Here are 5 reasons why you might choose to work in the legal sector and different kinds of legal roles you might end up in.
Making the decision to enter the legal sector and become a lawyer will be a life-changing entry point into a long career in the law.
However, it is also an enormous decision involving fairly large personal commitment and financial investment to get the law qualification – usually a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or a Juris Doctor (JD) – necessary to practice.
Following the LLB or JD, you will then need to undertake practical legal training (PLT) to gain real-world experience, often at the firm you will ultimately end up practicing in, and finally, sit for the bar if you decide to become a Barrister rather than practice as a Solicitor. And it doesn’t end there, with more postgraduate study possibly necessary to practice speciality law.
It can be a long slog, but here are 5 reasons why you might be tempted to take this mammoth task on.
1. Earning potential
Let’s start with the obvious – remuneration.
As we pointed out in an earlier post the legal profession asks a lot of those in it but also rewards them for their time and commitment.
Lawyers are among the highest-paid professions in the legal sector, with an average salary of $110K but earning potential upwards of $200K.
2. A desire to help
At the heart of the lawyer’s professional life is the desire to help individuals, companies, organisations or governments seek justice under the laws of their state or country.
And, while some lawyers find themselves in situations defending those who society may see as indefensible, as the age-old motto goes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
Some lawyers also take lower-paid public-interest legal sector jobs, such as a role with Legal Aid, because they want to help those who are in situations where they are unable to afford paid legal counsel or practice pro bono legal work for the greater good.
3. The work environment
As many other professions and industries have had to adapt work practices and work environments to changing times, in some ways, the legal sector has been far less affected by such.
Given the sensitive nature of legal work, most law firms still retain fully serviced, comfortably furnished offices where each lawyer gets their own space to practice, backed by a team of highly skilled support staff such as paralegals.
While lawyers may not fall into lists of the oldest professions still going around, they have existed in some form or another since the ancient Greek and Roman empires.
And over time, the profession has become prestigious, imbued with a high level of authority and respect, making lawyers in many ways an elite group.
This means taking on the role of lawyer can put you in rarefied air, allowing you to enjoy a unique professional status and the perks that can come with this.
5. Diverse practice areas
In a world full of complex issues, while many think of lawyers as either being focused on civil or criminal complaints in the main, there now exists a diverse range of niche areas lawyers might practice in.
Here are five that might grab your interest if you are at the point of deciding what your speciality might be.
Debt resolution is the key focus of bankruptcy lawyers, and while on the surface this might appear to be a more impersonal area of the law, dig a little deeper and you can see that this can be a very emotionally straining role as you deal with clients going through intense periods of financial and personal stress.
Primarily dealing with the law around commercial transactions, corporate lawyers advise clients of their legal rights and responsibilities around fulfilling obligations that arise as a consequence of them running their business. Key aspects of corporate law include contract negotiations and creating, changing or dissolving corporate structures.
Practising environmental law can see you working either with environmental organisations or advocacy not-for-profits as they try to advance their causes or with corporations or businesses as they negotiate a commercial world in which there are increasingly more environmental touchpoints involving issues such as biodiversity, heritage protection, natural resource management and climate change.
Becoming a family lawyer requires a high level of sensitivity, empathy and emotional intelligence as you deal with delicate personal situations around family disputes, such as divorce, pre- and post-nuptials and custody of minors, often occurring in emotionally-charged circumstances.
In our global village, pandemic-restricted movement notwithstanding, immigration lawyers have become key to offering advice on legal rights and obligations, while providing guidance on visa applications, citizenship and naturalisation for people uprooting themselves from their homes and moving to other countries to pursue personal and professional opportunities.
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