The law profession is funny. Lawyer jokes are an old standby in comedy -- yet “everybody” wants their child to become a lawyer. Here’s an overview of the prestigious occupation.
Types of Lawyers: Civil & Criminal
After you pass the bar exam in your, you can become a civil lawyer or a criminal lawyer for your state. For example if you take California Bar exam, you can practice law in State of California, Law school prepares all students for both types of practice.
- Civil lawyers help clients with domestic or family-related issues unrelated to crime.
- Criminal attorneys handle cases involving crime.
A hybrid third option is becoming a general practice lawyer. General practice lawyers typically serve small communities. They provide most civil and criminal legal services, but they don’t prosecute for the government.
Civil Lawyers Examples
1. Living trust lawyers help families with wills and estates. People set up living trusts to ensure that their assets are distributed as they wish after death. This saves families much time, expense and squabbling.
2. Personal injury lawyers help those who are injured because of others. Their cases could involve negligence, intentional harm or strict liability.
3. Family lawyers’ work can be rather emotional. Upbeat tasks include preparing papers for marriages and adoptions. Family lawyers also represent clients in cases of divorce, custody battles and juvenile delinquency.
More examples: Civil lawyers handle cases involving real estate, corporate law, tax law and constitutional law. Passing the patent bar exam will let you work as a patent attorney too.
Criminal Lawyers Examples
Criminal lawyers include prosecutors and defense attorneys. They handle cases involving everything from traffic violations to felonies.
1. Prosecutors work in state or federal government. Their job is to argue against the defendant.
2. Defense attorneys defend clients and negotiate on their behalf. They work independently or with law firms, not for government.
The government provides defense attorneys when a defendant cannot afford legal services. Such attorneys might work for legal aid associations, but many have their own practices and provide non-paid legal work on a regular basis.
How to Become a Lawyer
Passing your state’s bar exam is key to becoming a lawyer. Most aspiring lawyers attend law school as major preparation for the bar. Thus becoming a lawyer typically takes at least seven years:
- four years of undergraduate work (not necessarily in pre-law)
- three years of law school, and
- extra time spent studying for the exam.
Law school isn’t required. Self-educated people have passed the exam. However, law school isn’t only designed to help you master civil and criminal law; it also provides training in crucial areas for career success, such as legal writing and public speaking. Law school can therefore help you succeed in business, politics and other arenas that require strategic thinking and excellent communication skills.
Prestige comes with a law degree. It shows the world that your mind is strong and that you’ve worked hard. Serving justice as a lawyer is another reward -- and if high pay matters, you’ll have no trouble finding it. As we see it, lawyers get the last laugh.