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What's it like being a lawyer?

I'm really trying to discern whether this is something I actually would like to do. I'd like to know more about what the job actually entails (any type of lawyer), if the payoff is worth all the schooling (and debt), and if there are good job opportunities out there. #lawyer #criminal-justice #college .

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Richard’s Answer

My wife is a bankruptcy attorney. From what she tells me, it depends what kind of lawyer you wish to be. Some appellate attorneys spend a lot of time researching and writing briefs (arguments to the Court). Others are trial attorneys and enjoy speaking in front of others. There are so many different kinds of specialties of lawyers. If you find your niche, you learn that one area. Choose the field that suits you best so you will be happy going to work every day.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, this was really helpful! Emma
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Scott’s Answer

As the son of an attorney I spent many years trying to decide if I wanted to become an attorney. I can say with confidence that not becoming an attorney was one of the best decisions I have ever made. There are very good attorneys out there but a lot of attorneys seem to have lost their moral compass...and they are one of my least favorite people groups to associate with, haha.
Thank you comment icon Hi Scott, what helped you decide that this was not a career path for you? Sharing your experience might help the student with their decision as well Gurpreet Lally, Admin
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Eugenia’s Answer

Well, normally being a lawyer entails feeling like you are the smartest guy in the room or at least pretending to be such:) Speaking seriously, legal profession involves significant responsibility because your clients' lives or businesses might be depending on your good performance and in many cases there will be no way to correct something you said or did, especially so if you work with courts or with some state authorities. If you work as in-house lawyer it sometimes feels like a parenting job where you need to explain some basic things to people probably a thousand times, and people tend to come to you with any sort of questions which they feel might be related to law (including taxes, labor, any business matters etc). In half of the cases your response will be based on your common sense, not on your legal expertise. There are also lawyers handling investigation, or prosecution - generally it means you will be chasing the bad guys. Or you might choose the sphere of human rights and there you will be on the first line of those trying to make the world a better place. I work as an in-house anti-corruption attorney and I do some of everything listed above - sometimes I preach ethical values to people, sometimes I draft explanatory notes to authorities, sometimes I am involved into contracts discussion and sometimes I support internal investigation. And I do common sense advise all the time. So when you choose law as a profession, it is only one of the many choices you will need to do to define your path, and the job you get might be really different depending on those choices.
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Coleman’s Answer

It really depends on what type of lawyer you would like to be. As above, their wife is a bankruptcy attorney which is a specialized type of administrative litigation. Litigation is the actual practice of filing with courts for either criminal and civil matters, and requires a high reading comprehension to be able to accurately read highly detailed documents quickly, analyze them and be able to respond under the correct procedure.

There are also various types of administrative law, Trusts, and Trademark that are primarily pre-litigation and require preparation rather than litigation.

These types of law practice is generally done by a firm. Working and running a law firm requires that you not only be able to practice law but be able to run a business, attracting and keeping clients, books, dealing with taxes, possible employees, etc. Many people I know are great lawyers but terrible business people and end up working a lot harder.

I am currently a corporate attorney or an in-house attorney. My work is primarily pre-litigation which involves a lot of legal posturing when it comes to matters where you are trying to help your company avoid litigation. These include researching a lot of different legal fields to know what risk is posed by various areas of litigation and how to advise your clients when it comes to attempts to settle or continuing with litigation. It also includes contract drafting and negotiations, intellectual property, corporate structure management, as well as and understanding as to how those legal fields interact with state law and the administrative requirements for a business to run.

This type of law is typically done by a firm but can also be done as an employee of a company which reduces overhead and as the Company has budgeted out a legal dept.
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