Lawyers work with a variety of clients, from individuals to government agencies, advising them and representing them when it comes to legal issues. They should be highly effective communicators as they will need to articulate their arguments both in the courtroom and through written documents. Outside of court, lawyers also assist individuals and businesses with legal paperwork, proceedings, contracts, and other issues that require counsel. Below are a few common job duties listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Advise clients on legal matters in court or in private meetings.
- Conduct legal research and analysis.
- Apply research and knowledge of the law to interpret rulings and regulations.
- Prepare and file legal documents, including contracts, deeds, lawsuits, and appeals.
Lawyers may specialize in a variety of different areas such as criminal law, corporate law, tax law, or family law, to name a few options. Jobs in law could be found with private law firms, government agencies, or corporations.
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Becoming a Lawyer
In order to qualify for entry level law jobs candidates must have completed a bachelor's degree and a three year juris doctor (J.D.) program. While there are not usually specific requirements about your choice of major during your undergraduate study, classes in English, government, public speaking, and history can be very helpful. Degrees in political science are also popular among prospective lawyers.
To get into law school, students will need to earn a sufficient score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Specific requirements will vary based on the schools you apply to. Once enrolled, students can expect courses in a variety of subjects, such as:
- Civil Procedure
- Criminal Law
- Legal Research and Writing
Graduates of a juris doctor (J.D.) program will then need to pass the bar exam in the state they wish to practice law in. Specific information for requirements in your area can be found through the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Many states also have continuing education requirements. This helps lawyers stay informed on recent developments and issues in the field.