Civil rights attorneys follow a calling, defending the Constitution of the United States in order to make sure that the rights of their clients are being protected. These lawyers tend to take on the sorts of cases in which the rights of individuals have been attacked and need to be defended accordingly. Civil rights attorney jobs may involve advocating for women's rights, civil rights, human rights, gay and lesbian rights, voting rights, first amendment rights, and disability rights, and a lawyer may also specialize in one form of rights over the others if he or she so chooses. Becoming a civil rights attorney takes the same level of education as it does to become most other types of attorneys, but involves specialized education geared toward rights laws rather than some other area of law like criminal law. When specializing in civil rights, an attorney will choose specialized schooling to make sure that the he or she obtains the right qualifications. Job duties vary greatly from one civil rights attorney job to the next, meaning that there are plenty of fields of study and practice that a civil rights attorney can go into.
The process of becoming a civil rights attorney begins with getting a four-year undergraduate degree from a university. That’s followed by a three-year education at a law school. During law school, an aspiring civil rights lawyer will make the decision to take the courses needed to specialize in constitutional law. After graduating from law school, the lawyer has to pass the bar exam before practicing law. Every state has its own bar exam, so be sure to check for your state's requirements. Many prestigious law firms are tough to get into because of the competition for admission that exists, so education is very critical. Some law students find it hard enough just to get into a prestigious law school these days, which should speak to the amount of competition that exists within the legal industry in general.
Depending upon the specialization of a given civil rights attorney
, there are different duties that are required. A lot of the specializations involve special interest groups. These include gay and lesbian rights, disability rights, human rights, and women's rights. Civil rights attorneys fight to ensure that individuals in these groups are being treated fairly. Other civil rights lawyers, meanwhile, will focus on just one major issue or amendment, such as privacy, freedom of expression, the eleventh amendment, voting rights, and so on. Fundamentally, though, every civil rights attorney is about ensuring that individuals are treated equally, no matter what.
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Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
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