Becoming an attorney is quite exciting. Don’t let all those ‘evil lawyer’ jokes get you down, there are plenty of lawyers, those that work pro bono, or fight for activist causes, who help provide legal representation to the people that need it the most.
If you’re considering practicing law, maybe joining a law firm like MyDefence, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Law school costs
No getting around this one. The average student loan debt for lawyers in the US sits at $142,900 as of 2015-16 SY, with private law schools costing about $50,000 annually. Public schools, meanwhile, cost less, with an average annual cost of $21,300.
Of course, the law can be a profitable field, but that depends on where you take up work, but the good news is that the median compensation for attorneys in 2019 sits at $122,960, so you’ll be able to repay those loans soon.
Still, consider the costs of law school and the three years before diving into law school.
Law school is a three-year program after getting your bachelor’s degree, which means that that totals to 7 years.
You do have options, however, as some schools offer accelerated law school programs which lets people pass in 2 years. That’s full-time, however.
A lot of law schools do offer part-time programs for people that want to take it slow or simply have busy lives.
Ask any attorney working in any law firm like MyDefence; public speaking is part and parcel of the job. Lawyers present information to clients, juries, judges, arbitrators, colleagues, and other people.
Trial lawyers present in courts, corporate attorneys present in the boardroom. Regardless of what your specialization, lawyers need to have good oratory skills.
Words are the tools of the trade for a lawyer. As much as being a lawyer demands oratory skills, it also demands good writing skills.
Arguing motions, taking depositions, documenting cases, writing up contracts and negotiations; those are just some of the things lawyers write up. Writing is an inescapable part of being an attorney.
Another key skill for the practice of law, logical reasoning is a must for any decent lawyer, regardless of specialization.
If you’re the type to enjoy logic puzzles, research, and the like, law will come naturally to you. If not, then you can still develop these skills. You can take classes or pick up puzzles in order to develop and sharpen your skills.
Long work hours
This isn’t a requirement for all lawyers, but some clients do want lawyers who are accessible around the clock.
A lot of lawyers work full-time, with a lot of them seeing more than 40 hours of work weekly. Lawyers that work in public interest venues and academia have more forgiving schedules, but they sacrifice a bit of better pay for better work-life balance.