|Number of Jobs:||73,600|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Social Services Jobs||#7|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#35|
Not all lawyers are as fast-talking and cutthroat as they're often depicted on television. A lawyer advises and represents individuals, businesses, and government agencies in either criminal or civil legal matters. To practice law, attorneys must receive a bachelor's degree, complete three years of law school, and pass a state-specific written bar examination. Lawyers usually carve a niche for themselves in an area of interest, such as intellectual property or divorce. A lawyer's role isn't confined to the courtroom: He or she may conduct research and analysis of prior cases, solicit testimony from witnesses, and draw up legal documents such as lawsuits, appeals, and deeds. Clients rely on lawyers to help exonerate them from both minor and major offenses. This line of work can be taxing, as lawyers often work long hours and must be able to interpret even the smallest details of the complex legal system.
The job market for lawyers has tightened in recent years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a job growth of 6.9 percent for the profession between 2010 and 2020, which is lower than other occupations. During that time period, an additional 73,600 jobs will need to be filled.
According to the BLS, in 2011, lawyers earned a median average salary of $113,310. The best-paid earned more than $187,199, while the lowest-paid made approximately $54,120. The highest earners worked in the metropolitan areas of San Jose, Calif., Danbury, Conn., and San Francisco.
Lawyers must receive formal training. They must hold an undergraduate degree as well as a law school degree before attempting the written bar exam. This final requirement is administered by the state in which one hopes to practice. The exams vary by state but usually consist of a written test that probes knowledge of state laws and ethical standards. Further, an attorney's informal education never stops. A lawyer must be familiar with new legal codes and precedent set by local, state, and federal legislatures and courts.
John Farnan, board member of the National Lawyers Association, recommends: "Try to get your foot in the door. If you get an offer, consider taking it—even if it is not your 'dream job'—and build up your experience. Develop your contacts both inside and outside the legal field." Farnan encourages candidates to form and maintain relationships with friends in the field, prospective employers, and clients. After all, as Farnan says, "It is important to try and assess whether the lawyer would likely interact well with, and help retain and grow, existing firm clients and perhaps develop the capacity, down the road, to develop her or his own book of business."
|Upward Mobility||Below Average|