Lawyer is a person whose profession is to represent clients in a court of law or to advise or act for clients in other legal matters. Lawyers serve as both advocates and advisers. As advocates, they speak for their clients in court by presenting supportive evidence. As advisers, they counsel their clients on their legal rights and obligations. Lawyers, also called attorneys and counselors, can interpret laws and apply laws to specific situations, and draft new laws.
Much of their work involves researching precedents, which are earlier interpretations of laws and the history of judicial decisions based on that law. Lawyers use precedents to support their cases in court. Many resources from law libraries and public documents to computer databases and the internet are available to lawyers for research. Most lawyers have private practices that handle many kinds of legal problems. Some work for larger law firms, corporations, and government agencies. Others teach law.
Some lawyers become district attorneys or judges, while many enter politics. To practice law in the courts of any State or other jurisdiction, a person must be licensed, or admitted to its bar. There are formal requirements to become a lawyer which generally includes a 4-year college degree, 3 years of law school, and passing a written bar examination; however, some requirements may vary by State. Most lawyers obtain bachelor’s degrees and law school degrees. Helpful college courses include English, history, political science, economics, and social science.
Those who want to be patent attorneys often major in engineering, while future tax lawyers get accounting degrees. Occasionally, students are offered early admission to law school after two or three years of college. But most students complete college before going on to three years of law school. Good scores on the Law School Aptitude Test are required for admission. Law school courses include classes in contracts, property law, criminal law, and constitutional law. In the last two years of law school, students specialize in the areas of law in which they hope to work.
Law graduates must be admitted to the bar, or organization of lawyers, in the states in which they want to practice. In most states admission to the bar requires graduating from law school and passing bar examinations. In some states candidates are permitted to take bar examinations if they have substituted legal work experience for formal training. Those who do not attend law school must study law on their own to prepare for the examinations. In certain states graduates of “best” law schools may be admitted to the bar without taking the examinations.
Some state bars have cooperative arrangements that allow lawyers who are members of the bar in one state to practice in another state without taking that state’s bar exam. Salaries of experienced attorneys vary widely according to the type, size, and location of their employer. Lawyers who own their own practices usually earn less than those who are partners in law firms. Lawyers starting their own practice may need to work part time in other occupations to increase their income until their practice is well established. In 2004 the median salary for all lawyers was $94,930 per year.
The median earnings of all state and local government lawyers ranged from $70,280 to $73,410 per year, while the median for federal government lawyers was $108,070 per year. Those who entered practice in large law firms started with salaries ranging from $34,000 to $80,000 per year. Lawyers who start their own practices right after graduating from law school generally earn very little for the first few years. As their businesses grow, they can do quite well. The most experienced lawyers can earn between $130,000 and $1 million per year.
Associates in law firms are paid salaries and receive raises as they take on more responsibilities. After some years of experience, they may become partners in their firms and receive percentages of the firms’ profits. Most salaried lawyers are provided health and life insurance, and contributions are made to retirement plans on their account. Lawyers who practice independently are covered only if they arrange and pay for such benefits themselves. Lawyers have quite chance of advancement possibilities and employment outlook.
Most beginning lawyers start in salaried positions as associates in law firms or as research assistants or law clerks to experienced lawyers or judges. After several years of experience, they may become partners in their firms or set up their own practices. Some lawyers go into politics or become judges. Some become prosecutors or district attorneys. About seven hundred and thirty-five thousand lawyers practice nationwide. The demand for lawyers is expected to grow as fast as the average for all jobs through 2014. However, many people are entering the profession, so competition for vailable jobs may be stiff. Lawyers who want to work for law firms will find the best opportunities in big cities, while those who are interested in setting up their own practices will find more opportunities in small towns or suburban areas. There are also occupations that are related to lawyer because the legal training is necessary in many other occupations. It includes paralegals and legal assistants, law clerks, title examiners, abstractors, and searchers; and judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers.
Lawyers do most of their work in offices, law libraries, and courtrooms. They sometimes meet in client’s home or places of business and, when necessary, in hospitals or prisons. They may travel to attend meetings, gather evidence, and appear before courts, legislative bodies, and other authorities. Salaried lawyers usually have structured work schedules. Lawyers who are in private practice may work irregular hours while conducting research, discussing with clients, or preparing briefs during non-office hours.
Lawyers often work long hours, and of those who regularly work full time, about half work 50 hours or more per week. They may face particularly heavy pressure when a case is being tried. Preparation for court includes being informed of the latest laws and judicial decisions. Although legal work generally is not seasonal, the work of tax lawyers and other specialists may be an exception. It’s because lawyers in private practice often can determine their own responsibilities and the point at which they will retire, many stay in practice well beyond the usual retirement age.
Once, there was a joke in U. S. referring to occupations, naming the three of most cheaters in America and they were automobile mechanics, doctors, and lawyers. The reason was simply because they earn too much money compared to the amount of work they perform. However, after this research, it has been proved that this joke is not valid in the society. Lawyers are people who are more than worthy enough to be respected and admired because they have well managed themselves during their youth time and sacrificed many entertainments that bring temptations to young teenagers.
Also, the competition for admission to most law schools is intense and every each lawyer had to go through this intensity in order to become what they are. The legal system affects nearly every aspect of our society, from buying a home to crossing the street. Lawyers form the backbone of this essential system, linking it to society in numerous ways. For that reason, they hold positions of great responsibility and are required to remain on a strict code of ethics.
– “The American Lawyers” Dong Ah Encyclopedia. 2005 ed.
– “Lawyers in different countries” World Book Encyclopedia of People and Places. 2000 ed. – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 4 August, 2006. Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections. 13 April, 2007 – Careers in Public and Community Services. 2007. Comprehensive Career Profile List. 11 April, 2007