Lawyers provide legal advice and services to both individuals and businesses, representing them in court proceedings if necessary. In the US, attorneys provide these services while in the UK they may also act as solicitors or barristers.
If you’re considering law as a career option, it is crucial that you research all of its practice areas. Doing this will allow you to choose a field based on your individual interests and career objectives.
Education and Training
As a barrister or solicitor, an excellent knowledge of legal language and an ability to think critically are two core requirements for success in their job. Strong oral communication abilities are also necessary when appearing before courts and negotiating settlements – it would benefit you to volunteer your services at events or get involved with debating societies at universities to sharpen these abilities further. Writing skills also come in handy for drafting letters and legal documents with great written ability a must as research takes on an ever-larger role – improve these by reading large texts/news articles/bullets lists of their most essential points!
American law students generally obtain their undergraduate degree first before moving onto graduate-level study of law. Popular undergraduate degrees include philosophy, English and economics. Once you hold a law degree in most states it’s required that you pass a two-day bar exam that tests your knowledge of law – practicing lawyers are employed by private practices, government agencies, corporate offices and non-profit organizations alike.
Lawyers and attorneys work closely with their clients to understand their goals, needs, and concerns – something which requires excellent communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills as well as an ethical foundation that protects both their own professionalism as well as that of their client’s best interests.
Lawyers’ jobs typically involve extensive research and document drafting for legal matters. They spend their days in courts arguing cases or negotiating settlements, while also giving advice or counsel on a range of legal issues to non-clients.
Before embarking on a legal career, seek opportunities to explore various practice areas. This could involve internships, externships or volunteer work that provide exposure in different practice areas – these may include internships, externships or volunteer work – so as to better evaluate whether any one specialization meets your interests and career goals. Involving mentors or professors as guides is also helpful; their guidance may offer insights into daily responsibilities associated with each specialization as well as its potential future growth potential.
As part of their core skills, lawyers require exceptional verbal intelligence – specifically reading comprehension abilities. Legal contracts and briefs contain such dense, often archaic language that it may appear foreign to novices. Reading widely across genres – poetry, fiction and non-fiction books as well as modern as well as historical ones – helps develop both reading comprehension and vocabulary skills.
Keep abreast of current affairs and developments in law, business and the world at large is essential. Possessing strong communication and interpersonal skills allows you to effectively interact with clients, colleagues and other professionals.
Ability to work under pressure is vitally important for anyone considering becoming a lawyer, given they will likely encounter high-stress situations on a regular basis. From working overnight to meet a deadline or representing their client in court, being able to adapt well under pressure will contribute significantly towards building a successful legal career.
A lawyer must be able to engage the public courteously and honestly, which is especially crucial given how suspect many view legal professionals. Legal professionals must abide by a code of ethics which includes respecting client confidentiality, being truthful before courts and being forthcoming when speaking about cases in general.
Governments should ensure that lawyers have access to all the facilities and resources needed to fulfill their professional responsibilities, including adequate funding and training. Lawyers should cooperate with governments in providing access to legal services for poor or otherwise disadvantaged persons.
Jeanne Marie Clavere is an attorney working in the Washington State Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility Counsel Department and her job is to equip members with skills for an ever-evolving profession. She regularly fields technical inquiries regarding interpretation of Rules of Professional Conduct as well as conducting courses on ethics-related issues. Furthermore, she utilizes her past legal experience to provide other attorneys with practical insights on handling ethical dilemmas.