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The Job Profile and Work Involved as a Litigation Attorney

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  • Civil law cases
  • Medical malpractice
  • Products liability
  • Appeals in appellate court
  • Torts
These are just a few of the instances that call for a litigation attorney. The following will look at the aspects of litigation attorney jobs, including the responsibilities, pay scale, and education required.


If you are considering litigation attorney jobs when deciding to join this profession, first you will have to go to school at an accredited college for three to four years doing undergraduate work. When you successfully complete this aspect of your education, depending upon whether you are going for a BA or BS degree, you will take the LSAT. The LSAT exam does not deal with legal questions. Their questions are more along the lines of seeing how well you can reason and understand certain situations. This is required before you can even apply to a law school.

When you choose the area of law, such as a litigation attorney this most likely will add another year of studies. When finished, you will have a Juris Doctorate, sometimes called a Doctor of Jurisprudence. Then comes the ABA exam which you have to pass in order to become licensed to practice law. Deciding upon the area of law that you choose to practice is your next step, if you have not already made up your mind. The law examiners board will interview you, depending upon the state in which you are planning to practice law.

As you can see a lot of the requirements for different types of lawyers are set by the State Bar. The law varies by state however, there are a few that will allow you to take the bar exam without having a degree in law.

The next step will be entry into the bar, which the requirements for vary depending upon the state in which you live. This test usually requires 2 to 3 days to complete. The Multi-State Bar Exam is similar to the SAT or ACT, has about 200 questions that are multiple choice. They will all be about questions that are of a legal nature so do not worry that they will spring something on you that you know nothing about. The other test that many states require you to take is the Professional Responsibility Exam. The process is quite lengthy and requires a multitude of tests to become the professional that you are striving to become. That is one reason litigation attorney jobs pay as well as they do. The time that it takes to get to the point of court room hearings and trial, writing dispositive motions, appeals appellate, and the like is not a short period of time. The process is long and you must study religiously to make the grade.

The cost of becoming a lawyer can well exceed $200,000 depending upon the school that you attend as well as the time required for you to finish and get your degree.
Interested in these kinds of jobs? Click here to find Litigation jobs.

How Well Do Litigation Attorney Jobs Pay?

Again this depends upon the area of the country in which you are going to practice. The larger cities such as New York are naturally higher paying than a small city or town. The larger law firms will pay around $160,000 per year for litigation attorney jobs to start. Smaller cities will normally start around $120,000 for a new associate. The smaller the city, the less you are going to be offered. Some small cities only start their first year attorneys at $35,000.

Do not be fooled into thinking that just because you have graduated from law school and passed the bar exam that you are entitled to a high salary. This is not going to happen unless you were the number one in your graduating class and then only if there is a law firm interested in you. Law firms keep track of the students who are about to graduate from law school. They are well aware of what percentage of the class you were in when graduating. They only recruit from the top percentage.

Very few people decide to become lawyers due to the pay. Yes, this is definitely a factor. However, a true love for the law and seeing that it is enforced is what motivates most people to want to become lawyers. If you make it to the top law firms and secure a partner seat, the pay will be extremely well and worth the effort.

A great many of these law students take out large student loans to pay for their education and these loans have to be paid back. It may take a little while for you to realize your dream but if you apply yourself and are the best attorney for the job, you will probably be the one chosen.

What Do Attorney Say About Their Profession?

Some attorneys say litigation costs have become too expensive for most people in the last few years. In surveys litigation attorney jobs were one of the professions where the competition for clients has become more intense. Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt, a professor at Indiana University School of Law, says, ''Perhaps the conflicts in litigation have gotten uglier because continuing relationships among parties and lawyers have gotten weaker.'' This outlook is held by more than Mr. Dau-Schmidt, as Amiram Elwork, the director of the law-psychology graduate program at Wedener University, says that, ''People are so motivated to win at any price that they become very uncivil to each other—and play all kinds of games—which makes the litigation process much more costly.''


Due to this and various other reasons mainly due to expense, litigation attorney jobs are not doing as well as they once did, especially in the larger law firms. In-house lawyers, who work for one company, are more than likely the ones who are more understanding of the cost of litigation. This is a big reason more people are seeking out litigation attorney jobs within the private sector rather than the large firms who have more lawyers competing for the same clients. Regardless of where you decide to practice, the litigation attorney is a good profession to undertake as long as the main objective remains to help people who need your help.

Please see this article to find out if litigation is right for you: Why Most Attorneys Have No Business Being Litigators: Fifteen Reasons Why You Should Not Be a Litigator
Interested in these kinds of jobs? Click here to find Litigation jobs.

About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About LawCrossing
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

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Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

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.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

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LawCrossing has the most listings of any job board I have used. It's actually a great site. The website had a lot of detail. It’s nice that you don't have to go through a recruiter if you don't want to. You can actually contact the law firm directly for the positions listed. LawCrossing had a ton of great features.
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