To excel in the field of bankruptcy law, you must play the role of a litigator, transactional lawyer and trusted advisor. The time and effort you put into preparing yourself for these roles and selecting the ideal career setting will help ensure your success in this realm. With the right approach, and enough dedication to your goals, you can establish yourself as a top performing attorney in the bankruptcy law field.
If you work toward this goal starting in your law school years, you will give yourself an edge against the competition. In the early years, you will need to hone your skills and identify your precise plan of action to steadily work toward a lucrative and fulfilling career in this field. Here’s all you need to know about starting your career in the bankruptcy law field.
Hone your skills
In this field, you will work with both creditors and debtors while handling potentially stressful financial restructurings and resolutions. You must have the skills and abilities to handle these transactions and represent your clients in court. To ensure you can fulfill these duties, you must focus on sharpening your negotiation, research, analysis, communication and math skills.
For example, you need to be able to keep a calm head while offering your client guidance and support during the negotiation process. While presenting the case in front of a judge, you must utilize your ability to actively listen while planning your next move. Adopting and practicing a neutral approach will help you effectively lead mediation meetings and present information to the court.
Identify target clients
To forge ahead with purpose, you will need to identify your target clients. As a bankruptcy lawyer, you will need to decide if you will represent consumer or corporate clients. In the consumer realm, you will represent individuals unable to fulfill their debts due to illness, job loss or other personal factors. Consumer bankruptcy proceedings tend to ebb and flow with the economic health of the region. Consumers may either seek total discharge of their debts or restructuring through mediation.
Corporate bankruptcy clients will require an understanding of business relations in addition to the other skills required for this field. The corporate clients you represent may wish to restructure debts, rather than seek discharge, to retain assets and start anew. No matter which target client base you choose, you will need to identify your clients’ overall goals and present a suitable financial resolution plan for their situation.
Choose a specialty
You can lead a successful law career as a generalist or by specializing in a particular area of bankruptcy. If you choose to specialize, you will need to identify the exact area you will focus on while building your presence in the law community.
You may specialize in a particular chapter of bankruptcy or decide to pair this field with somewhat related disciplines, such as tax law. Specializing will allow you to enhance the exact skills you need for your day-to-day work, but it could limit your understanding and growth in all areas of the law. As a specialist, you must put more effort into marketing yourself to niche clients to maintain an ideal client base throughout your career.
Weigh practice options
You will need to decide where you will want to work at the beginning of your career and beyond. At the start of your career, you can gain skills and insights by working alongside the top names in this industry at a local law firm. As you establish yourself in this field, it is possible to move onto a private practice on your own or alongside a colleague.
If you choose to pursue a position at a local law firm, you will need to identify your main candidates in this realm. You can choose to work in a small law firm, often consisting of up to 10 lawyers. A position at a small firm offers the chance to gain experience in this field without having to cope with intense competition.
If you want to go straight for the high stakes cases, a large law firm might be up your alley. At a large firm, you may be colleagues with up to 1,000 lawyers, though less than 100 will likely work at your location. The largest law firms have locations all around the world to remain available for their diverse client base.
After gaining experience and developing your skill set, you may feel ready to move onto your own practice. You may share this practice with a colleague or go it solo if you feel prepared to handle every aspect on your own.
At a solo private practice, you have to market yourself to establish and retain your client base. You must either perform the research, filing and other tasks on your own, or hire an assistant to perform the work for you. All of the expenses of running your own practice, such as rent, payroll, utilities and advertisements, will be your own responsibility while operating a solo practice.
By sharing the practice with a colleague, you will be able to split expenses and duties while operating within the shared space. You may choose to practice as a team or run your businesses separately. Although this option gives you a person to collaborate with, you may need to compromise a bit to ensure the arrangement works in the favor of you both.
After considering the above areas, you can actively pursue a successful career in the field of bankruptcy law. Your established plan of action will help you make the right decisions and take the steps required to establish yourself as a key player in this realm.