Family law specialists often take on legal cases involving families, including divorce, prenuptial agreements and child custody agreements, to name a few common issues. If you are interested in family law, you should first make sure you have the appropriate traits to help you find success in this career. For example, you are often expected to be understanding and empathetic, yet analytical. If these qualities describe you, then your next step should typically be earning a law degree. You then may want to earn certification as a family law specialist, a process that tends to require you to take on cases related to family law, pass a test and obtain good peer reviews.
Before you start your journey to become a family law specialist, it is important that you make sure your personality traits and skills are appropriate for this career. For example, if you have often been described as empathetic, understanding and a good listener, then you likely have the personality for this field. You can expect to listen to a lot of emotional stories from clients, and you will likely end up deeply involved in their lives for months or even years, depending on how long each case lasts. While empathy is usually expected, you also should be tough enough to stay strong so you can provide clients with support when they need it. In addition, being in the legal field often requires you to be both logical and persuasive so you can have a successful outcome for most of your cases.
If you think you have the basic traits needed to become a family law specialist, then you should prepare for several years of school. You will first need a bachelor's degree from a university, with sociology, psychology and social services being popular majors for future family law specialists. Once you graduate, you typically will need to go to law school to become a general lawyer. After you pass the bar exam and start practicing, you can begin specializing in cases involving family law.
In many areas, you cannot claim to be a specialist in this field until you achieve family law certification. Therefore, you need to contact the governing board for this career in your area if you wish to become a family law specialist. In most cases, you will have to prove that a high percentage of your cases have involved family law. You also may have to obtain continuing education in this subject and pass a written test. Additionally, you often need to be favorably reviewed by judges and lawyers in this field before you can become a family law specialist with this certification.