State By State Requirements to Become a Lawyer

Private Practice Lawyer

Practicing law encompasses many different categories of the legal profession. In the broadest sense, there are lawyers that are public attorney and there are those who work in a private practice. Private practice lawyers may work alone in a small office or alongside many lawyers at a large law firm. In the latter case, an attorney may specialize in niche area of law such as family law or real estate law.  Lawyers working alone in their own office may practice general law in order to have a broader range of clientele.

Here are a few examples of the kinds of cases a private lawyer might be involved in:

  • Civil litigation suit - when two private parties are involved in a legal suit; the private attorney would represent their client in civil litigation proceedings. These types of suits are often tied to monetary compensation such as those regarding malpractice, accidents, or contracts.
  • Commercial case- this is business related and has to do with legal actions such as mergers and acquisitions as an example. When one company wants to buy another there are laws that govern the purchase.
  • Divorce and child custody - one of the more common reasons that private lawyers are hired is to represent a client in a family court case dealing with divorce and child custody issues.
  • Malpractice suits - these take place when a medical professional has injured someone. Doctors are often involved in malpractice suits and will need attorney representation as will the injured party. Other medical professionals such as dentists and optometrists might also be involved in a malpractice suit.

Educational Requirements

Lawyers must obtain a juris doctorate degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. Along with their degree, the private lawyer will need to pass the state bar and apply for the license to practice in their state. The education process is ongoing and will likely continue throughout a lawyer's career. A good lawyer will constantly stay up on changes in the law and understand new precedents.

Pick from the links below, depending on your education level that best describes your situation

Job Description & Skills Required

As a private lawyer, the job description would be similar in some aspects as that of any attorney. They will often sit behind a desk researching cases, filling out paperwork, and contacting clients and witnesses for court cases. They will have to go to the courthouse to file documents, search records, and litigate at hearings.

The nature of the job requires a person to have patience when dealing with clients who may be under pressure or emotionally upset. The skilled private attorney will also know how to persuade a judge or jury when representing a client in court. Another skill necessary is keen attention to detail. Legal nuances and very minor details can make or break a case.

Private Lawyer Salary & Job Outlook

As a profession, the job outlook for private lawyers is likely to remain steady. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a ten percent increase year-over-year. Salaries for private lawyers will vary depending on the employer, the size of the firm, and perks that may be included in an attorney's compensation package. The averages are between $40,000 and $150,000 a year.

 

Back to Top

General Resources

Law Exams

Lawyer Career Specialties

Recommend