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With so much competition in the legal field, and even strong competition for admittance into law school, some lawyers are wondering which specialty is going to offer the most opportunities (and salaries) for them. The Bureau of Labor Stats has its scientific methods for determining which of the legal avenues will present the best odds for lawyers. A. Harrison Barnes, lawyer and founder of says there are a lot of factors besides the income potential one should make his decision on.

Here is what BLS reports as fast growing legal sectors:

Environmental Law – This one is much of a surprise, considering our current global situation. It’s the perfect opportunity for those who appreciate the outdoors to make the most of what would otherwise be an “indoor” kind of career. If you’re going into environmental law in the next year, you have chosen what is likely the best time in this generation to do so, says A. Harrison Barnes.

Intellectual Property – Copyrights, patents, fair usage policies…this is all a part of this lawyer’s job. Toss in the internet and its unique intracies and it’s an exciting choice for many.

Criminal Law – This one’s always a sure thing. Trying to eradicate crime is akin to erasing your memory of the 1980s and the severely distorted belief you had on what “high fashion” was. Criminals will always exist and the need for those legal minds who can represent them and protect their rights will always exist as well.

Civil Law – Three words: BP Oil Spill.

Military Law – With so much at stake and so many of American soldiers being charged for the crime of doing their job, those with a military background who can successfully represent these men and women will be in big demand.

This is just five of the many different avenues an attorney can pursue. A legal career is exciting and rewarding for most; the trick, says the founder is finding what you’re most passionate about. Let’s face it, if your work isn’t rewarding and you find yourself becoming resentful, you’re likely not serving your client’s needs as well as could. There are no hard and fast rules that say you must commit to only one area for the entirety of your career. Also, don’t forget the other dynamics that play into your satisfaction: the size of the firm you work for, it’s track record for pro bono work and anything else that’s important to you. Just because the partners believe you’re a good fit for the firm doesn’t mean you have to agree.

Remember, only you can determine what’s best for your career. Use your passion, your education and your sense of right or wrong to guide you – provided it doesn’t guide you back to the 1980s, of course.

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