What does a lawyer do?
Lawyers (also known as attorneys) act as society advisors and advocates for a broad range of issues. As advisors, they advise their clients about their legal rights and responsibilities and recommend certain courses of action in personal and business issues. As advocates, lawyers represent one of the sides in civil and criminal trials by arguing in court to support their client and presenting evidence to support their arguments. All lawyers research judicial decisions and the intent of laws and apply them to the certain situations that their clients face.
Lawyers can specialize in a variety of areas such as trials, environmental law, bankruptcy, elder, international, insurance, and probate. Majority of lawyers have private practices and concentrate on civil or criminal law. Local, state, and federal governments employ many lawyers.
What kind of training does a lawyer need?
To become a lawyer, it typically takes 7 years of full-time education with 4 years of undergraduate study and 3 years of law school. Students applying to law school must have a bachelor degree and are required to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Aspiring lawyers should also be proficient in reading, writing, speaking, analyzing, researching, and logical thinking. Graduates must pass a written bar examination to become licensed to practice. State requirement often vary, but most states also require applicants to separately pass a written ethics examination. Many States also require applicants to take a one-time required Multi-state Performance Testing to assess practical skills. Lawyers must keep up to date on legal developments and are required in many states to complete continuing legal education.
What are the prospects for a career as a lawyer?
Employment of lawyers is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 11% from 2006 to 2016 (1).
Job growth will be driven by population growth and the increase in legal transactions, criminal cases, and civil disputes. Job prospects are expected to be good with keen competition. The best prospects will be for graduates with excellent grades from law schools that are highly regarded.
How much do lawyers make?
As of July 2009, lawyers with less than 1 year experience earned yearly salaries around $56,326. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earned around $63, 691 a year and those with 5 to 9 years experience earned around $87,669 a year (2).
A career as a lawyer is an excellent profession for individuals who enjoy working with people and can win the confidence and respect of the public and their clients and associates. Creativity, perseverance, quick thinking, and reasoning ability are also essential qualities.