Taking up a career in the legal profession offers a wide variety of experiences and opportunities that change the perspectives of the professional on legal issues, not only in the country but also internationally. This profession is challenging intellectually, results in personal fulfillment, and is financially rewarding (Tamanaha, 2009). It is one of the prestigious professions that students can pursue and one that hardly disappoints given that the individual is committed to its course. There are various reasons that make the legal profession an interesting career path for those who choose to undertake it. One of the reasons is its diversity in the legal career options. This is as a result of the complexity of the legal system thus opening opportunities for core and non-core legal functions. One can become a lawyer, a judge, a paralegal, to a consultant or a secretary in the legal profession. As a result of the diverse career options, there are greater chances for growth and opportunities. The profession also is one of the lucrative professions with good financial rewards. Additionally, the career challenges the professionals intellectually as they navigate through an evolving legal system. As globalization takes effect, the legal profession is also opening up the professionals with a world view and the opportunity to serve across international borders (Tamanaha, 2009). With these benefits associated with the legal profession, it is, therefore, one of the career paths that students can take since it will never lose its relevance.
To qualify for a career in the legal profession requires that one has certain qualifications. In the United States, practicing of law is conditioned upon admission to the practice of law, and precisely admission to the bar of a particular state or any other territorial jurisdiction (Farnsworth, 2010). The organizations involved in the promulgation of the standards of professionalism and ethics include the American Bar Association as well as the American Law Institute. However, the regulation of the practice of law is solely on the individual states, in which definitions and practice vary. The following are the requirements for one to qualify as a lawyer. One, an individual ought to have undertaken a bachelors degree. The type of the undergraduate degree does not hold a lot of importance. However, one needs to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) which forms part of the assessment tools that law schools use during admission. Secondly, one has to graduate from a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association, with variations from state to state.
Next step is to pass the state bar exam. This is regardless of how well one did in law school. If one wishes to practice law in several states, he or she has to take the exam bars in those states. Next is a character and fitness review. This is due to the high stakes associated with the legal profession. The review revolves around academic conduct, criminal history, general social conduct, as well as applicable disciplinary actions and ethical inquiries (Farnsworth, 2010). Passage of this review is crucial for one to obtain a state law practice. Upon passing these steps, the prospective attorneys need to take a legally binding oath to uphold the codes and the constitution of the United States as well as those of the licensing states. The final step is acquiring the practicing license from the supreme court of the state one is practicing. Upon receiving the license, one is qualified to practice law in the United States.
The demand in the legal profession is considered constant for most of the career options. While some of the practices may suffer due to situations such as recessions, most of the career options have a constant demand (Jasanoff & Jasanoff, 2009). Currently, several law practice areas are still showing potential for traction thus prompting demand for professionals in these areas. One of the areas is in civil litigation. In the event of an economic downturn or tough financial moments, people resort to the legal system to recoup financial losses or to avoid paying money owed. This increases the demand for representation by legal professionals. A second area is in the environmental law as a result of the rising awareness in environmental conservation. Another area having a fast growth in demand is in bankruptcy law sector. This is a result of the employment crisis with unemployment on top levels. People are, therefore, left with difficulties in paying for their monthly financial contributions such as mortgages.
On the same note, labor and employment law offer rising opportunities as well. This is brought about by the declining job market and business downsizing resulting from an ailing economy. This dramatically increases the number of employment lawsuits. Predictions by the corporate counsel indicate a swell in litigation in the future (Jasanoff & Jasanoff, 2009). With the deterioration of the economy, foreclosure law presents opportunities. An estimation by some experts reveals that as approximately 10,000 foreclosures occur daily in the United States. People are unable to pay their mortgages resulting in lawsuits. With the new development in science and technology as well as innovation, intellectual property law increasingly opens up opportunities for experienced professionals. There is a need for more lawyers to venture into this area to seize the rising opportunities. With the increasing demand in the areas mentioned above, students can make informed decisions on the options one ought to take and pursue it with unreserved commitment. It is evidence that the legal profession is broad enough to accommodate as many professionals as possible due to its diversity.
There are certain specific roles and responsibilities that lawyers or attorneys are concerned with in their line of duty. A lawyer is considered an advocate or advisor to the clients that one represents. Clients can be an individual or a business organization. The lawyer has the mandate to counsel the client on legal matters such as legal options as well as representing them in court proceedings, be it civil or criminal. Although the representation is practical in courtrooms, a lawyer is indulged in extensive research and preparation of cases that one will present in the courtrooms. These duties demand that one possesses certain skills and competence in order to win cases. Among the important skills include competence in research and analysis, writing skills, eloquence in speaking, and the ability to solve problems. Additionally, one ought to exhibit a high level of confidence and the ability to persuade and convince to win arguments. The profession is very engaging and therefore, calls for total commitment and readiness to work around the call if the situation necessitates that. Individuals who lose focus amidst an undertaking can hardly survive in the legal profession, especially as lawyers.
Experience is a critical aspect in determining the success of a legal professional. For one to undertake and win a big case such as that of murder requires that one had undergone adequate training and preparation. As such, fresh graduates start off as assistants to already established lawyers helping them in research and other paper work. To kick start representation, one would start with cases of a lower magnitude and rise the ladder with every successful case. Success in the courtrooms exposes lawyers to potential clients and failure could lead to ones downfall. Building a reputation calls for undivided commitment which can be rewarding in huge ways especially when one wins a big case for a big client.
In summary, the legal profession is a lucrative career path one can take. The field offers a variety of benefits among them challenging one intellectually, a broad range of options to choose from, prestige, personal fulfillment, as well as a lucrative financial gain. In the United States, certain requirements are critical in qualifying as a legal professional. These include a basic bachelors degree, graduate from a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association, take a state bar exam, go through a character and fitness review, take an oath, and finally acquire a license to practice law. The demand in the legal profession for services is considered constant, and this guarantees the availability of opportunities to work. The roles and responsibilities of lawyers include advocating for and offering advice to their clients. They also represent them in court proceedings to help them win cases against them. This requires special skills such as research and analytical abilities, eloquence, commitment, and confidence. With these revelations, students can make informed decisions in their career choice and take legal profession among others since it is offering security due to its varied opportunities.
Farnsworth, E. A. (2010). An introduction to the legal system of the United States. Oxford University Press.
Jasanoff, S., & Jasanoff, S. (2009). Science at the bar: Law, science, and technology in America. Harvard University Press.
Tamanaha, B. Z. (2009). A concise guide to the rule of law.
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