Careers as a Lawyer in America

careers as a lawyer
careers as a lawyer

higher education becoming a lawyer generally requires 7 years of full-time study after high school, 4 years of college, followed by 3 years of law school. Careers as a lawyer Most states and jurisdictions require attorneys to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). ABA accreditation means that the law school, particularly its curriculum and faculty, meets certain standards.

job prospects career of lawyer
Projected percentage change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 9% (as fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)


Newly hired attorneys generally start out as associates and work in teams with more experienced attorneys. After a few years, some attorneys in your firm may be promoted to a partnership, which means they become co-owners of the firm. Those who have failed to advance their company may be forced to leave, a practice known as up or out.


Prospective lawyers take qualifying exams called bar exams. Lawyers who are admitted are admitted as lawyers.

Median pay: How much do Lawyers make?

$118,160 Annual Salary

$56.81 per hour

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.

What do Lawyers do?

Lawyers typically do the following:

  • Advice and representation before courts, authorities and in matters of private law
  • Communicate with your clients, colleagues, judges, and others on the case
  • Carrying out research and analysis of legal problems.
  • Interpret laws, sentences and regulations for the continuous and business gesture.
  • Present facts in writing and orally to your clients or others, and argue on behalf of your clients
  • Legal documents prepared and filed as needed, appeals, wills, contracts and deeds
  • Lawyers, also known as advocates, act as advocates and advisors.

As attorneys, they represent one of the parties in a criminal or civil case by presenting evidence and defending their clients.

As consultants, lawyers advise clients on their legal rights and obligations and suggest options for action in business and private matters. All attorneys research the intent of statutes and court decisions and apply the statutes to the likely probabilities faced by their clients.

Lawyers often oversee the work of support staff such as paralegals and paralegals and legal secretaries.

Lawyers can have different titles and different duties depending on where they work.

In law firms, attorneys, sometimes called associates, perform legal work for supervised or corporations. Those who represent and defend the accused may be called criminal defense attorneys or defense attorneys.

Lawyers also work for the federal, state and local governments. Prosecutors generally work for the government to bring a lawsuit or indictment against an individual or entity accused of violating the law. Some may also work as public defenders and represent individuals who cannot afford to hire their own private attorney.

Others may serve as government advisors to administrative and executive or legislative branches. They draft and interpret laws and regulations and establish procedures for their enforcement. Prosecutors also write legal reviews of agency decisions. They conduct civil and criminal cases on behalf of the government.

Corporate lawyers, also known as corporate lawyers, are attorneys who work for companies. They advise the executives of a company on legal issues related to the commercial activities of the company. These issues may include patents, government regulations, contracts with other companies, property rights, taxes, or collective bargaining agreements with unions.

Public interest attorneys work for private nonprofit organizations that provide legal services to disadvantaged individuals or others who are otherwise unable to afford legal representation. They tend to deal with civil matters, such as those related to lease agreements, employment discrimination, and wage disputes, rather than criminal matters.

In addition to working in various sectors, lawyers may specialize in certain areas of law. The following are examples of types of attorneys in these areas:

Career of Lawyers

  • Agency legal counsels
  • Assistant attorney generals
  • Assistant corporation counsels
  • Assistant counsels
  • Associate attorneys
  • Attorney generals
  • Attorneys
  • Attorneys at law
  • Brief writers
  • City attorneys
  • Civil lawyers
  • Commonwealth attorneys
  • Corporate attorneys
  • Corporate counsels
  • County attorneys
  • Defense attorneys
  • Deputy attorney generals
  • Deputy chief counsels
  • District attorneys
  • Environmental attorneys
  • Environmental lawyers
  • Estate conservators
  • Family lawyers
  • General counsels
  • Insurance attorneys
  • Intellectual property lawyers
  • Legal counsels
  • Probate lawyers
  • Prosecutors
  • Public defenders
  • Real estate attorneys
  • Securities lawyers
  • Sports attorneys
  • Tax attorneys
  • Tax lawyers
  • Trial attorneys
  • Trial lawyers

Similar Careers

Less Education

  • Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants
  • Postsecondary Teachers

We recommend you go through our other articles and find out about the best lawyers in each state, Our Directory!

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