Industry Profile: Law
Law is a large industry of interest. In the United States alone, there are
1,143,358 active and inactive lawyers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, attorneys are “advocates and advisors in society.” They research the
intention of laws and how they can assist their clients with judicial decisions.
Attorneys defend their clients in court, but also are available to give legal advice
and guidance (http://www.alltipsandtricks.com/career-talk-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-
lawyer/). Becoming a lawyer is not an easy task; it takes much schooling, focused
energy, and time to pursue and maintain a career in this industry
The Journey to Attorney
The journey to become an attorney is about a 7 year trip and starts with an
undergraduate degree. This bachelor degree is usually of a multidisciplinary
background which can include classes such as: public speaking, English, computer
science, philosophy, math, and science among others. It is suggested that if a
prospective lawyer knows what area they are interested in, they should take various
courses in that topic. After receiving a bachelor’s degree, the prospective lawyer
must take the LSAT exam in order to begin applying to law schools; approximately
140,000 people take this each year (http://www.bekindtolawyers.com). Applying
to law school is a very intense process and most law schools are highly selective;
they take into account GPAs, LSAT scores, personal interviews, and undergrad
experience. After being accepted, and the first year of school, they choose an area
to specialize in. They then graduate and then have to pass the Bar Exam. This
exam is required in just about all 50 states in order to be licensed. Usually a
lawyer will have to pass the Bar Exam in each state if they want to be a lawyer in
various places. (http://www.bls.gov/oco/)
Lawyers can work in a number of places. They are most known for working
in the courtroom; however this is only part of the job. They can be found in
hospitals, prisons, homes, offices, businesses, and law libraries. It is not a
completely structured job and often requires irregular work hours. Approximately
33% of lawyers can work up to 50 or more hours a week (http://www.bls.gov/oco/).
However, this is not always the case, some lawyers work for a salary in which case
they have a structured work schedule.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for
attorneys is estimated to grow 13% in the next decade. This is due to the
anticipated legal representation needed in healthcare, bankruptcies, corporate and
security litigations, and intellectual property. The numbers of self-employed
attorneys are also expected to grow, but more slowly because of the high costs of
maintaining current legal research. If this is a concern for a prospective attorney,
he/she may want to consider working for a larger firm.
Competition is extremely high in the law industry. Students with the best
academics will have the greatest chance of landing a job fresh after graduation.
Many recent grads have to take short-term or “as-needed” jobs to better develop
their skills and gain experience before getting hired for a more permanent job. A
new attorney on the job hunt should also be willing to relocate, for it will greatly
increase his/her chances for being employed. (http://www.bls.gov/oco/)
The median annual wages for attorneys in 2008 was $110,590. This average
takes into account all attorneys. However, the table below shows the median
salaries for graduates from law school 9 months after graduation.
Do you have what it takes?
Passing all the exams and being a good student is not all that is required to
be a successful attorney. One should be responsible, respectable, have good
reasoning ability, creativity, like people, perseverance, and determination. It takes
a great deal of passion and devotion to be a good attorney.
Cool Lawyer Facts. (2008-2010). Retrieved April 2010, from National Be Kind to
a Lawyer Day: http://www.bekindtolawyers.com
Lawyers. (2009, December 17). Retrieved April 2010, from U.S. Bureau of Labor
Violeta. (2008, November 8). Career Talk: A day in the life of a lawyer. Retrieved
April 2010, from All Tips and Tricks: