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:
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.
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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.
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.
Lawyer Career Specialties