What is a Lawyer?
Working as a lawyer can be a good thing but at the same time you’ll deal with a lot of responsibilities. A lawyer is a person who usually practices the law, and his job resembles a lot with those of an attorney or counselor or even solicitor.
His job will always be to defend or accuse, and the cases that he or she takes over can be very simple or have some various and quite complicated issues. The part and the role that one lawyer has in the legal jurisdictions are very different. Attorney roles or to do’s apply very differently and at the same time this term can be expressed just on a general base since they vary and it’s very complex.
A lawyer has to apply laws and legal theories that might seem to be abstract in different life situations and find the best and right solutions that will suit in the majority of cases. He will have to possess a vast knowledge of the legal system and know the laws of the book.
In other cases, a lawyer is hired by people. The job, commonly, is to help and offer legal services. Attorneys must also seek their clients’ interests before their own.
Job Description of a Lawyer
Before we understand the position of a lawyer and his part in the society, his career and job responsibilities we should take a look to the concept of law. Law is that set of rules of conduct that is mainly based and structured upon a system. This system is established and ruled by the government of a country or a society. The main purpose is to correct all the wrong deeds and at the same time bring order and maintain stability of the authority that can be either political or social or both.
A lawyer has a lot of work to do on his hands especially since his duties and tasks of every day are various and multiple. With other words, you’ll have time for your career, and you won’t get bored at all. Your first part is to establish relations with your customers and help them be very informed about what there are their concerns and duties and in some cases even legal rights.
Concerns of clients can vary and usually are very specific, and it can be regarding legal rights, business transactions or even defending lawsuits or prosecuting. Their next part can mean presenting cases to the judges and juries or even summarize cases. By using their knowledge of legal precedents, they can analyze the probable results of the cases.
Their tasks also involve gathering all the possible evidence that will help them formulate the defense or even to initiate legal actions. The means through which they are building the defense involves taking interviews to the clients and the possible witnesses in order to establish the facts of the cases.
In civil disputes, their part is to negotiate a settlement, and they will have to study the Constitution, regulations, statutes. Then, they prepare the legal documents. Such documents can involve wills, mortgages, contracts and other.
When a client is in need to be defended or represented in a court house or before a governmental agency, they usually hire a lawyer to defend their cases. There will always be various cases when people are in need for a lawyer.
How to Become a Lawyer?
Becoming a lawyer is many times a very difficult job. The job isn’t easy – many tasks are mandatory for these professionals. When I say many, it is because you have to spend a lot of time caught up in your profession. The most difficult thing to do before working as a lawyer is to enter into this profession. Why? The competition is very high, and you’ll need to study hard and devote yourself to the training that can take a lot of time.
However, this job is very high paid and you also have advantages especially if you like this style of life. If you seek to become a lawyer in the U.S.A., you’ll first need to attempt all the required training. Also, you must never stop having the ambition to be the best. Ambition, I think, can be one of the keys to success, and you can also add knowledge, be a fast and devoted learner and increase your chances.
As I pointed, earlier the path to your success can be long and competitive. It all starts with your grades in high school so make sure to study hard and never give up. The goal that you should have before graduating the high school is nevertheless finding the best undergraduate school and be consistent with your grades and the stellar test scores.
You should certainly be very sincere with yourself and make sure that the law school is what you want. Try and see if you can handle the given sample admission tests at the law school. Inform yourself on the admission. If you are allowed, you can talk with some lawyers that already succeeded on this path. Then, based on the conversation, you will see if you are up for the battle or not before you focus on this educational path.
You also have the opportunity to develop early on this path. Since high school, you can take part in debates or the mock trial team. This given opportunity will not only increase your confidence in you, but it will show you how you can manage at this debates or mock trials. They will truly help you discover yourself for the future lawyer profession, and they will as well help you develop the skills that are needed to be a lawyer.
Remember though that you won’t spend much time in a courtroom as a lawyer, and it doesn’t happen exactly like in the series that you used to watch on the couch of your house. Usually as a lawyer when you are debating, you’ll need to study and be informed.
The educational system in US, when it concerns a law school, will ask you to have an undergraduate degree, lasting four years. In this case, you should follow the classes of an accredited university and with a high reputation. While you are a student there, try to focus not only on the law, but try spicing things up by taking classes such as English, speaking in public, economics, math, philosophy, government. They will help be a logical person very rational, and they will form you as a speaker in public and make your mind very open.
You also can beneficiate of many resources that the University are offering to you that will make a clear difference in your resume. Volunteer works can help a lot, be the president of a very good organization, and have a steady job while you are studying even on the campus.
You can even consider an LL.B. or with other words an American law degree. Since a most active way of becoming a lawyer in US is to become first a lawyer outside of US. You might be a little bit shocked of this statement but trust me it’s a good choice. Why, you may wonder? In the first place, they are not too time-consuming, and the costs of a broad training program are more reduced.
Then after fulfilling all requirements, you can return to the US as a very well-prepared professional. Then, you can enter in an LL.M program at a great law school. Then spend a couple of years in a state that will allow you this, take a bar exam for the entry and start deciding where you like to live.
Every law school in US admits a high GPA and with a minimum of 3.0. GPA but even that is not enough. The best option is to maintain a high GPA to be able to obtain a financial aid and to get into a stellar law school.
To follow the courses of a law school, you’ll need some letters of recommendation. The trick is to try to be an excellent student and be cordial with some professor. It will be a lot smoother than to advance on this latter that takes you to become a lawyer since people with influence can say a good word.
Plan everything ahead of time if your goal is to follow a law school especially after you’ve completed the undergraduate college. Start by having all the LSAT’s before the winter of your finishing year and with the applications already sent.
The LSAT (short for Law School Admission Test) is a half-day test. The LSAT is a standardized test, and you need it for admission into the law schools available in US. You can take Law School Admission Tests four times per year at various colleges and universities across the States.
There are law schools that require this test be taken by December for gaining the opportunity of admission the next fall. A great tip that can work is that you can take the test earlier in June or even October. Start studying for the LSAT earlier and make sure to fulfill every demanding. The best score you can obtain in an LSAT is 180, and many law schools are looking at this.
Another piece of important information that will guide you a lot when taking a decision regarding any law school is to make sure the ABA accredited the school. ABA stands for the American Bar Association. Also, make sure to be very well informed by the law schools that are active and as mentioned earlier are accredited because the fees regarding applications can be very high. Research the law schools even before you apply since the better is the school, the better are the occasions of having a good career.
The only problem is that in the first year as a student in one of the law programs you’ll not have the opportunity to work. There is a lack of opportunities because many of the respected law programs won’t give you the opportunity. The three-year program is a very intensive one where you will have to be very determined to graduate and stay on the top because it will truly affect your social life, your sleep hours. It’s like you already have a full-time job.
Working as a lawyer can be a very good thing, but think all the way up even before you enroll in a program since the costs are very high, and it can easily get to $150,010. Avoid gathering up debts because when you want a job your financial stability and fiscal responsibility will be considered.
Having high grades will ease all three years that you have to go through. The good news in studying is that there are some law firms that will offer well-paid summer associated internships, and they might come with the proposal of a part time job opening.
It is quite expected that you’ll have to take the MPRE at the end of your first year. The MRPE is a standardized test that will evaluate all your knowledge on the standard professional conduct. Finally, after you’ve graduated from the law school, you’ll have to pass the state bar exam in that summer in which you’ve graduated.
Work Environment and Schedule
As a lawyer, you’ll fulfill your work in an office, courtrooms, and even law libraries. Occasionally, they will organize some sessions or meetings in the client’s homes or other places of businesses such as hospitals or even prisons.
The working hours for lawyers will always be longer, and you can expect weekends and evenings too. Lawyers will also have to adapt to the schedule of their clients. If their cases are very intense and are high up in this line such as a homicide case, then the hours spent with such a case can gather up to 100. If the period is a lot quieter then the hours of working hours can gather up to 50 or even less per week.
Pros and Cons of Being a Lawyer
The pros that can be gathered up in the profession of a lawyer can start with a high salary, various cases, different clients, and situations. With other words, you’ll have a variety, and this can be a great advantage since you’ll never get bored. I mean you won’t even have time to be bored.
Working with the laws and hanging in the high social circles you’ll gain a lot of respect and credibility not to mention stability. You’ll have many benefits, and you’ll gain influence.
Though like in any other jobs there are also cons. The first that appear is that this job can be very competitive especially once you advance. You will have to be very dedicated to this job because many times the main disadvantage is that you have to work for long hours and the pressure that installs can be very high. The factor of stress can also appear.
Lawyer job growth
When it comes to the employment job growth for lawyers, the projection is estimated at 10% increase, according to the BLS, else known as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This increase for Lawyers is mainly due to an increasing number of demanding for legal services.
The requirements spread in many different areas, from businesses and up to individuals, as well as for all levels of government that are in need for legal services, and with other words for Lawyers that known what they are doing and have a high build reputation. The job outlook has a good future perspective with a higher rate of increase, due to the essence of the job itself and the various work opportunities.
A lawyer average salary in the United States is approximately $76,439 per year, and the experience in this field is not that important like in any other jobs where job experience counts. The people who usually work in this career don’t have more than 19 years of experience.
What truly counts in this job are the intellectual property, the contract negotiation, legal compliance and other. The salary of a lawyer estimates from $45,487 per year and up to $148,699 per year. You can also add the bonus that can even reach up to $23,983 per year.
Another good part when working as a lawyer is the profit sharing that will vary, and that can range from $995 and up to $30,186 per year plus the commission that might appear. With the added extras, the final salary will range from $46,187 to $171,169 per year.
As a lawyer, you can work as self-employed, or in the public system this involving the US Department of Justice or small firms, lawyer general office, and other governmental institutions or public facilities. The years of experience will get you from $40,010 in the first years of work and up to $135,010 in the twenty years.
According to various locations, the salary of a lawyer will vary and differ. The best paying states are San Francisco, Washington, and then wages will start decreasing in states like New York and Los Angeles.
Salary of a Lawyer in 2015
The salary of a lawyer will be influenced according to the years of experience, the location where you work and the type of employer. With high salaries on board the year, 2015 doesn’t seem to present an increase in the entire economic scenario. Still many in this field might demand it.
Lawyer Salary in 2016
For the year 2016, in the US, the median average estimated payment for a lawyer reaches at $78,243 per year. The entry-level point for these professionals usually is estimated at around $46,518 per year and up to $152,889 per year. The granted bonuses reach somewhere at $24,557 while the profit sharing is comprised between $519 and $30,041. The commission that is paid can reach up to $40,908, this leading at a total payment that varies from $47,847 and up to $176,292, according to the salary surveys provided by PayScale.
Even though the experience has a moderate influence and impact upon this group, there are other factors that make the incomes of these professionals to get on a higher scale. The most influential factor among other is the geographical location, followed shortly by the size of the company and the industry in which one individual has found a job.
There are also several skills that are associated with a high paying salary. For instance, there is the IP, or else known as the Intellectual Property, Regulatory Compliance, Leadership, Insurance and a few other. When it comes to the level of experience, there are a few differences in the salary payments that must be noticed. For instance, an entry-level, lawyer with up to 5 years of practice can usually expect earnings that are estimated at amounts up to $67,010 per year.
A Lawyer with 5 to 10 years of working experience will take home around $96,010 per year while an experienced one with 10 and up to 20 years will gain around $118,010 per year. A veteran in this field, with more than 20 years in the field and with a high amount of experience in his pocket can expect to gain around $137,010 per year.
The national average income for these professionals tends to reach up to $82,004. A high income can be found in regions such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, New York, Seattle and many other. For instance, these being regions with incomes above the national average, lawyers can expect in Los Angeles to make around $104,217 per year, while in San Francisco, the earnings tend to reach as high as $120,749 per year.
On the other side, areas with below the national average incomes can be found in Chicago as well as Miami. In Chicago, the reported earnings tend to have a median payment of $80,487, while in Miami, it gets even lower around $78,360.
Lawyer Salary in Canada, Australia and United Kingdom
- A lawyer average salary in Canada can be estimated to reach C$71,957 per year. A high earning salary comes if you possess skills in litigation case management. The salary is comprised between C$45,293 per year and up to C$126,236 per year. Adding bonuses, commissions, and the profit sharing you’ll reach a final salary that is comprised between C$46,400 and up to C$145,426 per year.
- In Australia, a lawyer salary will vary according to the type of specialization, the location in which one is working and the years of experience. According to the years of experience, a junior lawyer will earn a salary that reaches AUS$40,010 per year while a senior lawyer can earn up to AUS$130,020 per year and even higher.
- In the United Kingdom, the starting annual salary can be estimated at £35,010 per year while an experienced lawyer will have gained a salary that reaches at £60,010 per year. According to the type of employer, if you are already working as a partner in a law firm then you can end up gaining a salary that will reach at £100,010 per year.
Conclusion on Lawyer Salary
The salary is influenced by multiple factors, and you can also add according to the gravity of the cases. People will always be in need for lawyers to defend them and act as their legal voices, whether it is in the courtroom or other facilities.
- First Published Date: 27 March, 2015
- Last Updated Date: 4 November, 2016