Indeed, family law is a fairly specialized area of law and family law jobs
will require the family attorney to have a broad understanding on both the legal aspects and the soft issues that families have to deal with. That said, the majority of family law jobs are tasked with serving as divorce lawyers.
Family attorneys will be the ‘go to' persons for their clients on legal matters around family matters and will suggest the best legal course of action that should be taken in any given situation. When the family attorney is handling a matter on behalf of the family, the approach taken will differ depending on the issue at hand. They might have to interview each family member that is involved in the matter especially of the dispute and then use the information gathered to either mediate a settlement, press charges or go for any other solution that will be to the satisfaction of his or her client.
If a dispute has to go to court, the family attorney must conduct the necessary research to prepare for the case and secure their client's interests. They must be committed to assisting their clients obtain the best outcome to legal disputes. Due to the need for them to have a great deal of information in order to best serve the family, family lawyers are sometimes hold even more information on a family's most intimate secrets and history than some members of the same family.
So how do you become a family attorney? First, you will need to obtain a four year bachelor's degree (preferably in a humanities subject such as English or Political Science) followed applying for law school, where you will have to pass the Law School Admission Test. Law school courses will cover civil procedure, legal writing, constitutional law and contracts. After 3 years of law school, you must then pass the written bar examination in your state to become a licensed law practitioner. As with almost any job nowadays, IT skills covering internet research and the use of standard desktop applications are also important.
Due to the unique nature of this type of law, there are a number of skills that anyone seeking jobs in family law must possess. First, family attorneys must have good interpersonal skills, be excellent oral and written communicators and be detail orientated. Family law jobs require that you be a skilled negotiator, possess good observational skills and have a solid working knowledge of federal and state family laws.
You will also need to have a good understanding of key areas of family finance as a good deal of family law work can involve settling financial disputes. Family law jobs very often deal with complex emotive situations and an ability to maturely and objectively handle stressful circumstances without getting swallowed up in an emotional vortex is a must for anyone thinking of entering this area of law.
Family law jobs are very much like jobs in most other areas of the law in that the family attorney will spend the greater part of their time in the office, law libraries and the court room. Just like a family doctor, family attorneys must be prepared to work odd hours and can be called upon to meet the client at their own home or place of work.
The outlook for family law jobs
is positive according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics which predicts that the demand for lawyers, which includes family lawyers, is expected to increase 13% by 2018. With divorce cases ever on the rise, there is certainly an equal growth in the need for jobs in family law.
Family lawyers' salaries will vary depending on the location, size of the practice and experience. As a rule of thumb, lawyers in large firms in metropolitan areas earn more than those in small firms in rural areas. The average annual salary for all attorneys was $110,590 in May 2008 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics.
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