Lawyer Job Description
Lawyers (also called attorneys) provide legal advice and representation to their clients. Depending on the type of lawyer, their clients can include individuals, businesses, the government, or other organizations.
There are many types of lawyers, each with a specialized body of knowledge. Here are brief descriptions of some of the most common:
Prosecutors work for the government. Their responsibility is to bring charges against individuals or organizations who have been accused of breaking the law.
Defense attorneys defend people or organizations who have been charged with a crime.
Family lawyers advise their clients on legal issues related to their family. Divorce, adoption, and child custody are examples of issues that these lawyers help to resolve.
Litigation lawyers represent their clients in lawsuits. Some specialize in a particular type of lawsuit (such as personal injury or malpractice), while others handle all types of cases.
Tax lawyers help individuals and organizations with tax-related issues. Since tax laws can be very complex, these lawyers are needed to ensure that the correct amount of taxes are being paid.
Intellectual property lawyers are often employed by movie studios, publishers, and other groups that produce creative works or file patents. They are hired to protect intellectual property against wrongful use.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most lawyers work out of an office, though it’s often necessary that they travel to meet with clients and attend trials.
Since they often work in high stakes situations where lives, businesses, and livelihoods are at stake, this can be a very stressful occupation depending on the specialty chosen.
Many lawyers work very long hours, especially as deadlines approach. It’s common for lawyers to work 60 or more hours each week.
Before deciding on the particular type of law you want to practice, it’s important to consider how it will impact your life outside of work. Balancing work and life goals is important to being fulfilled in your career.
How to Become a Lawyer
It takes about seven years of full time study after high school to become a lawyer. After earning an undergraduate degree, three years of law school is required.
If you’re thinking about enrolling in a law school, be sure to check that the school is accredited by the American Bar Association. If it isn’t, you won’t be able to earn a license to practice.
Getting into a law school can be difficult, because the competition is so great. Putting in extra effort to boost your GPA as an undergraduate will pay off when application time comes around.
Additionally, getting a part time job or internship at a legal department, law firm, or government agency can be hugely beneficial to your chances of being accepted. It can also help you figure out what kind of law you want to practice, and may lead to a career opportunity after graduation.
The licensing requirements for lawyers vary from state to state, but graduating from an accredited school and passing the bar exam are required. If you want to practice law in multiple states, you will have to pass the bar in each state.
There are currently 728,200 lawyers in the United States, with 21,200 new lawyer job openings created each year.
Lawyer jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Lawyer salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most lawyers make between $75,400 – $166,400+ per year, or $36.24 – $80+ per hour.