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To finally become a lawyer, most states and jurisdictions want a Juris Doctor J. Lawyers represent clients in civil or criminal trial and present evidence for their defense. They also advise their clients on their legal rights or obligations and counsel them on the best way to precede according to their legal circumstances.
A lawyer conducts research on legal issues and is qualified to interpret laws, regulations, and rulings. They draw up legal documents like wills, deeds, contracts, lawsuits, and appeals. They may also oversee legal assistants or paralegals. A lawyer can specialize in many different areas of this profession. For instance, they may choose to specialize in a certain area of law such as criminal law, defense, prosecution, tax, or environmental law. Lawyers mostly work indoors and in office buildings, however some travel may be required when meeting with clients or attending court hearings.
Lawyers advise individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes, and represent them in court and legal transactions. Also called attorneys, lawyers inform their clients about their legal rights and obligations, and help steer them through the complexities of the law. They also advocate for their clients in court by presenting evidence and making legal arguments.
Lawyers conduct research and prepare documents, such as lawsuits, wills, and contracts. They also oversee the work of paralegals and legal secretaries. Lawyers work for law firms, governments, and corporations. In government, prosecutors are the attorneys who file charges against those accused of violating the law, while public defenders represent individuals who cannot afford to pay an attorney. Lawyers who work in law firms often start as associates, and may advance to partnership, or part owner, in their firm. Students in business law concentrations explore the varied and sophisticated transactions and components of business, such as federal income taxation, mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy, financial accounting, capital markets, and corporate finance.
One of the most rapidly growing specialties in law, intellectual property is concerned with trademarks, patents, and copyrights. Curriculum may include the study of cyberlaw, intellectual asset management, antitrust, Internet law, and patent strategies. In the courtroom, criminal defense lawyers are tasked with representing clients accused of committing crimes. In addition to studying the theory of criminal law, the curriculum also introduces students to criminal procedures, evidence, national security law, white-collar crime, and trial practice.
When compared to other areas of legal practice, environmental law can be considered a relatively new specialty area. The curriculum may cover topics such as land use controls, agricultural law, international environmental law, mediation, and water rights law. In this specialization, students prepare to practice law in music, television, film, and other creative industries.
The curriculum intersects with intellectual property law, exploring topics such as copyright law, motion picture distribution, digital media, television law, and trademark law. Doctorate degrees are designed for legal professionals seeking career opportunities in scholarly research. At this level, admission is extremely competitive.
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It is not unusual for a law school to only accept one or two doctoral students each year and to only consider students that graduated from the same institution. Although these degrees are the highest academic programs available in law, each has its own structure and purpose. The four options include:. The PhD in Law is ideal for JD graduates who wish to pursue academic research, scholarship, and teaching at the postsecondary level. The DSJ degree is designed for law graduates who hold an LLM and desire to pursue individual legal research and writing.
The program culminates in a dissertation that should advance and make a significant contribution to legal scholarship. The SJD degree is a research-focused program designed for students interested in performing legal research and writing in preparation for leadership roles in public positions or legal scholarship. The D.
What is a lawyer?
L program is closely aligned to the DSJ degree, but concentrates on the comparative aspects of law, particularly international law, highlighting the differences among legal systems throughout the world. Students are able to analyze issues, develop informed plans of inquiry, conduct research, and make data-driven recommendations. Students develop an advanced understanding of legal issues, theory, and the legal system alongside critical reasoning skills. Students gain advanced understanding in specialized policy areas or domains and are able to make expert recommendations in each area.
Students are able to communicate effectively, writing and speaking clearly for varied audiences and purposes. Currently, no law school offers a fully online Juris Doctor degree approved by the American Bar Association. In order to sit for state bar examinations, students must earn a degree from an ABA-accredited institution.
While fully online programs do not exist, some universities and law schools may allow students to complete some coursework via online learning formats. This includes students in dual, concurrent, or joint degree programs. There are numerous considerations when deciding to pursue a law degree. Prospective students need to ensure they are getting the right return on their investment by finding a law school that matches both their educational needs and career goals. Below is a list of factors students should review before deciding to apply to law school. Passing the bar examination is the basic requirement to practice law.
Traditionally, law schools prepare students to take the bar examination in the state the institution is located. Prospective students should consider where they want to practice law as that will influence where they attend school. However, some states have reciprocal agreements allowing graduates from one state to practice law in another after passing the bar examination. Attending law school means reading, and lots of it. Law students should consider the research facilities and libraries at their school of choice, examining the quality of the library collection, staff, research materials, and even hours of operation.
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The success of any student hinges on faculty members. Faculty-student ratio is also important, as it is an indicator of how personalized the learning experience will be at each school. Generally speaking, law students are not required to specialize when they graduate. Secondly, students seeking a well-rounded education should ensure the school offers a rich and diverse list of classes that complement coursework in general law.
Through educational training, lawyers develop a range of professional skills, most of which revolve around information. Lawyers must be able to consume, digest, analyze, and process vast amounts of data. Lawyers should be keen researchers, able to decipher complex legal documents and case studies. Another major skill is communication, both verbally and in written form, which enables proper conveyance of ideas to clients, arbitrators, legal counsel, juries, and the general public.
Although certification has become an important part of the legal profession, formal board certification of lawyers is a fairly recent industry shift. Certification programs are entirely voluntary and lawyers not certified in a specialization e. Lawyers may pursue certification from private ABA-accredited programs, state sponsored plans, and state-accredited private certifiers.
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For example, lawyers may gain board certification in multiple areas from the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification, including the following:. Like other fields, the legal industry is experiencing a growing integration of technology into everyday work. In addition to standard office tools and technology e.
Some of these include:. Nationally, the BLS projects a 10 percent growth of employment in legal careers between and , translating to an additional 74, positions created during this time. Five of the most in-demand practice areas are detailed below. Driven by an increase in proceedings, there is a growing need for skilled legal specialists in areas of commercial litigation and medical malpractice.
Driven by compliance, federal regulation such as Dodd-Frank Act, contract administration, and increasing business activity. Driven largely by compliance issues created by the American Care Act, insurance companies and government organizations are seeking skilled legal professionals with knowledge of the healthcare industry. Driven by the vast technology sector, protecting intellectual property has become paramount for most companies.
Driven by an improving economy and growing housing markets, lawyers are needed to provide services in areas ranging from commercial development to property management issues. States with the best employment outlooks include Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. Below is a list of the ten states expected to see the largest percentage of employment opportunities for lawyers between and Curious about lawyer job growth in your state? Select a state below for more information about employment and job growth for this career.
Becoming a lawyer is not the only career path available to those interested in this area of work. A diverse, wide-ranging industry, legal services offers prospective students a wealth of career opportunities that diverge from the actual practice of law. In addition to the practice of law, there are numerous related career paths. Below is a table of salary data for related careers in the legal field. Choosing a fire science or EMT program can be tough.
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This search tool lets students review various credentials and programs available in their state so that they can identify those that fit them best. You're about to search for degree programs related to a career that you are researching. It's important to recognize that a degree may be required for a career or increase your chances of employment but it is not a guarantee of employment when you complete your degree. Was this page helpful? Pass the Law School Admission Test. Identify Law Schools and Complete Applications.
Lawyer Career Basics The work of a lawyer is broad in scope as there is no singular occupation designated to the title. Lawyer Career In-Depth As advisors, lawyers represent clients in both legal issues and disputes. West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming. Legal Skills Introduces students to the elements of practicing law, including legal analysis, policy, and writing.
Contracts Students are introduced to the basic principles of contracts, including creation, termination, and alteration. Civil Procedure Students gain an understanding of court procedures that do not involve criminal matters; includes the study of trial litigation, discovery process, and jurisdictional rules.
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Constitutional Law Teaches students about the U. Constitution and how it structures the legal system. Torts This course examines civil liabilities of conduct and topics such as medical malpractice and tort reform.