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Inside Law Careers

Insider tips you need to know to choose and succeed in the right career

 

Law Careers

Click a job title to explore!
CareerReported Satisfaction
Attorney
Law Clerk
Legal Secretary
Lobbyist
Paralegal
Trust Officer

Career Background


  Law Salaries

Career Video

Surprising and Helpful Information

Detailed info from people on the job

Examples of likes and dislikes:

Like

Being able to prevail and obtain the relief sought for a client is, of course, wonderful for both me and the client. For some of my clients, that means not being drained of what money they have by pointless or unwarranted litigations; for others it means not having a criminal conviction on their record."

Dislike

"having to deal with some clients who are not happy with the outcome of their case and have become frustrated with the court process. Having to pacify them can be time-consuming and aggravating, at best."

Career Overview

The legal system offers a wide variety of career opportunities for individuals concerned with equality, fairness, and justice in our society. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the 2008-18 decade there will be more legal transactions, civil disputes, and criminal cases, largely due to the growth in the population and in the level of business activity. In addition to a career as a lawyer, there are numerous jobs for professionals to choose such as mediators, court reporters, paralegals, legal secretaries, and consultants. Law careers also offer many areas of specialization, including, but not limited to, criminal law, family law, securities law, tax law, real estate law and employment law. Non-traditional legal positions also exist for individuals not interested in working in a law firm, with options to be found in business, real estate, taxation, education, and social services, as well as other areas.

Career Skills

A law career can be challenging and demanding, with skills varying by occupation. Most jobs require strong written and oral communication skills to handle large amounts of complex reading and writing, as well as the ability to effectively present arguments in a clear and concise manner. Strong research skills are also a critical component of many jobs, requiring individuals to navigate through many sources of information. Other skills usually required include strong analytical, listening, customer service, time management, and organizational skills.

Education

Although educational requirements vary by occupation, most law careers require some form of specialized education and training beyond high school. Training for certain occupations such as a paralegal, legal secretary or court reporter may be obtained in less than two years through an associate’s degree or certificate program at a community college or vocational school. Educational requirements for lawyers leading to a J.D., or Juris Doctor, are more intense, with individuals needing to complete a minimum of seven years of higher education, including four years of undergraduate studies and three years of law school. In addition, lawyers must pass a bar examination in the desired state of practice.

Career Options

There are a wide variety of jobs for individuals interested in making a positive impact in the legal system, with opportunities working in such places as private firms; local, state and federal government; corporations; education; and non-profit organizations. The following are some legal career choices:

  • Court reporters, sometimes referred to as stenographers, create verbatim transcripts of legal proceedings including testimony at trials and depositions. Several methods are used by court reporters, such as stenotype machines, audio equipment, and voice writing. Court reporters provide transcripts to attorneys, courts, and any other interested parties.
  • Lawyers and attorneys represent clients by acting as their advocates and advisers. Lawyers advocate for their clients by counseling and representing them in legal proceedings such as criminal and civil litigations. They also advise clients about business and personal issues regarding to their legal rights and obligations, and draft legal documents on their behalf. Many lawyers specialize in one area of law such as criminal, personal injury, and family law, to name a few.
  • Legal secretaries perform a large variety of administrative and clerical functions for a law firm. Some of their responsibilities include typing correspondence and legal documents such as motions and briefs, maintaining legal files, organizing dates for hearings and trials, ordering office supplies, legal research, and other office work such as answering client calls and filing.
  • Paralegals, also referred to as legal assistants, work closely with attorneys to prepare for hearings, trials, closings, and meetings. Many of the tasks delegated to paralegals by attorneys include conducting legal research, assisting during trial, drafting legal documents, investigating the facts of the case, prepping for trials and meetings, preparing written reports, and organizing client files.