There are a lot of different types of attorneys practicing many different types of law in many different settings.
Generally, we can break up the attorneys into two types: transactional and litigation. Litigation attorney will focus more on appearances, depositions, going to court, and trials. Transactional attorneys will focus more on the "paperwork" aspect of cases (simplifying quite a bit!).
In the US, law school is generally three years period there are part-time programs available which can extend the duration of school to four years. Once you complete your bachelors degree in however long it takes you, most lawyers will go to law school where they will learn their legal education and prepare to sit for the bar exam in their respective jurisdictions. It is possible, in some jurisdictions (e.g. California), to become a lawyer without having gone to law school. This requires significant internship with a willing attorney.
Eleanor Maria (Ria)’s Answer
Also, lawyering can take place in a wide variety of scenarios: the court system, for a non-profit, for a company, in a law firm, for a government, or as a solo practitioner. You may even decide to NOT practice law but work in an adjacent field such as recruiting, management or education.
Mostly the work of a lawyer (litigation) is reviewing documents, analyzing and taking the necessary steps for resolution. Depending on what type of case it is- the documents can be large or small in quantity. They interview and take depositions. They answer and review court documents. There is production of documents such as Complaints, Answers, Requests for documents, Admissions, etc.
Schooling is very intense as you would need to be organized and hardworking. The testing is in the form of clinics where you would be quizzed on what you know so far from the numerous pages of reading. You also take elective classes while in law school. Also you would be required to know the case and statutory law that applies. The classes can be difficult but it's worth it in the end.
Most work takes places either at home or in office if you are solicitor or one time in office if you are a barrister or on other sites if you are a barrister or in house if you are a corporate one.