Hottest and coldest practice areas

By Hillary Mantis

You want to focus your energy on practice areas where there are signs of growth, right? The economy does seem to be slowly improving, and with that, there are some areas that are getting hotter, according to Robert Denney Associates.

As you think about upcoming fall hiring, you might want to check out some of the practice areas where there might be more jobs.  According to Denney’s “What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession,” these practice areas are worth investigating:

Areas that are “Hot” and may be hiring:

1. Intellectual Property Litigation
2. Health Care Law
3. Energy Law
4. Regulatory Law
5. Immigration Law
6. Labor & Employment Law

Houston is an especially hot city to practice law in, as several of the hot practice areas, such as health care, energy, and technology, are thriving in Houston, the report indicated.

However, other practice areas are cooling down right now, and are in fact downright cold according to Denney’s report. 

Areas that may be growing “Cold”:

1. Bankruptcy Law (“Unless the economy goes back in the tank again,” according to Denney).
2. Commercial Litigation
3. IPOs
4. Securities Fraud (The SEC has been filing significantly fewer cases, Denney said).

This does not mean that you should totally ignore these fields. The economy is changing quickly, and what’s in the report could change in the future. As in any job search, you should consider what you are most interested in, and do best in, when you are researching practice areas. Hopefully, those areas will coincide with one of the practice areas that are predicted to be hot. As a student, you may want to take advantage of opportunities to intern in one of the predicted growth areas when you return to school this fall.


Hillary Mantis is a Legal Career Consultant, Pre-Law Advisor at Fordham University, and the author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers and Jobs for Lawyers: Effective Techniques for Getting Hired in Today’s Marketplace. You can write to Hillary at