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Becoming a Lawyer

Lawyers are state-licensed individuals who engage on the practice of law and advise clients on legal matters pertaining to them. Lawyers can help defend the position of the plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit) or the defendant (the party defending the lawsuit).

They defend their client by presenting to the court an oral argument with accompanying facts, documents, evidences, motions, briefs, and witnesses. It is the job of the attorney to defend their client in the eyes of the law in a way that is favorable and just.

There are several different types of attorneys, and each has a different role that they must fulfill. This role is dependent on their practice environment and field of specialization.

Litigation attorneys, also known as trial lawyers, represent clients in legal disputes that are resolved through a lawsuit, mediation, or negotiation agreement. These counselors interview clients, render legal advice, perform legal research, take dispositions, attend site inspections, argue motions before a judge, and draft legal documents.

Legal documents that are drafted include pleading, discovery, motions, and briefs. Litigation attorneys can handle cases regarding divorce, criminal prosecution, monetary disputes, vehicular accidents, homicide, violence, burglary, and a variety of other lawsuits.

Transactional Attorneys are corporate lawyers who advise clients in connections and transactions. Large companies typically have a staff of corporate attorneys who oversee, negotiate, and advise the company on anything that requires legal advice.

Such things may include drawing up and reviewing contracts, merger proposals, liability claims, employee contracts, business transactions, real estate, copyrights, and any other company related documentation that needs or would be benefited from legal advice and representation.

The team also perform due diligence, draft transactional documents, counsel clients, prepare and submit materials to governmental bodies, perform legal research, supervise closings, and draft a variety of legal documents. These legal documents may include contracts, resolutions, legal opinions, and escrow trust agreements.

Unlike litigation attorneys, corporate lawyers work on making deals instead of solving cases. They also perform and advocate in board rooms instead of courtrooms.

In order to become qualified to practice law, counselors must complete a minimum of seven years of college education after high school. After graduating high school, they must attend and graduate from a four year university with a bachelor’s degree.

Most lawyers choose to receive their undergraduate degree in English, philosophy, literature, or like degrees. After receiving an undergraduate degree, they must pass the LSAT in order to even apply to law school.

If they pass the LSAT, they may enter into a law degree program; but they must then complete 3 years of law school. After graduating with a master’s in law, they must take another test.

Aspiring lawyers must then pass a bar examination test for every state that they wish to practice law in. If they want to practice law in California, Nevada, and Arizona, then they must take three examinations; one for each state.

This means that they not only have to know the law basics, but they must know what the various laws are in each state. Most states also require an ethics examination that must be passed in order to become a licensed attorney.

People who become licensed attorneys obviously show perseverance through their intense schooling and testing requirements, but successful lawyer typically have other characteristics in common as well. These traits include exceptional written and oral communication skills, analytical skills, multi-tasking abilities, strong leadership qualities, hard work ethic, and the ability to empathize with their client’s situation.

Lawyers must also follow strict ethical guidelines, and comply with the client confidentiality rules. Lawyers can work in a private practice, private industry, the government, judiciary, education, or public interest organization working solo or with a firm.

The salaries of lawyers vary greatly across the country depending on location, area of specialty, and demand for their services. Counselors in larger, metropolitan areas working for large corporations tend to make more money than those who work in the public sector.

Jack Landry has practiced law in California since the 80s and lectures at many prestigious universities across the country. He has written hundreds of articles about life insurance lawyer Los Angeles and related subjects.

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Jack Landry