Work Expectations And Pay Of A Lawyer
After 7 long years of studies i.e 4 years graduation + 3 years of law school, when you finally get out of law school you are dying to start working. So, lets see what are the various options available to lawyers once they graduate out of law school.
Becoming a lawyer is very demanding but it is very rewarding because you get the flexibility to choose from a variety of options. As the population increases, alongside it increases the need for legal action. Generally lawyers choose from the following options-
- Salaried positions in business
- Government positions
- Join law firms
As soon as you graduate from law school, the competition increases and you become a rat in the rat race for better clients, pay and positions. For this, you have to excel in your oral and communication skills, should have well informed opinions and the ability to analyse situations efficiently and clearly. If you remain focused and work hard, the fruits of your labour will be sweet.
According to statistics, only the top 10% of the graduates of law school get the topmost jobs. Most of the passouts are found to be working as interns in law firms for long periods of time. Work of a lawyer also depends majorly on the specialization the lawyer does. After passing the Bar Exam, the lawyer has the chance to focus his approach and get into a certain field. This is done by looking for and fighting cases that are related to a certain area. For eg. a lawyer may start working on and accepting cases related to child advocacy( child abuse, child custody etc). This way a lawyer becomes an expert in the field which he chooses and thus his knowledge makes him invaluable.
A lawyer also gets offered government positions where a significant number of attorneys are already employed. Work can involve working as prosecutors in criminal courts or arguing cases for the U.S Department of Justice. A lawyer can also be employed full time by an individual client. In case the client is a company, the lawyer is called as "house counsel". Here the job of the lawyer is to advise the respective company regarding various legal aspects of their businesses. These can range from contracts, government regulations to even patents.
Most of the lawyers start by joining law firms as associates with the ultimate aim of becoming partners. This path ensures that you gain valuable insight into the legal aspects under able guidance. Makes you aware of the various ways to tackle legal issues and gives you the expertise to further your career prospects.
According to the statistics of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of lawyers is expected to grow 11 percent during the 2006-16 decade. This will mainly be due to increased business activities resulting in more legal issues and criminal cases. However competition is also likely to increase alongside with the increase in students graduating every year.
The average national median wage for a lawyer is approximately $90,290. Again, this depends vastly on the basis of the experience and specialization. Another factor is the region. It's a well known fact that attorneys working in the public sector earn more than their counterparts working for the Government. This difference can be anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000. Top earners are generally the lawyers working in the top law firms. But aspiring lawyers should also take note of the lifestyle and nature of work and not just fall for the big numbers.
Being a lawyer is a continuos learning process and though tiring, the results are worth it.