The American legal system touches on almost every aspect of everyday living, from setting up a business to buying a new house to getting married. In almost everything you do in the United States, you must adhere to the law of the land, lest you get into trouble with the authorities. Of course, this explains why law is one of the most lucrative careers in America. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers, on average, make $112,760 every year. The BLS also extrapolates job opportunities in the legal field to grow by 10% through 2020. Going by the aforementioned numbers, there is good opportunity to build a lucrative career as a lawyer in the near future. Granted, you need to have the right qualities in order to succeed in the legal field. Keep reading to find out what it takes to become a successful lawyer. (find out what it takes to become a lawyer in your state over here)
Before you can start practicing law in the US, you have to go through law school. To enroll in law school, you must have a bachelor’s degree in any field of study. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program that focuses on research, communication, and writing. Upon choosing a law school, you have to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The test will determine whether you will get into law school or not. Assuming you pass the test and gain admission into law school, be prepared to study criminal law, contracts, torts, civil law, constitutional law, and civil procedure, just to mention a few subjects. In your final year of study, you will take the bar exam. In most states, you cannot gain admission to the bar exam without being on track to successfully complete law school. However, some states, such as California, allow people who did not attend law school but have a solid understanding of the law to take the bar examination.
While in law school, it would be wise to network with people in the legal realm. For instance, seek out firms that offer internship programs. This will help you hone your legal expertise as well as expand your pool of contacts in the legal field. If you require some motivation to do this, look no further than the figures published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) that show that 70% of graduates who take up internships end up getting job offers. When you start to network early enough, it normally gives you ample time to seek out professionals and build a list of useful contacts.
Good Negotiation Skills
Besides representing clients, lawyers regularly take part in negotiations. For instance, lawyers negotiate with insurance companies in cases that involve injury settlements; criminal defense attorneys normally negotiate plea bargains on behalf of their clients, while lawyers who represent certain individuals such as actors and athletes often negotiate contract terms on behalf of their clients. Obviously, good negotiation skills are a big bonus in this line of work.
To be a successful lawyer, you must be aggressive and ambitious. A timid personality does not generally work well in the high stakes law environment. As a lawyer, you must be willing to fight for you clients in order to win cases. Therefore, you must have the ability to take the initiative, have enthusiasm in legal work, and demonstrate attention to detail.
Finally, you must project the image of a consummate professional at all times. Some of the things that would help you achieve this include meeting or even beating deadlines, documenting everything, showing honesty and integrity, as well as handling clients courteously.
If you dream of representing people in court, a career in law would turn your dream into reality, and as a bonus, you would have many specialty areas to choose from including family, corporate, intellectual property, constitutional, criminal, administrative, or securities lawyer. Alternatively, you may use your law skills to pursue a career in other industries such as journalism, publishing, education, or finance. Of course, for you to succeed, you must have the right education qualifications, build contacts in the legal field, and have great negotiation skills.
Andrew Deen is a writer who creates article in relation to the field of law. This article offers tips on becoming a prosperous lawyer and to encourage further study with a Law Masters Degree .