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Lawyer

Monster.com

November 12, 2007

Lawyers, also called attorneys, have one of the highest-profile positions in the legal field. If you’re wondering what it takes to be a lawyer, check out this job profile.

The Job

Lawyers, also called attorneys, act as both advocates and advisors in the legal system. As advocates, they represent a party in a criminal or civil trial by presenting evidence and arguing to support their clients in court. As advisors, lawyers counsel their clients concerning their legal rights and obligations, and suggest particular courses of action in business and personal matters.

Attorneys research the intent of laws and judicial decisions and apply the law to their clients’ circumstances.

Lawyers may specialize in a number of different areas, including bankruptcy, intellectual property, probate, international or environmental law.

Lawyers often work long hours. About half regularly work 50 hours or more per week.

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Skills

Proficiency in writing, speaking with ease and authority, reading, researching, analyzing and logical thinking are musts.

Perseverance, creativity and reasoning ability are also essential for lawyers, as they must often analyze complex cases and handle new and unique legal problems.

Familiarity with courtroom rules and strategies.

Education

A four-year college degree, three years in law school and successful completion of a written bar examination are required.

After graduation, lawyers need to stay informed about legal and nonlegal developments affecting their practices. Currently, 40 states and jurisdictions mandate Continuing Legal Education (CLE).

Outlook

Employment of lawyers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations through 2014, primarily as a result of growth in the population and in the general level of business activities.

Job growth among lawyers also will result from increasing demand for legal services in such areas as healthcare, intellectual property, venture capital, energy, elder, antitrust and environmental law. More affordable legal clinics should result in increased use of legal services by middle-income people.

Employment growth will continue to be concentrated in salaried jobs as businesses and all levels of government employ a growing number of staff attorneys and employment in the legal services industry grows in larger law firms.

The number of self-employed lawyers is expected to decrease slowly, reflecting the difficulty of establishing a profitable new practice in the face of competition from larger, established law firms.

Related Careers

Legal training is also useful for careers as an arbitrator or mediator, journalist, patent agent, title examiner, legislative assistant, lobbyist, FBI special agent, political office holder and corporate executive.


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