What type of job lawyers would you like to be?
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Lawyer jobs are also very diverse as well as lucrative and plentiful. You have to determine what area of law you want to go into, although this is something that can develop throughout your education as well.
Getting an education for lawyer jobs
When you begin your education for job lawyers, you'll likely major in pre-law as your undergraduate focus. Upon graduation, you'll go to law school for three years. As you go in to law school, you're going to choose your area of specialization; for example, you could decide to become an environmental lawyer as one of the many job lawyers pursue, if you're interested in helping the environment. You can also become a criminal lawyer if you're interested in participating in the criminal justice system, either as a defense lawyer or as a prosecutor. Another area you may want to go into is corporate law, as stated previously, whereby you help businesses understand the law and follow it within the parameters of the corporate arena.
Moving into job lawyers from other careers
If you don't think you have the expertise or time at the moment to get the education necessary for lawyer jobs, or to pursue a career as a lawyer, you could become a paralegal. Schooling for a paralegal is much less intensive than it is for a lawyer, and it is therefore also much less expensive. By obtaining either certification as a paralegal or going for a full bachelor's degree, you can circumvent at least temporarily the long education you'll need to pursue to become a lawyer, and still be working in full-time employment as you continue to pursue law school, if this is a goal for you.
Because being a paralegal requires a significant knowledge of legal procedures, legal terminology, and the law (but in some cases does not require a significant amount of coursework), you can still pursue it if you have an interest in law but no time at the present to get the education so that you'd actually be qualified for lawyer jobs.
Getting a job as a lawyer
Job lawyers can be difficult to get, because competition is fierce; many people are pursuing degrees as lawyers these days, so that there is an influx of "new talent," with a stagnation of jobs at least at present because of the economy. Nonetheless, if you do opt to be a lawyer, your school will generally help with career placement upon graduation. It's helpful if you intern as a lawyer while in school so that you can show you have job experience prior to graduation.
Beginning your career as a lawyer
If you pursue job lawyers career
immediately, you may begin your career as an associate lawyer and law firm, or you may clerk for more experienced lawyers or for judges. Either of these careers will give you significant experience in the area you wish to practice law in, so that you can move into full-time practice later. Many lawyers also open their own practices once they become experienced lawyers, so that self-employment is also an option (with experience) if this is a career path you choose.
Salary and outlook for lawyer jobs
Paralegals can expect salaries of about $40,000 a year on average across all sectors, with a good job outlook for the next few years. Lawyers, of course, must have significantly more education and must pass the bar exam besides; they also have significantly more responsibility than paralegals do. Their salary is commensurate with this experience, and averages roughly $95,000 a year across all sectors and levels of experience.
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