The law can be a very exciting field to be in. Things are changing all the time, and there is always a new challenge to uncover. It can also be very demanding. Demanding of your time, emotions, intellect, and family.
However, law is diverse enough that just about anyone could find a job that fit their life goals. Here are four things to consider when choosing a career path in the field of law:
Your educational goals and limitations
Working in law requires a certain amount of education. To become a lawyer, you must complete a bachelor degree, which generally takes about four years, though it can be done in a shorter time frame.
Common bachelor degree majors for lawyers include criminal justice, political science, history, and English. Then you must complete a Juries Doctorate to earn the title of attorney-at-law.
A law degree takes three years. Legal assistants generally need an associates or bachelor degree in paralegal studies. Associate degrees take around two years to complete.
Your salary expectations
Most people think that lawyers are rolling in the cash, but that isn’t always true. Many lawyers own their own businesses or work in the public sector. Lawyers opening their own businesses often put most of their earnings back into their business for several years.
Public attorneys also don’t make nearly as much as those hired by prestigious law firms. Those prestigious jobs can be pretty hard to come by without a pretty stellar resume. So be prepared not to be rich for a while, especially if you have some law school loans.
Under the law, everyone is entitled to a fair trial and lawyer to defend them. Mackay & Company, a young offenders defense attorney, is often required to defend murderers, rapists, child molesters, and traitors.
It is the attorney’s obligation to work just as hard for that client whether they believe they are innocent or not. Before choosing law as a career, be aware that you may have to defend someone you hate.
Your personal life
Being a lawyer is not a “forty hours a week, clock out and go home” kind of job. At least, it isn’t if you want to win cases. Lawyers spend countless hours in client meetings, prepping for court, arguing in court, doing research.
If you are trying to move up at a law firm, you will have to work very hard if you want to become more than a junior associate and even harder if you want to make partner. If you own your own firm, then you may have to work hard to establish a reputation and keep all the bills paid.
Being a lawyer also comes with a certain amount of stress. Clients expect you to fix their problems – and quickly. It can also be a toll on your emotions. You will see custody cases that end badly. You may end up fighting insurance companies to pay for the medications of a dying mom.
Those kinds of things can easily follow you home. Be aware that your personal life doesn’t start at five o’clock like most jobs.
Like every profession, law has its pros and cons. In general, the legal profession is well-established and jobs are growing, thanks to a higher need for legal expertise. It isn’t for everyone though. You really have to love the law in order to put your heart and soul into the work of a lawyer.
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