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What is a Lawyer?

Lawyer Job Description Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.

Life As a Lawyer

  • Search for and examine public and other legal records to write opinions or establish ownership.
  • Present evidence to defend clients or prosecute defendants in criminal or civil litigation.
  • Examine legal data to determine advisability of defending or prosecuting lawsuit.
  • Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges, and question witnesses during the course of a trial.
  • Interpret laws, rulings and regulations for individuals and businesses.
  • Analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents.

Skills Needed to be a Lawyer

These are the skills Lawyers say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Types of Lawyer

  • Real Estate Lawyer
  • Assistant Federal Public Defender
  • Criminal Lawyer
  • Immigration Attorney
  • Brief Writer

Job Opportunities for Lawyers

In the United States, there were 792,500 jobs for Lawyer in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 65,000 new jobs for Lawyer by 2026. The BLS estimates 40,700 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Lawyers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Lawyer are Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Maine, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Lawyers Salary

The average yearly salary of a Lawyer ranges between $58,220 and $208,000.

Salary Ranges for Lawyers

Lawyers who work in District of Columbia, California, or New York, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Lawyers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $117,100
Alaska $121,680
Arizona $145,750
Arkansas $98,780
California $171,550
Colorado $147,560
Connecticut $153,640
District of Columbia $192,530
Florida $128,920
Georgia $128,930
Hawaii $111,290
Idaho $99,360
Illinois $152,980
Indiana $113,360
Iowa $112,630
Kansas $109,020
Kentucky $100,100
Louisiana $105,490
Maine $107,120
Maryland $128,340
Massachusetts $165,610
Michigan $110,180
Minnesota $119,330
Mississippi $97,990
Missouri $113,780
Montana $88,600
Nebraska $108,170
Nevada $138,920
New Hampshire $125,890
New Jersey $139,020
New Mexico $105,910
New York $167,110
North Carolina $129,990
North Dakota $107,290
Ohio $121,520
Oklahoma $118,790
Oregon $119,500
Pennsylvania $138,610
Rhode Island $125,330
South Carolina $105,320
South Dakota $109,070
Tennessee $124,470
Texas $150,250
Utah $112,380
Vermont $107,490
Virginia $139,180
Washington $136,480
West Virginia $98,630
Wisconsin $130,450
Wyoming $105,600

Tools & Technologies Used by Lawyers

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Lawyers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Word processing software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Project
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • LexisNexis
  • Google Analytics
  • Tax software
  • Fund accounting software
  • Corel WordPerfect
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server MOSS
  • Novell GroupWise

How do I Become a Lawyer?

Education needed to be a Lawyer:

Lawyer Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Lawyer Work Experience

Where Lawyers Are Employed

Lawyer Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Lawyers work:

Lawyer Industries

Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Lawyer might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Okan Г‡alД±Еџkan via CC0 Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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