National Juvenile Defender Center

    • National Center for Youth Law 

    • Partnership for Children's Rights

    • U.S. Department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section

    • Voices for America's Children

    Clinics/Internship/Fellowship Programs

  8. Civil Rights


    Civil rights and civil liberties lawyers work in areas of the law that typically fall under the first amendment right to free expression, assembly, and religion (civil liberties), and under fourteenth amendment equal protection (civil rights). Civil rights lawyers work for domestic and international non-profit organizations, federal, state, local and international government agencies and public interest law firms with specialty civil rights practices.


    Representative Employers

    • ACLU

    • The Advancement Project

    • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

    • U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

  9. Communications Law


    The regulation of radio and TV broadcasting falls under Communications Law.  Regulation in this area comes primarily from the federal government because broadcasts transcend state boundaries.  Attorneys in said field are involved in transactional work, governmental policymaking, constitutional analysis, lobbying, negotiating mergers and acquisitions, and advising on business matters. Communications practices are focused in Washington, DC, and have a diverse range of clients from international multimedia corporations to one-station radio broadcasters.


    • American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law

    • American Bar Association (ABA) Forum Committee on Communications Law

    • American Bar Association (ABA) Communications, Cable & Internet Committee

    • Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA)

    • Title 47 US Code, including the Telecommunications Act of 1996

    Representative Employers

    • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

    • National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA)

    • National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

    • Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

  10. Corporate Law


    Attorneys practicing corporate law, advise businesses, re their legal rights, responsibilities and obligations. General corporate practice involves handling a wide range of legal issues for businesses. Many corporate lawyers work in law firms, particularly large or mid-size firms, where they counsel clients and handle business transactions including negotiation, drafting, and review of contracts and other agreements associated with the activities of the business. Other corporate lawyers are employed directly by corporations as in-house corporate counsel. In-house counsel act as internal advisers on myriad business and legal issues, including labor and employment issues, intellectual property issues, contractual issues and liability issues.


    Representative Employers

    • Federal Reserve

    • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

    • - Corporate law firms

  11. Criminal Law


    Criminal lawyers represent either the state or individuals on a wide range of crimes ranging from simple misdemeanor traffic violations to first-degree murder. Settings for criminal lawyers include governmental agencies at either the federal, state or local level, or, in the case of non-indigent defense work, for small or solo private practices.


    • Public Defense/Death Penalty
    • Berkeley Law Capital Defense Internships and Jobs -internship and job opportunities for law students and recent graduates in offices around the country that are engaged in the defense of death row inmates or capitally-charged defendants

    • Innocence Matters

    • National Legal Aid and Defender Association Job Board ( - includes positions in civil legal services, defender organizations, pro bono and public interest organizations, public interest law firms and academia.


    Representative Employers

    • California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

    • California Superior Court

    • Inner City Law Center

    • Law Offices of the Public Defender Riverside County

    • Long Beach City Prosecutor

    • Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office

    • Los Angeles County Public Defender 

    • Office of the United States Attorneys, U.S. Department of Justice

    • Orange County District Attorney

    • Orange County Public Defender

    • Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia 

    • Riverside County District Attorney's Office

    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement

    • Ventura County District Attorney

    • Ventura County Public Defender's Office

  12. Education Law


    Education law includes representation of children with poor access to education; special education law; and education reform. Lawyers in education law can work for local school districts where they handle issues such as school governance, student records, collective bargaining and student discipline. Lawyers who work in nonprofits and advocacy groups may represent children and families or focus on broader policy issues relating to educational reform via legislative and advocacy work.


    Representative Employers

    Clinics/Internship/Fellowship Programs

  13. Entertainment & Media Law


    Entertainment and Media Law refers to the areas of law governing professionals and businesses in the entertainment industries of film, television, music, theater, fine art, advertising, sports, the news media and the internet. The work can focus on contracts and intellectual property, but at the same time, various fields of law are involved in entertainment law such as: employment law, labor law, intellectual property including trademarks, copyright, and right of publicity, bankruptcy law, immigration, securities law, security interests, agency, right of privacy, defamation, clearance of rights, product placement, advertising, international law and insurance law. 


    Representative Employers

    • California Lawyers for the Arts

    • CBS

    • Fox

    • Kramer, Holcomb, Sheik, LLP

    • Lionsgate

    • Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

    • NBCUniversal

    • O'Melveny & Myers

    • Paradigm Sports Management 

    • SoCal IP Law Group LLP

    • Sony

    • Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

    Clinics/Internship/Fellowship Programs

  14. Environmental Law


    Environmental Law touches on many areas, including water, land and air protection, hazardous waste disposal, climate change, natural resource conservation, energy, agriculture, real estate, and environmental justice. The practice often requires extensive knowledge of administrative law and aspects of tort law, property, legislation, and land use law. Lawyers perform a wide variety of functions, including negotiation, litigation, administrative practice, lobbying, and advising. Practice settings include federal, state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic research institutes and private law firms.


    • American Bar Association, Section of Environment Energy & Resources

    • California Environmental Law Blog, Stoel Rives LLP

    • The Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment, UCLA Law

    Representative Employers

    • California Attorney General, Environment & Public Health

    • California Environmental Protection Agency

    • California Natural Resources Agency

    • - Environmental law firms

    • The Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice Division Brochure​ (PDF on the right)

    • The Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice ENRD Law Clerk Brochure (PDF on the right)

    • LA Waterkeeper

    • Natural Resources Defense Council

    • South Coast Air Quality Management District

    • Southern California Edison

    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  15. Family Law


    Family law lawyers handle a variety of issues including divorce, custody, child support, prenuptial agreements, guardianship, adoptions, and estate planning.  In addition to traditional legal skills, family law often requires attorneys to be very comfortable with negotiation and counseling.  The majority of private sector family law lawyers practice in small law firms, though some large law firms will have practices dealing with matrimonial law or wealth management for high net worth individuals.  In the public sector, family law often involves some sort of state involvement – for example, child welfare or juvenile delinquency.  Family law attorneys in the public sector often work in public interest, legal aid or public defender offices.


    • American Bar Association, Section of Family Law

    • American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law 

    Representative Employers

    • Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law

    • L.A. Family Law Help Center

    • Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center

    • Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office - Family Violence Division; Juvenile Division

    • Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

    • Los Angeles Superior Court, Family Law - Judicial Externship

  16. Health Care Law


    Health Care Law focuses on the legislative, executive, and judicial rules and regulations that govern the health care industry. The health care industry includes hospitals and hospital systems, other health care providers (such as nursing homes, psychiatric centers, acute care centers and health maintenance organizations), public and private insurers, pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, and the individual practitioners who treat patients. Some of the regulations relevant to this industry include Stark, HIPAA, Anti-Kickback Statute, EMTALA and state privacy laws.

    Health care lawyers often represent clients in the health care industry in connection with general corporate matters, including corporate reorganization, capital financing, employee benefits, tax, and antitrust issues and general contract negotiation. In addition, health care lawyers often provide advice regarding physician recruitment, acquisition of physician practices, and medical staff relations matters.

    Health care lawyers can also represent health care providers before federal and state agencies that regulate the health care industry. They also assist health care providers with various types of litigation, including medical malpractice, fraud and abuse claims, antitrust issues, breach of contract disputes, intellectual property matters, real estate issues, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement matters, and labor and employment disputes.


    • American Bar Association (ABA) –Health Law Section

    • American College of Legal Medicine (ACLM)

    • American Health Lawyers Association

    • American Association of Nurse Attorneys

    • Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)

    • National Health Law Program (NHeLP)

  17. Immigration Law


    Immigration Law involves a wide range of legal issues, practice settings, and geographic locations.  Immigration attorneys may be engaged in direct service work helping clients navigate the necessary steps in obtaining the legal right to work or stay in the United States. They may also work with the government on enforcement of immigration laws. Non-profit organizations, private immigration law firms, and federal, state or local government agencies are the various settings in which immigration lawyers work in.


    • ABA Commission on Immigration (information on immigration advocacy)

    • The American Immigration Council (comprehensive information and technical support for immigration lawyers)

    • Harvard Law, Serving Immigrants and Refugees: A Guide to Careers in the Law (descriptions on different practice settings within immigration law along with narratives and a list of organizations focused on immigration law)

    • Immigrant Legal Resource Center (offers trainings, webinars, publications and other resources for students and practitioners interested in immigration law)

    • Immigration Advocates Network (comprehensive resources for advocates and service providers)

    • Immigration Law curriculum and experiential learning at Southwestern

    • International & Comparative Law curriculum & experiential learning at Southwestern

    • National Immigration Legal Services Directory (immigration law provider directory)

    • National Lawyers Guild National Immigration Project (national organization that provides legal and technical support to immigrant communities, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking to advance the rights of noncitizens)

    • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (protects the rights and address the needs of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide)

    Representative Employers

    • CARECEN, Central American Resource Center

    • CHIRLA, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles 

    • LAFLA, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

    • National Immigration Law Center

    • Public Counsel Law Center

    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of General Counsel


  18. Intellectual Property


    Intellectual Property Law is comprised of several areas, including copyright, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Copyright Law protects the rights of creators in their works in fine arts, publishing, entertainment, and computer software. The laws protect the owner of the work if others copy, present, or display the owners work without permission. Trademark Law protects a word, phrase, symbol or design that is used by an entity to identify its product or service. Trademark owners can prevent others from using their marks, or marks which are confusingly similar so that consumers would not be able to identify the source. Patent Law grants protection for new inventions which can be products, processes or designs and provides a mechanism for protection of the invention. Trade secrets are business practices, formulas, designs or processes used in a business, designed specifically to provide a competitive advantage to a business. The three broadest segments of an intellectual property practice are counseling, protecting and enforcing. Other components of practice may include licensing, due diligence in connection with mergers or acquisitions, and developing strategies for international and domestic intellectual property protection.


    • American Bar Association Section for Intellectual Property Lawyers

    • American Intellectual Property Law Association

    • BCG Attorney Search's Guide to Intellectual Property Law – provides a good overview of the different types of intellectual property law practice

    • Business Organization & Practice curriculum & experiential learning opportunities at Southwestern

    • Federal Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section

    • Hein Online Intellectual Property Law Collection

    • INTA.ORG - International Trademark Association 

    • Intellectual Property Law Resource Center BNA

    • International Encyclopedia of Laws for Intellectual Property

    • -  IP Law and Business

    • World Intellectual Property Organization

    Representative Employers

    • - Top patent firms

    • - Intellectual property (private sector)

    • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

    • U.S. Copyright Office

    • U.S. Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit

    • U.S. Department of Justice, Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section

  19. International Trade Law


    Generally, International Trade Law includes the rules and customs governing trade between countries. International trade lawyers may focus on applying domestic laws to international trade, and applying treaty-based international law governing trade. International trade lawyers may advise both U.S. companies doing business abroad and foreign businesses operating in the U.S. Companies hire international trade attorneys to counsel them on the relevant international trade rules, advise them on compliance with such rules, as well as to conduct internal investigations, prepare voluntary disclosures, and/or represent them in enforcement actions related to the violation of such rules. On the domestic side, international trade attorneys may represent their clients before the ITC or the Department of Commerce ("DOC") regarding disputes related to import laws and remedies. Lawyers will also assist clients with customs classification, valuation, and rules of origin matters. International trade attorneys will also help their clients secure the proper license from the DOC or Department of State to export goods. The lawyers may assist companies looking to acquire a U.S. target that is under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ("CFIUS"), a committee that reviews the national security implications of investment in U.S. assets. Trade lawyers on the international side handle a lot of disputes, for which the WTO is the primary arbitrator. Attorneys may also become involved in lobbying efforts on behalf of their clients to influence international rules.


    Representative Employers

    • - Directory of boutique firms 

    • - Directory of large firms 

    • Export-Import Bank of the United States

    • Government

      • Department of Commerce

      • Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection 

      • Department of Justice

      • Department of State 

      • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

      • International Trade Administration

      • International Trade Commission 

      • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

      • Patent Trade Office

      • Securities Enforcement Commission

      • Treasury (Office of Foreign Assets Control)

      • United States Agency for International Development ("USAID")

    • International Finance Corporation

    • Overseas Private Investment Corporation ("OPIC")

    • World Bank

    • World Trade Organization

  20. International Human Rights


    International Human Rights Law focuses on enforcing the body of international law designed to promote and protect human rights at the international, regional and domestic levels. Human rights lawyers may work in non-governmental organizations, inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations and federal government agencies.


    • American Society for International Law Career Resources Page (ASIL) promotes the development of opportunities in international law for individuals at every stage of their career.

    • Human Rights provides a basic overview of the practice area as well as useful links to educational resources and selected employers.

    • - Human Rights Internet (searchable database)

    • Harvard Guide on International Development

    • is a web portal of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy for international human rights related information from the United States Government.


    • International & Comparative Law curriculum & experiential learning at Southwestern

    • Legal Aid Around the World


    • United Nations Human Rights spearheads the United Nations' human rights efforts offering leadership training, education and support to empower individuals and assist states in upholding human rights.

    • University of MN Human Rights Library

    • Yale Law School Guide to International Public Interest Careers

    Representative Employers

    • Amnesty International

    • Human Rights First

    • Human Rights Watch

    • Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

    • International Justice Mission

    • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee Rights

    Internship/Fellowship Programs

    • - American Society of International Law “Internships”

    • - American Society of International Law “Fellowships”

    • - International Law Students Association Fellowship

  21. Labor & Employment


    Labor and employment law governs the rights and duties between employers and workers.  Employment laws are based on federal and state constitutions, legislation, administrative rules, and court opinions. Select employment relationships may also be governed by contract. Many of the employment disputes that result in litigation deal with "wage and hour" violations. Discrimination in the workplace is another basis for many employment law cases.  Attorneys play a role on both the labor and management side of labor relations disputes. Labor and employment attorneys work in private firms; non-profit policy and direct service organizations; and federal, state, local, and international government agencies. Litigation often constitutes a significant component of employment law practice, and some large law firms have labor and employment attorneys within their general litigation practice group, rather than in a separate group. Mediation, negotiation, and arbitration are another set of labor and employment practices. Labor lawyers may also be involved with organizing efforts when working for or with unions, or to oppose organizing if on the employer-side. Labor and employment lawyers who work for government agencies may spend much of their time engaged in rulemaking and regulatory enforcement, and those in private practice engage primarily in offering counsel.


    • ABA Section of Labor &Employment Law (law students may join for free)

    • AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee includes tips for law students, key resources for finding a job in union side labor law and a job board for labor law internships, post grad fellowships and attorney positions. (

    • Employment Law Information Network

    • Employment/Labor Law provides a basic overview of the practice area as well as useful links to educational resources and selected employers

    • International Labor Rights Forum is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide

    • Labor &Employment committees of city and state Bar Associations; state and local chapters of NELA

    • National Employment Law Institute

    • National Employment Law Project is a national advocacy organization for the employment rights of lower-wage workers

    • National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) (law students can join for $20 per year; membership permits access to NELA members and a variety of publications and a job bank)

    Representative Employers

    • - Labor and Employment law firms

    • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    • Firms specializing primarily in employer-side labor and employment law

    • International Labour Organization

    • National Labor Relations Board

    • Office of Personnel Management administers the Fair Labor Standards Act for federal employees

    • Private employee-side firms

    • State agencies that work on labor and employment issues may include Departments of Labor, Workforce Development, Industrial Accidents, and Labor Relations.

    • U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights, Employment Litigation Section

    • U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor

    Internship/Fellowship Programs

    • AFL-CIO Union Summer

    • AFL-CIO Fellowship

    • National Labor Relations Board Honors Attorney Program

    • Paul H. Tobias Fellowship sponsored by NELA to work at the Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for Law &Policy in San Francisco (

    • Peggy Browning Summer Fellowship Program

    • Seyfarth Shaw - Summer Labor & Employment Fellowship Program

    • SEIU Post-Graduate Fellowship

    • U.S. Department of Labor Honors Attorney Program

  22. Real Estate Law


    Real estate law governs the rights and interests in real estate and real property, both commercial and residential, and provides protections for buyers, sellers, land owners, developers, contractors, and real estate agents. Legal issues include: sales, purchases, leasing and other transfers of real estate and real property; title to real property; settlement of claims against property rights; landlord-tenant issues; property development; zoning and land use; related agriculture issues and environmental compliance; financing, mortgages and foreclosures; securitized real estate investments; and various other relevant topics.  A real estate lawyer is primarily involved in transactional work, most often drafting, negotiating and closing transactions facilitating the business of real estate, including: (i) selling, buying, and leasing land, buildings, housing, natural resources of the land or any other interests in real estate; (ii) development and use of property and managing the state and local approval processes; and (iii) financing large development projects and working with REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts), companies that own or finance income-producing real estate. Real estate lawyers also spend much of their time counseling clients about these matters. Due diligence investigations are also a large part of the work done by a real estate lawyer. These due diligence investigations can include: review of the physical details of the property and can include an environmental investigation, review the leases of any tenants at the property, and review of the title to make sure the seller actually owns the property and there are no easements, mortgages or other liens on the property, including tax liens. When real estate disputes arise, real estate lawyers will represent their clients in court. Such litigation might concern breach of contract, zoning compliance, construction defect, foreclosure, homeowners associations, or boundary disputes, among other issues.


    • ABA: Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section

    • Biznow Commercial Real Estate News

    • Law 360: Real Estate Section

    • The Wall Street Journal: Real Estate Section 

    Representative Employers

    • Banks and Mortgage Lenders

      • Fannie MaeReal Estate Investment Trusts

    • - Top-Ranked Real Estate law firms

    • Title Companies

    • Trade Associations

      • The Real Estate Round Table, partnership of 17 national real estate trade associations with leaders of the nation's top public and privately-held real estate ownership, development, lending, and management firms                                                                                                                                                     
    • Federal and Local Government

      • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

      • U.S. Department of State- Diplomatic Property Program

  23. Securities


    Securities law is part transactional, part regulatory, and part litigation. Both state and federal laws regulate the issuance of securities. A lot of a securities lawyer's practice revolves around counseling clients (which may be public or private corporations, brokerage houses or small businesses) who are trying to raise capital, or individual investors who believe that their investment was mishandled or that they were misled during the investment process. It also involves gathering the disclosure documents and ensuring their compliance with SEC regulations. If you're at a larger firm dealing with larger clients, you might advise them on how to "go public," ensure that they are complying with relevant securities laws, and aid them with issues related to expansion and ongoing capital requirements.


    • ABA Federal Regulation of Securities Committee

    • Corporate Finance and Securities Section of the DC Bar

    • Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association

    • Securities Law Section of the Federal Bar Association

    • Securities Litigation Section of the ABA

    Representative Employers

    • Government: U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission; U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission; state commissions on securities regulation Guide to State Securities Administrators

    • -  List of Top Securities Firms

    • Small/Medium Boutique Firms

    • Trade Associations: National Association of Securities Dealers

  24. Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Law/LGBT Rights


    Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Law/LGBT Rights attorneys protect and advocate for LGBT rights on the local and state and federal levels. The work encompasses diverse practice areas, such as employment discrimination, family law (including adoption and parenting), housing, trusts and estates, healthcare and HIV/AIDS law. LGBT rights lawyers frequently work in non-profit advocacy organizations where they focus on direct client representation or policy. In addition, there is a growing need for LGBT advocacy in private family law firms.


    • Harvard Law: LGBT Rights - A Career Guide provides an overview of LGBT rights law followed by narratives and a list of organizations focused on LGBT rights law.

    • Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

    • LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles strives to provide a strong leadership presence of and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in the legal profession and in the community at large, through education, legal advocacy, and participation in political and civic activities and social functions.

    • National LGBT Bar Association is a national association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals, law students, activists, and affiliated lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender legal organizations.

    • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force advocates on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and generating groundbreaking research through the NGLTF Policy Institute.

    • Pride Law Fund promotes the legal rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, and people living with HIV and AIDS, by funding legal services and projects and by sponsoring education and outreach.

    • The Williams Institute at UCLA Law is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. 

    Representative Employers

    • - Gay and Lesbian Defenders

    • Human Rights Campaign

    • National Center for Lesbian Rights

    • Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

    Internship/Fellowship Programs

    • - Pride Law Fund Summer Fellowship

    • The Williams Institute, UCLA -  Summer Fellowship

  25. Tax Law


    Tax Law involves laws and regulations that govern the tax process. Specific areas of focus in tax law include corporate tax, international tax, partnership tax, tax litigation, state and local tax, personal tax, estate planning, tax-exempt organizations, and executive compensation and benefits including ERISA pension funding and administration. Tax attorneys are employed in a large variety of practice settings, including large law firms, boutique tax firms, accounting firms, federal and state government agencies, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and tax courts. Clients can include individuals, public and private companies, governments, non-profits, educational and healthcare entities, private foundations and trade associations.


    Representative Employers

    • Government Agencies: State and Federal Level

      • Internal Revenue Service, IRS

      • U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Tax Policy

      • U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division

      • U.S. Tax Court

      • Senate Joint Committee on Taxation

    • Law Firms

      • -  Tax firms

    • Lobby Groups

      • Capitol Tax Partners

      • The Federal Policy Group

    • Public Interest Organizations

      • Center for American Progress

      • American Enterprise Institute (AEI)


    • Accounting and Consulting Firms

      • Ernst & Young

      • Deloitte

      • KPMG

      • Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC)  


  26. Trusts & Estate Law


    A Trusts & Estates attorney helps a client arrange his or her financial affairs so that, upon the client's death, the client's assets are distributed exactly as he or she wishes and the tax consequences of distributing that property are minimized. The law of estates and trusts governs the use of certain types of instruments, such as wills, living trusts, or charitable trusts, to provide for an orderly distribution of the assets and payment of any debts or liabilities of the estate.


    • American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law

    • Probate & Property Magazine

    Representative Employers

    • Wills for Heroes Foundation