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Guide to Lawyer Job Description

Guide to Lawyer Job Description

How do I find information about a Lawyer Job Description
The practice of law has become necessary due to the changes in our modern life.  The heavy use of cars, heavy machinery, global economics, and technology have all contributed to the diverse areas of the law that require lawyers.  Some of the following are just some examples of the areas of the law that lawyers work:
– Lawyers file and defend claims for automobile injuries and accidents, slip and falls, and malpractice injuries.  
– Lawyers work throughout the criminal justice system, as prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, and law enforcement officials in the state and federal levels.  
– Lawyers are needed to work on commercial transactions, including stocks and securities, real estate transactions, and commerce.   
The above just mentions some of the few areas of where lawyers work and specialize.  If you want to find information about these areas of the law or any other, you should conduct thorough research and find as much information as possible.  
What to ask lawyers about their jobs.  
Many times, the best source of information about a lawyers work is by asking a lawyer.  Job information such as type of work, hours, salary, and job satisfaction can be best answered by those in the field.  Often, lawyers in other areas of practice will know some information about another practice field, however the best source is to ask a lawyer who currently works in the specific legal field you have questions.  Look up lawyers in the local directories or ask around in the legal community.  
Where to look for lawyer job descriptions.
Many different sources may provide you with the description of a lawyer’s work and their professional responsibilities.  Books, law journals, and the internet can all be valuable sources.  Of course, contacting a lawyer can be your best source.  All of these sources may be biased in one way or another, so always make sure to verify the information from any one source.  It is very atypical that any two lawyers have identical jobs.  Years of practice, areas of expertise, regional differences can all affect a lawyer’s job description. 
You can use this website to find valuable information about a lawyer job description.  Use the search function on this page to find information about all different areas of the law and you can ask questions to legal professionals.  
Do I need to know about specialists?
While lawyers in the past used to have to have a general practice in which they would help clients with all sorts of legal issues, today’s lawyers almost always specialize in a specific area of the law.  Legal issues and procedures have become so highly technical that it requires lawyers to focus all of their attention.  Therefore, an exploration of a lawyer job description must consider these specialties before any meaningful information can be obtained.  
Preparing for work as a lawyer
Before considering a career as a lawyer, it is important that you understand all of that will be required.  Lawyers must graduate from a 4 year college program.  While no specific undergraduate degree is required, it is recommended that you take courses with strong philosophical structures.  Business classes may also be helpful, as much of a lawyer’s work will involve working with businesses or establishing a business of their own.  Anyone interested in a criminal lawyer career should consider classes geared towards criminal justice professionals.  Patent lawyers are usually required to have a degree in a hard science.  
Work experience is also very important for anyone thinking of becoming a lawyer.  It is highly recommended that you work in a law office setting to ensure that the life of a lawyer is right for you.  Understanding what a lawyer does on a daily basis is the most important information you can have before deciding whether it is the career for you.  
Education Requirements 
Every lawyer in the United States must graduate from a law school.  Most states require graduation from an accredited law school, however some states will allow a lawyer to practice if they graduate from an unaccredited law school within the state.  Once graduated from law school, a lawyer needs to pass the state bar examination of their chosen area. Some states will offer admission under certain requirements of passage in other states, but most states will require that you pass their state specific bar examination.  The bar exam is a long and difficult exam that will require months of studying. 
Before admission to a state bar, a lawyer must meet a review of their character and fitness.  The state bar will look at the past history of candidates to ensure that there are no red flags.  Criminal histories, cheating, or other unethical behavior will be reviewed and can deny admission to many states.  Check with the state bar association in your area for more information.  
Personality & Values
A lawyer needs to always be in search of new knowledge and willing to adapt to changes in the laws and procedures that they will work with every day.  The practice of law, no matter what area, requires great focus and hard work.  Many lawyers work long hours and they need to prioritize their career over all other things in their lives.  Organizational skills, communication skills, and critical thinking are all valuable traits that a lawyer needs in order to be successful.  
Lawyers need to be trustworthy individuals, as they will often be entrusted with people’s property, money, or legal rights.  Therefore, lawyers must keep a clean record or face disbarment from the profession.  Lawyers who engage in illegal behavior will be scrutinized more deeply than other professionals.  
Rates and Fees
Lawyers can charge all different sorts of fees, which will vary greatly depending on a lawyers credentials and experience.  At the very top end, lawyers may charge upwards of $500 an hour for their services and make six figure salaries.  You must keep in mind that these rates are for the highest legal positions which require graduation from top ranked law schools with top grades.  
Most lawyers will charge fees that reflect the type of work they do and the region they conduct their work.  Starting salaries for lawyers usually start out around $35,000 with increases as more experience is gained.  Many lawyers work on their own, in which their yearly salaries can vary greatly each year depending on the cases they bring and the success they have.  
Unfortunately, lawyer jobs have become much harder to obtain in recent years.  The increase in law school graduates coupled with the stagnant legal field has lead to many unemployed lawyers leaving the field of law or never practicing to begin with.  Conduct some research on this topic before further considering law school as an option.  
Job Outlook for Lawyers
While the law profession has been one of the most highly regarded professions throughout recent history, current lawyers are finding it not as lucrative and prestigious as it once was.  The job outlook for lawyers has become an issue of debate, as recent economic realities have lessened the legal work that is available.  Many large firms have limited or stopped the hiring of new associates, creating a backlog that affects all areas of the law.  Government funding has also been slashed, creating hiring freezes for government agencies that hire lawyers.  All of these factors have lowered the available jobs for lawyers, their salaries, while increasing hours and decreasing job satisfaction.
Lawyer’s Job Description
When looking for information about a lawyer’s job, it is always important to know what type area of the law you want to search and what type of lawyer.  Lawyers can work in numerous capacities and serve a multitude of clients, including private citizens, small businesses, insurance companies, government agencies, and any other entities that are affected by laws and courts.  Lawyers also work as judges and court professionals.  Lawyers can also be found outside of the traditional legal sense.  Many politicians are lawyers, as are many successful business owners.  
When you are searching for a job description of a lawyer, your best source of information will be from the professionals who work as or with lawyers.  Every area of the law requires different types of work.  Litigators, which are lawyers that work with lawsuits and the courts, will need to be able to represent clients in court, meet with other parties to negotiate, and be able to write and file the proper legal paperwork, which can be a long an arduous task.  Transactional lawyers work in a business setting and work with commercial deals, real estate transactions, and any number of ways commerce is conducted.  Other lawyers may work specifically as in house counsel for corporations or any number of other positions that require legal knowledge. 
Lawyer Job Search
Lawyers in search of breaking into the legal profession or who are in need of a new job have multiple resources for their search.  One of the best ways of finding legal work is by contacting everyone that you know and let them know that you are in search of legal work.  Your personal networks may lead to a lawyer who needs help with their practice, referral of cases, or job openings that other job seekers are unaware of.  Lawyer job openings that are posted on websites and legal publications will often receive many resumes so competitions for these types of positions are always very stiff.  
Recently, the job market for lawyers has become extremely competitive, as legal work has dwindled and law firms have stopped hiring new associates.  This is coupled with the added law school graduates every year who are fighting for a first job.  Lawyers with real experience tend to have an easier time gaining employment, so the first job out of law school can be critical for newly minted lawyers who are seeking to break into the legal profession. Lawyer job openings are often filled within a short period of time, as employers have their choice of candidates.  
Consideration of the current legal market should affect anyone’s decision before going through the long and expensive process of becoming a lawyer.  Law school tuition has risen to astronomical levels in recent years, with many recent graduates finding they cannot service their loans with an adequate job.  Lawyers are now seeking to leave the profession at a high rate, as lack of opportunities and general low levels of lawyer job satisfaction.  It has become increasingly important for law students to graduate from high ranked schools with top grades, but with the economic downturn even many of these students are finding the opportunities available to graduates of years past are not available to them.
Job Market For Lawyers
Legal work is highly dependent on the economic conditions of the community.  Local lawyers can only work with clients who have the financial ability not pay them or have claims that will be financially rewarding.  Economic realities affect all lawyers, whether working in small communities or in the corporate community.  While legal work will always need to be conducted for many different types of clients, often clients will seek to limit how much they spend on legal work, especially considering the unknown outcome that often awaits them.  
Despite this, there are definitely some opportunities for certain individuals.  Law school takes three years with many law schools charging between $15,000 to $60,000 per year.  Candidates with top grades and credentials are usually able to obtain significant scholarships but need to meet certain academic standards to keep them.  If you can finish law school without obtaining significant student loan debt, then it should be an option that you consider.  If you have family members who are successful lawyers who can help you obtain legal employment after you graduate, this can also be an important factor when determining whether the law will provide a successful career for you.