Lawyer Job Description and Responsibilities

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Attorneys/Lawyers represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, and manage or advise clients on legal transactions. Much of their work involves researching precedents, which are earlier interpretations of laws and the history of judicial decisions based on that law.

Lawyers use precedents to support their cases in court. Lawyers are also called or divided into various branches; attorneys, advocates, solicitors, counselors and legal advisers.

Attorney: is the person with whom you first make contact when you seek legal advice or if you require representation. Therefore, an attorney needs to be readily available to everyone, and the service they provide needs to be broad enough to cover a wide field of legal problems.

Advocates or solicitor: they speak for their clients in court by presenting supportive evidence. Advocates, on the other hand, have specialized expertise in various areas of the law - especially in the presentation of cases in court. To obtain the services of an advocate, the client approaches the attorney who then engages the advocate on his behalf to represent the client in court or to give the client the necessary advice.    

Legal advisers or counselor: they counsel their clients on their legal rights and obligations by suggesting courses of action in personal and business affairs. The term "legal adviser" is used to describe lawyers employed by the government, big companies and other organizations to provide legal advice and service to their employees. In other words, "in-house" lawyers or "corporate counsel" as they are known in the USA, as Compared with attorneys and advocates who provide their services to the public at large rather than to a single employer. They are usually former attorneys and advocates who want to be in corporate environment.

Whichever capacity they're working in, lawyers must draw on research of legal and judicial decisions, and apply the law to the specific case they're working on.

It takes a special kind of mind, one that can see both sides of the situation and is able to argue both equally well without emotional involvement. "To be the Devil's advocate" is a fair description of the requirements needed by a would-be lawyer .

Depending on a lawyer chosen field, they might have to defend someone who was caught red-handed and arrested, the lawyer would have to defend that person with total dedication. It would seldom be the lawyer duty to judge - there are other people such as professional appointed judges who do that - all a lawyer would be called upon to do is present the facts and argue for their client.

There are also various other fields open such as the handling of corporate legal documents or the legal management of businesses and you would seldom see the inside of a courtroom. Introverts often make the best lawyers because they usually listen far more than they talk but some extraverts have become magnificent attorneys with their flair for drama and their ability to make even the most mundane cases exciting.

Most established lawyers tell of how they have gathered an almost encyclopedic knowledge from their dealings with the public. For instance, when handling a case Concerning engineering, a good lawyer must familiarize himself with basic engineering knowledge if he wishes to present a well thought-out defense or attack. Similarly, if defending a poacher, he must be aware of what the offender actually does for a living; where he sells his spoils; what monies he receives; what dangers are involved and what laws protect his rights to poach.

Even if the lawyer despises criminals, he/she must find mitigating circumstances which he can present to a judge. Lawyers also handle a large variety of affairs for individuals, businesses, associations and corporations. These include work in the field of business and corporate law; civil and criminal litigation; property transactions; taxation; estate planning and business as well as personal advice. Many Lawyers consider themselves to be general practitioners:

However, as a result of the increasing complexity of life the trend is towards specialization. Therefore, there are Lawyers who specialize in either commercial or criminal cases, or who focus on litigation, estate planning or tax-related matters.

Employment Opportunities

Many corporations, including insurance companies, banks, accounting firms, and manufacturers, employ lawyers, private individuals, public companies, environment groups, NGOs, government, Self employed, Law firms, real-estate and other organization.

Expanding Opportunities for the 21st Century
Most beginning lawyers start in salaried positions as associates in law firms or as research assistants or law clerks to experienced lawyers or judges. After several years of experience, they may become partners in their firms or set up their own practices. Some lawyers go into politics or become judges.

 More corporate establishments and population are growing fast and need legal advice and representations.

Not all attorneys rake in the dough; plenty of prosecutors and public interest lawyers make meager salaries. But lawyers at corporate firms still frequently earn starting salaries that exceed six figures, even with well-publicized layoffs, falling rates, and controversy in the industry over the standard billable hour. The high pay reflects the high stakes involved in corporate litigation and transactions--lawyers are involved in deals and cases worth millions.

Those who entered practice in large law firms started with salaries ranging from $34,000 to $80,000 per year. It depends on location, size of firm and experience.

Education and Training

Lawyers have to follow a rigorous education, formal educational requirements for lawyers include a 4-year college degree, 3 years in law school, and the passing of a written bar examination. In the last two years of law school, students specialize in the areas of law in which they hope to work. Law graduates must be admitted to the bar, or organization of lawyers, in the states in which they want to practice.

Job seekers who are interested in working for the government should take civil service tests.

All lawyers are required to have their J.D. (Juris Doctorate) from an accredited law school. Depending on the firm's specialization, some lawyers are also expected to have a degree in another discipline, such as science. Corporate lawyers are also required to have passed a state Bar exam before being admitted to practice.

Corporate law firms normally want candidates who have prior job experience. This experience can range from research (legal assistant), to investigations and writing legal briefs and presenting cases in court.

Additional Information: Association of Trial Lawyers of America, National Association of Women Lawyers, American Bar Association. Different countries have different Law regulations and a Lawyer has to pass through the specific country law school or body to practice.

Large cities often host employment agencies specializing in Legal-related positions Newspaper classified ads and job banks on the Internet may provide other employment leads.,. Look or search for classified section under "lawyer," "attorneys," "advocates," " solicitors," " counselors," and "legal advisers."

Jobs are advertised in trade journals. In addition to Legal-related trade journals, consider industry journals.

The placement offices of colleges and universities offering degrees in legal matters related areas are usually notified of job openings.

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