Attorneys, also referred to as lawyers, are responsible for representing and advising their clients in disputes and other legal matters. Clients may include individuals or groups such as families, companies or government departments. They are generally expected to be persuasive and good at communication in order to present arguments and win legal disputes for their clients. Attorneys typically specialize in one specific area, such as family law, criminal law, probate law, corporate law, intellectual property, or real estate. While most attorneys work in corporate offices, many also work for government agencies.
Attorney Education Requirements
Attorneys must have a graduate level law degree from a school approved by the American Bar Association in order to practice law. Degree programs typically end with a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree. Most law degree programs require both a four-year undergraduate degree and a passing score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). After successful completion of law school, attorney candidates must sit for and pass a state bar exam. This certifies that they have the knowledge required to ethically and competently practice law.
Attorney Job Market
The job outlook for attorneys is expected to rise approximately 10 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition for attorney jobs will remain high as more students graduate law schools each year than there are jobs available. New attorneys with prior experience in any area of legal employment, such as legal assistants or law clerks, may have an advantage over new graduates without prior legal experience.
The median annual salary for attorney jobs is $113,530 per year. Salary will vary based on experience, type of law practiced, size of law firm, educational background and the location of the employer's law firm.