Fifty Shades of Law Specialties

Hello!  I’m on the ball this month – my March Ms. JD post went live today!  You can find the link to the original here.


As a prospective law student (hopefully!), I find ways to relate my interest in all things legal to everything in life.  It’s sort of like how they describe a crush in He’s Just Not That Into You—I try to bring it up in random conversations, I can’t stop thinking about it, it’s the first place my mind goes when something new or different happens in life.  So, naturally, one of the first things I thought of when I read Fifty Shades of Grey (several years ago, I’ll admit while blushing) was… That contract he makes her sign—was that legit?  Is that a thing?  Are there lawyers on retainer for relationships like that?

People magazine had a short article in its latest issue that (finally!) answered my question.  No, they are not legally binding contracts.  They’re foreplay.  But, in my several years of wondering about this, I couldn’t help but try to categorize what that particular type of lawyer specialized in while attending law school.  Corporate law, since Christian Grey was a business man?  Family law, since they would be most familiar with contracts between people (because of prenuptial agreements, was my thought)?  My overanalyzing would usually end when I thought of Civil Rights law, because that would be the irony of all ironies, wouldn’t it?

My point is, I started thinking about all of the different kinds of law specialties.  And, like most people probably do, I began to relate that to myself.  What would I like to study and practice?  What most fits with my personality?  Throughout the years, my mind has changed several times as I grew and figured out who I was.  But I’ve always stayed between these three:

  1. Criminal Law. Who doesn’t want to be the guy on Law and Order?  Or, most recently, How to Get Away with Murder?  I wanted to catch the bad guys.  I wanted to be the hero.  But I also wanted to protect the innocent.  I wanted it all.  As I’ve done more research into law schools, I’ve come to understand that there are very few criminal attorney jobs comparatively—there just aren’t enough criminals for all of the people who want to be the hero or the defender of the weak.  And I’m okay with someone else taking on that role, now that I understand my own personality a little better.
  2. Environmental Law. I’ve always loved being outside.  I would rather spend my days in the mountains than in a city.  I was involved in environmental science research while I was in college, and the first class I took in graduate school was Environmental Technical Communication, which was fascinating.  After getting over the delusion that I could compete for criminal law, I thought this was the next best thing—protecting the environment that I so loved to be a part of.  It’s still a viable option, but I have come to find out that it’s probably not the best option for me.  And that is mostly because of my scientific background.  Which leads me to…
  3. Intellectual Property Law. This is my jam, guys.  I’ve been told by working lawyers that, with my background in chemistry, this would probably be the best fit for me.  My master’s degree capstone project involves writing a guide to intellectual property for editors.  I just love the solid rules, the idea of protecting ideas, and how it’s all changing in the digital age.  This is what I want to do.  This is what I love to learn about.

Am I hoping to be the kind of lawyer who can facilitate contracts between dominants and subordinates?  Uhh.  No, definitely not.  Will I stop trying to make my interest in the law collide with all things pop culture?  Not a chance!  This is where I find enjoyment in life.  This is what makes me tick.  Finding where you belong in the world—isn’t that what everyone is searching for?



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