Legal

Do you love to argue and debate? Do you have a passion for the justice system, or an affinity for finance? The legal field is more diverse than you might think, and it provides a number of opportunities to be engaged with clients and society on a real and practical level.

The law allows for a greater amount of versatility than you might think! (And no, the negative stereotypes and light bulb jokes do not apply to everyone. Lawyers can have hearts and still be highly effective and efficient!) Not everyone wants to be a lawyer, either—there are other ways to have a successful career in this industry that do not require the intense, prolonged education (and loans) associated with law school. Court reporters, paralegals, judges, and mediators are all part of the legal process and are critical to its operation and function.

For our society to function, it is crucial to have professionals who can advise citizens and help them navigate difficult situations, disputes, regulations, and laws. The law, and the ability to argue for it, against it, or redraw its boundaries, encompasses many interests and motivations. Try environmental law if you have a passion for conservation and regulation, or work at the district attorney’s office if you have a desire to see citizens protected and justice served.

The duties of someone in the law professions may include:

  • Researching precedents for laws and practices to help guide the lawyer and client on the right path forward
  • Drafting legal documents for clients, businesses, courts, and institutions
  • Arbitrating disputes between people and companies over many subjects, including divorce settlements, child custody decisions
  • Negotiating contracts, agreements, settlements, and sentences for clients
  • Interacting with clients to make sure that their needs are being met and advising them on their options
  • Organizing and maintaining complex files, documents, briefs, and accounts
  • Prosecuting or defending clients in court

EXPLORING THE LEGAL FIELD

The journey to and requirements for a career in the legal profession vary greatly, and they depend on whether you wish to take on more of active or supportive role in the legal processes. In most states, there is one direct path to becoming a lawyer-law school. After completing college and earning a bachelor's degree, a law degree from an accredited school is the next step. As part of the application process, students must take a qualifying exam called the LSAT, the Law School Admissions test, akin to the SATs but focusing on logic and reasoning skills that are useful for the profession. After earning a degree in law, more testing! In order to legally practice the law, would-be lawyers must pass the bar exam. Every state administers its own exam, so passing in California does not guarantee you the right to practice the law in Georgia.

For arbitrators and counselors, a bachelor's degree may be enough but graduate degrees (and law school itself) can also be useful. Currently, there is not a single set path to becoming a paralegal. It typically required a combination of education and experience, in a way that provides the skills necessary for the job. Practical experience is very useful and students are often encouraged to intern with a law firm or office. College graduates with strong skills in research and administrative tasks also find wo rk as clerks or paralegals with lawyers or firms who are willing to provide additional training on the job. Knowledge of the specific division of the law the firm practices in extremely useful and can be a major asset in the job application process.

IMPORTANT QUALITIES

  • Analytical skills Being able to analyze a conflict, as well as brainstorm arguments and solutions, is a fundamental part of practicing the law. Lawyers and law professionals must evaluate documents, arguments, cases, laws, and histories to determine courses of action. Constructing thorough agreements and contracts, and assessing whether they are supported sufficiently by the law, requires detailed analysis.
  • Interpersonal skills. Lawyers practice the law, but the practice it for people. Clients require care and excellent customer service skills to retain their business, and because issues and cases can devolve into argumentation, legal staff must be able to clearly and evenly communicate with clients, other lawyers, members of the court, and coworkers.
  • Organizational skills. Documentation is critical to legal work, and every step must be chronicled and displayed for the client, organization, or court to see. Lawyers and law offices often take on multiple cases or clients at a time, so it is crucial that all information related to each case is detailed and organized. If a brief is filed at the county clerk's office, all documentation must be included in a specific way for it to be accepted. There is no time for last-minute scrambling!
  • Research skills. Practicing the law means knowing the law. Knowing the law means lot and lots of research. In order to make successful arguments and support their clients/cases, lawyers must be able to demonstrate that there is a precedent for the acceptance of that argument. They must have compiled other cases and decisions to support their argument for or against an issue.
  • Writing skills. When it comes to the law, words matter. The exact phrasing or reasoning for an law can change the interpretation or enforcement of it. When preparing arguments or contracts, precision and clarity are crucial in order for them to be convincing and effective.

JOB OUTLOOK

If there is one stereotype about lawyers most considered accurate, it’s that they are expensive. Because of this, a projected trend is for firms and companies to reduce costs by hiring more supportive legal staff—paralegals and clerks—and fewer lawyers. The degree to which this will play out depends, in large part, on how much clients are willing to spend for a lawyer’s services. Law firms and offices compete for clients and affordability is an important aspect of that competition. Legal staff job growth is expected to noticeably increase, while work for lawyers is projected to increase on par with the national averages for all occupations.

  Occupation Description Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Pay
Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators help resolve conflicts outside of the court system by facilitating negotiation and dialogue between disputing parties.'

Bachelor's degree $61,280
Court reporters Court reporters

Court reporters create word-for-word transcriptions at trials, depositions, and other legal proceedings. Some court reporters provide captioning for television and real-time translation for deaf or hard-of-hearing people at public events, at business meetings, or in classrooms.'

Postsecondary non-degree award $48,160
Judges and hearing officers Judges and hearing officers

Judges and hearing officers apply the law by overseeing the legal process in courts. They also conduct pretrial hearings, resolve administrative disputes, facilitate negotiations between opposing parties, and issue legal decisions.'

Doctoral or professional degree $102,980
Lawyers Lawyers

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.'

Doctoral or professional degree $113,530
  • Legal Biller

    Randstad ProfessionalsWashington DC, DC

    Seeking candidate to handle billing for DC law firm. Requirements Law firm experience required Strong billing experience required Company Description: Randstad is a $22.5 billion global provider of HR services and the second largest staffing organization in the world....

  • Legal Secretary

    Bacon, Thornton & PalmerGreenbelt, MD

    Greenbelt law firm seeking experienced litigation secretary. Minimum 5 years experience. Qualified candidate must possess strong transcription and electronic document...

  • Legal Assistant

    Mantech International CorporationArlington, VA

    Group: MSS Clearance Level Needed: Secret Shift: Day Category: Contracts, Purchasing, Legal & Proposal Services ManTech is seeking a full time employee with DoD legal...

  • Legal Assistant

    Noor AssociatesWashington/Metro, DC

    Lerner, Cumbo & Associates, one of New York's leading legal placement firms, has an immediate opportunity for *recent college graduates* with an interest in law. This is...

  • Legal Assistant

    Noor AssociatesWashington/Metro, DC

    Lerner, Cumbo & Associates, one of New York's leading legal placement firms, has an immediate opportunity for *recent college graduates* with an interest in law. This is...

  • Legal Biller

    Randstad ProfessionalsWashington DC, DC

    Seeking candidate to handle billing for DC law firm. Requirements Law firm experience required Strong billing experience required

  • Legal Secretary

    Special CounselWashington, DC

    One of DC s most prominent law firms is seeking a qualified legal secretary to join their support team. The firm boasts a strong reputation for excellence, thus the...

  • Legal Recruiter

    BCG Attorney SearchWashington, DC

    BCG Attorney Search currently has an opening for a legal recruiter in its Washington D.C. office. This is a commission-based position; however, there is a stipend for all...

  • Legal Secretary

    Bowles RiceNorthern, WV

    Bowles Rice LLP, an established law firm with offices throughout West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania, is seeking a full time, dependable legal secretary in its...

  • Legal Assistant

    Consumer Litigation Associates, P.C.Fairfax, VA

    Job Description We are seeking a full-time legal assistant for our law practice located in Fairfax, Virginia. This position requires an ability to juggle multiple projects...

  • Legal Secretary

    Legal Placements, Inc.Mc Lean, VA

    Job Description A nationwide law firm is recruiting a Litigation Legal Secretary to join the office in Tysons to support the firm s Litigation group. The successful...

  • Legal Secretary

    Bonnie Jones Associates, LLCWashington, DC

    Job Description Large, international law firm with a casual environment with no dress code is seeking a legal secretary to support in various practice areas including...

  • Legal Secretary

    Bonnie Jones Associates, LLCWashington, DC

    Job Description This small, stable law firm needs a top-notch legal secretary to support 3 attorneys in their aviation and corporate practice. This is a very busy, fast...

  • Legal Recruiter

    BCG Attorney SearchWashington, DC

    Job Description BCG Attorney Search currently has an opening for a legal recruiter in its Washington D.C. office. This is a commission-based position; however, there is a...

  • Legal Assistant

    Law Office Marie Washington, PLCWarrenton, VA

    Job Description We are seeking a legal assistant to join our team. You will perform clerical and administrative functions in order to drive company success. The job is...

Ref: bls.gov
Back to top