Lawyers are people who have spent many years studying the law. We need lawyers because laws are sometimes so complicated and hard to understand that it takes a lawyer to figure them out. If you were ever the victim of a crime, you might go to court to explain to a judge what happened. You would have a lawyer to give you advice and to help you understand how the whole legal process works.
Becoming a Lawyer
Lawyers stay in school for a long time. After high school, they enroll in college, usually for four years, and then in a law school for another three years. Once he has graduated from law school, a person must pass a difficult test called the Bar Exam. Because it takes such a long time and so much training to become a lawyer, a person must be really dedicated to the field.
Types of Lawyers
Depending upon what type of law a person studied in law school, he might have many different job responsibilities. The most recognized type of lawyer is probably the criminal defense attorney made popular by prime time television. This lawyer defends people accused of crimes. There are many other types of lawyers as well: Family lawyers help people who are getting divorced, or sometimes they help kids who are mistreated to find better homes. Real estate lawyers help people buy and sell houses, and corporate lawyers help inventors patent their inventions. This is only a small sampling of the types of jobs lawyers do.
Advantages and Drawbacks
Being a lawyer has its advantages. Lawyers are usually paid very well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyers earned an average of around $125,000 in 2008. Lawyers are also typically well-respected, and because they spent so much time in school, they're usually well-educated on many topics. But, being a lawyer has its drawbacks, as well. Most lawyers must work long hours, and the work can be stressful. Sometimes a lawyer loses a case that he's worked really hard on, and as a result, an innocent person might have to go to jail or a guilty person might go free.
Why Become a Lawyer?
Lawyers do a lot of good in the world. Sometimes lawyers help parents adopt children from other countries so they can have loving homes and more opportunities. Or a lawyer might help bring someone to justice who has harmed an animal. This can feel pretty good. Usually, when a person is in legal trouble, the first person he calls is a lawyer to help him understand what happens next. If you're thinking of becoming a lawyer, weigh the advantages and the disadvantages and talk to someone in the field. Being a lawyer is not for everyone, but for some people, it can be a rewarding profession.
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images