3 Tips If You Are Considering Changing Practice Areas

  • February 06, 2021
  • Ludmilla Jarda, lawyer at Nelligan Law

For many of us, it is difficult to determine what area of law we want to practice for the rest of our lives when we are first starting out in our legal careers. Despite this, law students, articling students, and young lawyers are somehow expected to make a decision before they even start practicing. What happens after you have been practicing for a few years and realize you may want to try your hand at something else? How do you change practice areas?

I asked myself these same questions about a year ago before I decided to take the plunge and start practicing employment law. The following are the top 3 tips I learned along the way.

1)            Learn the Law

You have to go back to the basics and study the law. I had taken an employment law course in law school, so I reviewed those notes first. I then joined the OBA’s Labour & Employment Law section to have access to updated resources and attended several continuing legal education programs. I also read several articles, blogs, and books and listened to various podcasts.

2)            Find a Mentor

It is always a good idea to have a mentor, but it is especially true when changing practice areas. Ideally, you will want to find a mentor or mentors who have significant experience in your new practice area with whom you can discuss legal issues and strategy. In my case, I was able to find a few mentors to help me with this transition as my firm has an employment law group. However, if your firm does not practice in your new area of law, you may want to connect with other lawyers in your community.