Personal injury law is often both a personally and financially rewarding career, which makes it an attractive path for many law school students. If you know you want to become a personal injury lawyer, there's no reason to wait until you've graduated from law school to begin focusing on this type of law. Here's how you can begin tailoring your experience towards a career in personal injury law while still a law school student.
Take Any Classes Taught by Professors with Backgrounds in Personal Injury Law
First, you should obviously take as many classes that focus on personal injury law as you can.
Don't just look at course titles and descriptions when searching for classes related to personal injury law, though. Also check who's teaching the class, and look up their resume. Professors frequently draw on past experience and share personal anecdotes during their lectures. Someone who's spent years working as a personal injury lawyer will likely share some stories from their time serving clients.
To students who have their sights set on careers in other types of law, these anecdotes may merely be amusing asides that lighten the classes lectures. If you're planning on following the professor's path into personal injury law, however, these seemingly innocent anecdotes can reveal valuable tips and insights about the field that you won't find in textbooks.
Audit a Class on Marketing or Advertising
If your university has a business school or marketing program, approach the dean or director in charge and ask if it'd be alright to audit a marketing class. Auditing lets you take a class without doing any of the associated work or worrying about a final grade. Thus, the class' workload is greatly reduced.
There's little reason to take a marketing or advertising class for credit since it wouldn't count towards your law degree, so auditing is the perfect option. You'll be able to learn from the course material without adding too much to your workload.
Marketing and advertising might seem like they're outside of what a lawyer needs to know and that they are technically different subjects than the legal material covered in law school. In the competitive world of personal injury law, however, it's not enough to just be a technically proficient lawyer. You also need to be able to sell yourself to potential clients -- and a marketing or advertising class can help you learn how to do that.
Get an Internship with a Personal Injury Firm
Law school students typically spend their summers in internships, and most students seek out the most prestigious internship they can land. Rather than searching for a fancy internship with a high judge, though, you may be better off getting an internship with a competitive personal injury firm.
An internship with a personal injury firm will give you insights into this type of law that an internship with a judge won't. You'll also be able to ask the firm what courses you should be taking during your years in school, and you may even make inroads towards your first job after graduation. Even if the firm you intern at doesn't hire you, there's a good chance that one of the lawyers in the firm will know another personal injury firm that's hiring when you graduate. If you do good work during your internship, a referral from someone in the field will be a great help when you're interviewing with another firm.
If you took an internship outside of personal injury law, you wouldn't have the same specialized knowledge -- and you certainly wouldn't have the same relationships with actual personal injury attorneys. For more information or advice, contact a local personal injury attorney.