Law is certainly one of the most prestigious professions practiced in the world today and has remained so since time immemorial. To become a lawyer, one requires at least seven years; four years undergraduate and three years of law school. This requires a great degree of patience, commitment, dedication and passion. It definitely takes the smart students to do law, one must be focused as well to endure the long-time study.
There are several categories of law to choose from:
Corporate law – this deals with laws regarding enterprises and business entities. A corporate lawyer works to represent a company and protect the image and rights of a company. They advise business persons and take care of all legal transactions within a company.
Family law – this deals with family issues such as divorce, adoption and child custody. A family lawyer also represent a family in case of court proceedings.
Criminal law – this deals with representing defending rights of persons accused in a court of law, taking care of bail processing and pleas.
Is practicing law advantageous? This article highlights the advantages and disadvantages of taking up law as a profession.
7 Pros of being a lawyer
Being a top profession in the world today, practicing law is definitely more advantageous as compared to other professions.
1. High income
First, it happens to be also one of the most paying jobs in the world and thus the most sought after. The salary ranges from US$ 120 for beginners to US$ 910 for more experienced lawyers, an average annual salary of US$ 120,000. This may be higher or lower depending on the employer, level of experience and area of practice, experts, therefore, earn more. Some big cases, for instance, related to politics end up paying law firms millions of dollars. Being a good lawyer assures one of a good income.
Being a lawyer is one of the most prestigious jobs. Lawyers often command respect in the society. They are perceived as smart and intelligent. In many organizations, lawyers are highly placed and provided better working conditions as compared to others, they have bigger offices and a variety of perks and special privileges.
3. Intellectual challenges
They have some authority over others for their creativity and consulted during situations for their good judgment. Lawyers are problem solvers and think tanks and are therefore required to make use of analytical skills to ensure the best outcomes.
Law has a wide selection of careers to choose from. Unlike other professionals, lawyers are not restricted to one field of study. There are various fields to practice law such as employment and labor law, intellectual property law, real estate, tax law, finance law personal injury law, bankruptcy law, and civil litigation and immigration law.
Lawyers possess numerous skills which they can apply in other fields or careers such as writing, legal consultation, management and academics. They are open to new opportunities.
5. Great influencers
Lawyers are known to make great changes in society. They use their knowledge to influence positive change and impact on policymaking in the world. They also make great activists and champion for human rights.
6. Opportunity to help
A lawyer gets great satisfaction in helping others. Representing victims and helping them get justice makes they feel great. Sometimes they work on pro bono cases – where they don’t necessarily charge, in a bid to help the society and in NGOs hence charging less for their services to make them affordable to the community. Lawyers have an opportunity to create a positive impact in people’s lives.
Surprisingly, lawyers can actually choose their own clients. This enables them to have flexible working hours and set their own fees. They are also not restricted to work in the office, they work at their areas of choice. Some law firms provide an alternate schedule to ensure the lawyers have adequate time to rest while some give lawyers the chance to choose a workable schedule.
8. Gain numerous skills
Being a lawyer, one is able to interact with different kinds of people from different works of life. In this sense, a lawyer learns the skills of dealing with the different people he/she comes across and learns from them. In the field of work, a lawyer learns skills such as analytical, critical and creative thinking.
11 Cons of being a lawyer
Despite the many advantages, the practice of law is a very demanding career path, it requires a lot of sacrifice.
1. Time consuming
To become a lawyer, one is required at least seven years of study after high school. This takes up a lot of time and resources as compared to other professions where it only requires 3-4 years undergraduate courses. Taking up law also requires intensive hours of reading and a law student spends more time in the library than any other student.
Practicing law itself takes up one’s time especially with the long court proceedings. Lawyers tend to miss out on social activities and have a presumably boring life. Sometimes the schedules are unpredictable and often have to cancel personal plans in order to meet client or employer expectations.
This makes it difficult for lawyers to balance work and family. As an expat, you will have to carefully make sure you balance the work-life cycle to avoid losing out.
Legal education is more costly as compared to other courses offered in institutions of higher learning. It also lasts much longer than other courses hence relatively expensive. Lawbook is extremely expensive and the number of books a student has to purchase is unreasonably surplus.
3. Competitive market
The job market is currently saturated with lawyers making it more difficult for beginners to survive in the industry. They are paid very poorly as compared to their superiors and often do the ‘donkey work’ in the law firms. As a result of the saturation, clients tend to hire the more experienced and influential lawyers leaving out beginners who struggle to survive.
4. Unreasonable rates
Nowadays, there is more awareness and the arising of consulting firms has made it more difficult for lawyers to charge higher for services. Technology has made it easier, cheaper and more efficient to carry out some paralegal activities that for a long time were done by lawyers. Clients can now get some services for a cheaper price on websites. It is for this reason that the clients end up demanding more work for lesser pay.
Contrary to popular belief, lawyers actually spend a lot of time reading and analyzing situations rather than arguing. This involves going through case files, seeking evidence and researching thus more demanding.
Aside from consuming their social time, it is stressful to be a lawyer. The lawyers face the possibility of winning or losing which results to pressure from the employers and clients. This is because some situations are like placing a bet and the lawyers have to be very cautious and at the same time smart with the choice of words. Others require deep analysis and critical thinking which tends to be tedious and stressful.
Stressful working conditions may lead to depression and overall poor performance at work
6. Unreasonable societal expectations
The society hold lawyers in very high standards and expects them to meet their expectations no matter how unrealistic. They perceive lawyers as more intelligent and demand more from them. Therefore, as an expat, you should be prepared to cope with the pressure that comes with the title of being a lawyer.
7. Changing laws
Every now and then, the laws of a country are bound to change with the changing times to satisfy the needs of an evolving society. Therefore, lawyers need to keep abreast of the changes to familiarize themselves with the new laws which Is sometimes frustrating.
Sometimes lawyers face threats as they represent different kinds of people. Lawyers representing criminals are often threatened by the victims of the criminal despite being in their line of duty. In the same case, lawyers representing victims are also threatened by the criminals in a bid to put them off the case. Threats may later advance to violence putting the lives of lawyers at risk.
Criminals also have a tendency to get their lawyers involved in their illegal work taking advantage of the lawyer’s secret oath which puts their profession and lives at risk.
9. Different characters
A lawyer meets and interacts with different people, possessing different characters and attitudes. It is challenging for a lawyer to tolerate some unlikable characters of clients and it becomes difficult to manage such kind of people.
10. Fear of imperfection
There is always pressure on lawyers to be perfect. They are afraid of making errors as they may result into serious consequences such as loss of money by a client and conviction of persons a lawyer represents. Lawyers tend to be extra careful.
Sometimes the lawyers suffer from trauma after handling typically demanding cases.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.