Passion, life experiences, personal values, a desire to make a change in the world, and personal interests are all reasons why attorneys like Malliha Wilson choose their legal specialties. A former assistant deputy attorney general in Ontario, Canada, Wilson is a fantastic example of a lawyer who made big changes with the Ontario government through her work in human rights and other complex litigation and policy issues. To learn more about why others might choose specialties like her, read on.
Life Circumstances and Experiences
Life circumstances and experiences can play a major role in what shapes our world lens, values, and views. The same way a person who lost a parent at a young age to an incurable disease might go on to become a doctor, scientist, nurse, or advocate working to help in a cure for that disease, a lawyer might specialize in a specific field based on their life story.
Maybe you’re considering law school and have experienced the struggles a child copes with after a bitter divorce. Someone like you might be interested in specializing in family law, working as a court-appointed special advocate for children, and even go on to become a Guardian ad Litem for children. Work as a family lawyer for the state could put you in a position of helping place children in foster homes, work with families for reunification in abuse-free situations, and set up visitations between parents with a child’s best interests at heart. In a role like this, you could play a big part in sparing a child from the sort of experience you grew up with.
Culture of Origin
The culture a person is raised in can make a big difference in their worldview, too. Someone from the coast of Australia, Queensland, or New South Wales would not have the same experience as an indigenous person living in the outback or Perth. An aboriginal background would mean having experienced an entirely different set of injustices, racial traumas, and more than someone living in the same country in a city like Melbourne without an indigenous background. Like Wilson, the indigenous person might be more interested in human rights or civil rights law simply because they have a better understanding of racial and socio-economic injustices.
Current Events and Important Causes
It’s nearly impossible to ignore current events and the injustices and causes that shape the world we live in. For some law students, current events can be the trigger they need to decide it’s time to do something about the issues that keep them awake at night. Whether politically motivated or simply due to idealistic dreams of world peace, these students would make fantastic lawyers in the areas of advocacy work, civil rights, criminal justice, and even in positions as public defenders.
Maybe your life experiences, values, and world lens all play a part in where you’ll land on your ultimate decision. That’s okay, too. At the end of the day, Malliha Wilson’s work as an administrative law attorney and the work of people like her are exactly the reason many law students choose to go to law school in the first place. Hoping to make a difference in the world, bring attention and awareness to injustices or human rights issues, or even to change policies, these students share Wilson’s drive to be part of something that matters. If you are considering law school and aren’t sure what to specialize in, start by thinking about the people, causes, and situations that matter most to you. By specializing in a type of law you’re passionate about, you’ll be well on your way to making a big difference in the world.