Lawyer Job Description
Lawyers do many different things. Most people think they spend most of their time in the courtroom, when in fact they actually spend the least amount of time there. Lawyers do lots of ‘leg work’; researching and investigating, advocating and advising. While advocating for their clients in court, they present supportive evidence. While advising, they counsel their clients on their legal rights and obligations.
Below is a list of duties that a lawyer may or may not perform during any given case.
- Interpret laws
- Apply laws to specific situations
- Draft new laws
- Researching precedents (earlier interpretations of the law, as well as judicial decisions based on that law)
- Conduct criminal and civil lawsuits
- Draw up legal documents
- Gather evidence
- Interview clients and witnesses
- Handle details in preparation for trial
- File brief with court clerk
- Represent client in court and before quasi-judicial or administrative agencies of the government
- Confer with colleagues who specialize in specific areas
- Act as trustee, guardian or executor
- May draft wills, trusts, transfer of assets, gifts, and other documents
- May supervise and coordinate activities of subordinate legal personnel (law students)
- Teach law college courses
- Specialize in a specific phase of law
Alternative Names Used for Lawyers
Lawyers; Attorneys; Counselor; Practitioner;
Lawyer Job Outlook
Most new graduates do not make it into large, prestigious law firm’s right out of law school. In fact, many new attorneys start in salaried positions as associates in law firms, or go to work for experienced judges and lawyers as research assistants or law clerks. After a lawyer has years of experience under their belt, advancement possibilities are inevitable as many lawyers set up their own practices or become partners in their firm. Other lawyers with years of experience go onto politics or higher law positions such as judges, prosecutors or district attorneys.
Currently, there are over 735,000 practicing lawyers nationwide. Although that number is high, the demand for lawyers is expected to grow at the same pace as average of jobs though 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lawyers who aspire to work for large firms should look for employment in big cities or large metropolitan areas. Lawyer’s who wish to own their own practice, should look to set up their business in smaller communities or suburban areas.
Regardless of where you work as an attorney, you can expect to work long hours. Attorneys who own their own practice can schedule their own workloads, while lawyers who work in law firms usually need to put in overtime to prepare for appearances in court or to draw up legal documents for cases they are assigned. Additionally, all lawyers nationwide must set aside time to update themselves on the latest news, new laws, and recent court decisions in their areas of interest.