Becoming a legal professional is something that many people aspire to do. The great working conditions, excellent pay, and retirement benefits all make a career in the legal profession something worth striving for.
However, there are some things that you’ll need to know before you start working on your first practice. It’s not all plain sailing.
Some Law Careers Are More Flexible Than Others
Going into law isn’t a one size fits all process. Instead, it is a highly varied field with multiple opportunities and working styles.
Some legal jobs are much more flexible than others. If you go to work for a big firm, for instance, you’ll have to put in the hours just like everyone else.
If, however, you switch to more of a consultancy role, you can take on projects as they come to you. There’s no pressure to be in the office Monday to Friday, nine to five.
You Won’t Spend A Lot Of Time In Court
Hollywood loves to focus on lawyers’ theatrical appearances in court. But the reality is that that kind of thing is usually only a small part of the job. Most lawyers spend most of their time doing research and looking up precedents with legal research software. A lot of their time is actually spent trying to defuse potential legal situations on the part of their clients so that they don’t get to court in the first place.
You Won’t Become A Partner Immediately
Once you become a partner at your firm, you know that you’ve made it. All of a sudden, you have control over the firm and a degree of authority and autonomy.
Getting to such a position, though, doesn’t come swiftly, even if you’re a top performer. Usually, you have to wait for the old-guard to retire before being allowed to take their place.
The best strategy for young lawyers looking to improve their pay grade is to look horizontally, not vertically. Seek out other firms offering more senior positions to work your way up the ladder faster.
You’ll Need To Become An Adept Writer
Writing is a challenge for most people, but especially lawyers who have to be particularly precise in the way that they use it. You can’t rattle off letters to clients using everyday English. That simply won’t suffice. Most of your communications will have legal content, meaning that how you phrase your sentences matters.
Unfortunately, speaking in legalese isn’t an option either. You need to communicate with your clients in a way that they can understand. So most lawyers put considerable effort into improving their writing skills once they graduate from training.
You Can’t Always Find Clear Answers
Legal systems seem well-defined on the outside. But in many cases, there are no clear legal precedents for what a court should do. And that means that you’ll need to do a lot of analysis and research to make your case.
This is the part of the job where you’ll need to engage your critical thinking skills and put them to good use.