As a family lawyer, your work will have a profoundly personal impact on the lives of the people you represent, more so than other areas of law. People at every income level will need your help during exceedingly difficult times in their lives. Because of the broad responsibilities of family law, you will need excellent skills in negotiation, mediation and trial advocacy.
Your clients will often include parents and children, but your work can also affect grandparents, other relatives and even friends and neighbors. Common family law issues include:
- divorces and pre-nuptial agreements;
- custody matters, including child support and visitation;
- termination of parental rights and adoptions;
- domestic violence, protective orders and enforcement of court orders;
- juvenile court proceedings for troubled or abused children; and
- financial issues regarding real and personal property, debts, tax and bankruptcy issues.
Family lawyers can also advocate for positive social outcomes. For example, you may safeguard the welfare of children by obtaining court orders that encourage co-parenting or that provide abused children with appropriate caretakers. You might help prevent family disputes from becoming criminal events by providing sound advice and representation. In many ways, you can also affect the general public’s view of legal justice in this country.
If you focus on family law, you should start by taking these courses.
- Family Law
- Marital Property
- Children & the Law
- Adoption Law
- ADR Survey: Negotiation, Mediation & Arbitration
Below are recommended courses related to family law. You should choose courses that interest you or that will further your career objectives.
- Domestic Violence Seminar
- Juvenile Justice
- LARW III — Family Law Drafting
- Federal Income Taxation
- Elder Law
- Trial Advocacy Practicum
- Family Law & Benefits Clinic
- Mediation Clinic
- Family Mediation Clinic
You should also consider taking one or more of the following courses related to family law.
- Gender & the Law Seminar
- LARW III: Litigation Drafting
- Deposition Skills Workshop
- Texas Pretrial Procedure
- Texas Trials & Appeals
Students interested in family law have participated in prior externships with
- District Attorney’s Office, Protective Order Division and Juvenile Court Division
- Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas
To learn about current family law externship opportunities, contact the Externship Program Director Cecily Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org.