Skip to main content
A-Z IndexCalendarsDirectoryMaps

Background Image for Header:

Home / Academics / Careers / Lawyers Career

Lawyers Career

Career 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.

What Job Titles Lawyers Might Have

  • Assistant Attorney General
  • Associate Attorney
  • Attorney
  • Lawyer

What Lawyers Do

  • Analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents.
  • Advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits, or legal rights and obligations.
  • 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.
  • Present evidence to defend clients or prosecute defendants in criminal or civil litigation.
  • Represent clients in court or before government agencies.
  • Present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
  • Study Constitution, statutes, decisions, regulations, and ordinances of quasi-judicial bodies to determine ramifications for cases.
  • Prepare, draft, and review legal documents, such as wills, deeds, patent applications, mortgages, leases, and contracts.
  • Negotiate settlements of civil disputes.
  • Supervise legal assistants.
  • Examine legal data to determine advisability of defending or prosecuting lawsuit.
  • Evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments in preparation for presentation of cases.
  • Gather evidence to formulate defense or to initiate legal actions, by such means as interviewing clients and witnesses to ascertain the facts of a case.
  • Prepare legal briefs and opinions, and file appeals in state and federal courts of appeal.
  • Search for and examine public and other legal records to write opinions or establish ownership.
  • Confer with colleagues with specialties in appropriate areas of legal issue to establish and verify bases for legal proceedings.
  • Perform administrative and management functions related to the practice of law.
  • Work in environmental law, representing public interest groups, waste disposal companies, or construction firms in their dealings with state and federal agencies.
  • Probate wills and represent and advise executors and administrators of estates.
  • Act as agent, trustee, guardian, or executor for businesses or individuals.

What Lawyers Should Be Good At

  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

What Lawyers Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

What Lawyers Need to Learn

  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $118,160

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.