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Everything You Need to Know About Being a Lawyer

Research the job role, duties, and application tips for working as a lawyer.

Lawyers work around the clock to advocate, innovate, and set new precedents. When choosing a career path to walk down, many decide to study and practice in this field because of the impact they can have on other people. Even though the title itself may seem one note, there are so many different roles within the profession—contract lawyers, environmental lawyers, family lawyers to name a few.

If you’re an aspiring law student, already in law school, or are about to apply to your first big law job, have a look at some of our tips and tricks to help you along the way.

What is a lawyer?

Lawyers are licensed professionals who study and practice law. A lawyer usually has a concentration area and a group of people or interests that they advocate for.

General lawyer duties:

  • Advise and represent a client and their interests
  • Research and review documents for submission
  • Interpret laws and regulations pertaining to their cases

Are lawyer jobs in demand?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyer jobs are supposed to grow about 6% from 2018 to 2028.

How much do lawyers make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for lawyers was $59.11 as of May 2019, but may be more depending on where you live. That’s about $122,960 per year.

Where can I work as a lawyer?

On the list of employers hiring on Handshake, there are many companies hiring lawyers:

  • International Rescue Committee
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

Other places to apply for “lawyer jobs near me” in your city:

  • Local law offices
  • Private public interest groups, usually non-profits
  • Clerkships with judges
  • Federal, state, or local government

What should I put on my resume?

Many places hiring lawyers are looking for keywords in resumes, but what makes the right candidate is listing the right specific skills you offer.

List your past experiences 

Even if you’ve never held a lawyer position before, you definitely have skills from past experiences you can offer. Think about all your internships, time studying for courses, and mentors that you learned from—there are always lessons you can pull from your life that apply.

Consider mentioning some of these soft skills that might make you a better candidate:

  • Extreme attention to detail
  • Leadership and teambuilding
  • Project management
  • Strong communication and public speaking

Technical skills

If this won’t be your first role in law, then you may have some technical skills from previous jobs to add to your resume. It’s always a good idea to mention that you have strong communication skills, know how to manage clients, or have had clerk or court experience.

What should I write in a law firm cover letter?

It’s important for your cover letter to stand out and show what you can offer as an employee. Not only is it recommended to list skills and experiences you’ve had, but also the willingness to learn and grow in the role. 

Things to include in your cover letter:

  • Who you are and what position you’re applying for
  • Your passion for what the firm/organization you’re applying to stands for
  • Cases they’ve worked on that you’ve researched
  • Why and how you would be able to help them further their mission

Check out this article with proper formatting techniques and more in depth information about the perfect cover letter.

What is being a lawyer like?

Lawyers spend a lot of their time thinking critically about and strategizing the best way to proceed in their cases. Lawyers also do a lot of speaking with clients, partners, and others—upholding a career heavily emphasizing effective communication and research. 

What can I do with a law degree?

Some careers for law students:

  • Family lawyer
  • Contract lawyer
  • Environmental lawyer
  • Immigration lawyer
  • Real estate lawyer
  • Intellectual property lawyer
  • Tax lawyers
  • Labor lawyers
  • Constitutional lawyers

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels