Man taking paralegal specializationMany successful law firms in the US practice in a specific area of law. Niche specialization helps lawyers distinguish themselves from their competitors and reach a specific market of clients, as well. Lawyers, however, aren’t the only ones that can select and hone their specialty in the industry — paralegals can do the same, too.

Paralegals can find their niche through obtaining specialty education from accredited paralegal schools and undergoing on-the-job training. But like any other career move, paralegal specialization also comes with potential advantages and downsides.

The Advantages

With a certificate and in-depth knowledge in a specific area of law, paralegals gain a definite edge over other candidates when job hunting.  The specialization shows that you are already highly capable in your chosen niche, making you the perfect person for the job.  In addition, paralegal specialties offer higher earning potentials. In fact, some specialized paralegals, such as those in commercial law and intellectual property law, earn a higher salary than paralegals who have remained as generalists.

The Downsides

While there are many benefits to focusing on a paralegal niche, there may also be a few downsides. These include insufficient job opportunities if you live in a location where only a few attorneys practice in your chosen niche. There are also law firms that prefer well-rounded employees who have experience in several areas of law. You will have to study and train for other specializations to secure a job in those firms.

Moreover, changing industry trends can also significantly affect those who focus on a niche. The Great Recession of 2008, for instance, has sparked the boom of law firms and paralegals specializing in bankruptcy. But the economy has regained its stability, leaving the market for that niche declining in recent years.

Paralegal specialization isn’t for everyone. If you want to focus on a specialty, consider the niche that you won’t only enjoy the most but will bring you more benefits than disadvantages, as well.