Becoming an attorney in the U.S. is no easy task. There are several years of college required followed with more years serving as an intern before taking the grueling state board exam. Usually it takes an average of seven years of college, then four more years of undergraduate studies followed up with three years of additional law school.
In order to enter law school, a bachelor’s degree is typically required. Courses such as government, English, history, economics and math are useful if not required. Students are required to maintain a certain grade point average before being considered for entrance to law school.
Earning the title
Becoming a lawyer means that the student has been admitted to the bar. Bar exams are the name for the licensing exam taking in order to practice law. Attorneys, otherwise known as lawyers represent businesses, individuals and government entities with legal situations and disputes.
Lawyers often do the following
1). Preparation and filing of legal documents. Documents are typically appeals, wills, lawsuits, contracts and home or property deeds.
2). Interpret regulations, laws and decisions for companies and individuals.
3). Represent and advise the client in the courts, with private matters or government legal matters.
4). Communicate with and on behalf of their client and with others involved.
5). Research legal matters outside and within the court system in order to properly represent a client.
6). Present facts efficiently verbally and written so that the client understands and argues on their clients behalf.
Lawyers, often called attorneys are both the advisor and advocate for their client. Advocating their client often involves representing them in civil or criminal trials. Including arguing the case of the client as well as providing evidence backing their claim. Attorneys advise their clients of their rights and legal obligations.
A lawyer can make suggestions for a course of action in personal and business matters. It is the lawyer’s obligation to research the judicial decisions and intent of laws and properly apply them to the particular situation of their client.
Types of Lawyers
Lawyers often have a staff that gathers much of the tedious detailed worked. Legal assistants, paralegals and private detectives makeup the majority of staff members assisting lawyers.Depending on the work they do and where their work is, lawyers carry different titles with different duties.
In criminal law there are defense attorneys and prosecutors. A prosecutor typically works for the people or government, filing a charge or lawsuit against a corporation or an individual accused of breaking the law. The defense lawyer works for either an individual or for the state if appointed as a public defender for the defense of the one accused.
Government legal counsel are lawyers that provide legal services to government agencies. Services can consist of interpreting and writing regulations and laws while mandating procedures enforcing them. These lawyers write legal reviews of decisions made by the agencies. Arguing in both criminal and civil cases on their behalf is often part of their job description.
Corporations typically have their own in-house lawyers. Their role is advising executives on legal issues pertaining to business actions. These could be laws, patents or contract litigation. Taxes, property concerns and union bargaining are often cases these attorneys handle.
Legal aid attorneys work for nonprofit private organizations for financially disadvantaged people. They typically handle civil matters pertaining to small issues rather than criminal law cases.
Family law is known as the hardest and most time consuming. Divorce, child custody and adoptions fall under this category.
Environmental lawyer handles regulations and issues related to the environment. Representation of waste disposal organizations, advocacy groups and government agencies are examples of clients they help to enforce them follow relevant laws.
In 2013, the annual salary for a corporate lawyer was $168,236.00.
Insurance and Finance lawyers: $135,965.00
Government affiliated agents: $134,689.00
Legal aid: $124,765.00
Local Government $87,190.00
The State Government $87, 178.00
Salaries of self-employed lawyers vary from the type of law they practice and how vast the area is to which they practice. Partners in large law firms make more than individuals practicing solo.
The need for legal aid to others will continue to see growth. Criminal law is the largest in demand today, followed with family law. Even with a steady growth in the need for lawyers there is the competition factor to consider. Many law students are evolving, making over charging a thing of the past. Lawyers will always find their place in private, business and government law.
Being a competitive profession where only the best survive means finding that perfect fitting job and sticking with it long term. Being open to travel is also an option company offer lawyers. Becoming an attorney is a long hard journey. Surviving in a competitive industry can be even more difficult. Rewards are often not monetary ones, but rather the outcome of a situation.