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What do Lawyers do?  

People and companies hire lawyers to tell them what they can and cannot do under the law. Sometimes, they hire lawyers to take their side in court against other people or companies, or against the government. To be a good lawyer, a person must be good at finding legal facts in books and other places. He or she must also be able to speak and write well in order to pass those facts on to others. More and more lawyers are using computers to find the facts they use in their work.

Most lawyers work for themselves or in companies with other lawyers. Other people and companies hire these lawyers when they need them. Some lawyers work for only one person or company all of the time. A few lawyers teach other people to be lawyers. And some lawyers work for the government.

Lawyers do most of their work in offices, law libraries, and courtrooms. They sometimes meet in clients' homes or places of business. When necessary, they may meet clients in hospitals or prisons. They may travel to attend meetings, gather evidence, and appear before courts, legislative bodies, and other authorities. Lawyers often work long hours, especially during a trial in court.

How do you get ready to become a Lawyer?  

To be a lawyer, a person must have a license from the State in which he or she wants to work. To get a license, the person must go to college for 4 years. The person must then go to law school for 3 years. Finally, the person must pass a special test given by the State. The test is called the "Bar Examination." Even after they have their licenses, lawyers must keep on learning about their work. Most States say that a lawyer must go back to school every once in a while after he or she has a license.

How much do Lawyers get paid?  

The middle half of all lawyers earned between $61,060 and $136,810 a year in 2002. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $44,490. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $145,600 a year. The pay for lawyers depends on whom they work for. It also depends on how long they have been lawyers and on how many special things they have learned about the law. In general, lawyers are among the highest paid workers in the country.

How many jobs are there?  

Lawyers held about 695,000 jobs in 2002. About 3 out of 4 lawyers practiced privately either in law firms or solo practices. Other lawyers worked for a wide range of private businesses and government agencies.

What about the future?  

Employment of lawyers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012. This is because there will be more reasons for companies, persons, and governments to hire lawyers. But it is also true that a lot of people will try to become lawyers. This means that a person who wants to be a lawyer will have to work really hard to be one of those who get into law school. Graduates from law school will have to compete for good jobs also.

Are there other jobs like this?  

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

For more comprehensive information on careers see the Careers Database.

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