Considering a career in the field of law? Like all career choices, it’s not a decision you should take lightly. While many people have found success and professional satisfaction within the legal world, the road to a rewarding career often involves a huge investment of time, money, and energy on your part.
One of the biggest concerns for someone curious about becoming an attorney is attending law school.
However, having a realistic perspective on the opportunities the legal field offers after earning a law degree should also factor into your decision-making process. One can get educated as early as a kid of the benefits of becoming a lawyer, either online or by visiting one of the local libraries. In order to better understand these fundamental concerns, let’s explore the pros and cons of pursuing this particular career path.
The perks of becoming a professional attorney
1. Enjoy a solid paycheck
Those who pursue careers in the legal field can find themselves presented with very lucrative opportunities. Attorneys, for example, are one of the highest paid positions in the field with a median annual salary in the six-figure range.
Like many other professional fields, earnings vary based on the size of your firm, your level of experience, and where you choose to work. Typically, those who work for larger law firms earn the highest pay.
2. Prestigious status
The title of attorney has long been regarded as a symbol of success and professional prestige in the public eye. Lawyers often receive a good deal of respect from their communities as an authority figure able to provide expert assistance to those who find themselves in legal trouble.
3. The advantage of a high-quality education
Law schools are extremely competitive learning environments with high standards for academic achievement. No matter what kind of professional path you decide to pursue after graduating, you can count on receiving a high-quality education that will open doors to a variety of opportunities after graduation.
In addition to an expert understanding of the law, these institutions also prepare young professionals to become efficient communicators and critical thinkers, both sought after skills transferable to a wide variety of other professions.
The challenges that you will face
1. Stagnating job market
Unfortunately, tougher economic conditions around the country have made attorney fees an expense many people simply can’t afford. With the demand shrinking, some private law firms have been forced to downsize their staff, making it difficult to secure a long-term position.
2. High investment requirements
Simply put, law school is expensive. Today, about 90 percent of law school students pay for their education with student loans and enter the job market tens of thousands of dollars in debt, a considerable financial burden for those who don’t find high-paying legal work directly after graduating. Pursuing a law career can carry a heavy price for those who are not fully prepared to dedicate themselves to finding relevant employment after getting their degree.
3. Potentially stressful work schedules
Your responsibilities as a practising attorney can often mean longer hours and less freedom during nights and weekends. In addition, frequent deadlines, client negotiations, and the need to stay current with changes to the legal code can create a stressful day-to-day routine.
Be sure you’re prepared to deal with varying amounts of work-related stress and consider the impact on your lifestyle before investing yourself in a legal career.
Steps towards fulfilling your professional law goal
If you’ve carefully weighed your options and feel confident enough to pursue a career in law, use this strategy guide to help you prepare for the next steps:
1. Attend law school and choose a particular field of law to focus on
There are many different options when it comes to choosing a specific area of focus. Criminal law, environmental law, and tax law are just a few of the various fields you can choose to specialise in.
After completing your law school’s core curriculum, you’ll be able to pursue the specific kind of law that interests you most. Be sure to research your choice extensively to be sure it’s the path you want to take.
2. Prepare to complete the bar exam after finishing law school
Before being qualified to practice law in a particular area, you’ll need to pass your state’s bar examination. Most states administer this test over two days during a particular time of the year.
The exam tests your ability to understand legal principles and in some cases, the laws in your state. Most law school graduates enrol in a third-party bar preparation program geared specifically to prepare you for possible exam questions.
3. Secure work as a practising lawyer
This can be a very difficult given the dismal state of the job market. Making yourself known at a law firm through a prior assistant or intern position can make the job hunt much easier.
Many graduates begin searching for a job before they take the bar exam to ensure they have a clear path to employment. It’s always best to start looking early since it can take time and effort to find a suitable position.
Lane Fitzgerald is an experienced Beloit, Wisconsin bankruptcy attorney. If you need assistance managing your bankruptcy, contact the Fitzgerald Law Firm today.