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Lawyers (also called attorneys) are advisors to clients who need legal counseling. They research, interview witnesses and inform the clients of their legal rights and obligations. They offer their opinion on how to handle legal situations. Lawyers can be trial attorneys representing one of the parties in civil and criminal cases. Trial work requires quick thinking and excellent oral communication skills.

Working Conditions

Lawyers work long hours in offices, law libraries and courtrooms. They may travel.


Salaries of experienced lawyers vary widely according to the type, size and location of their employer. The middle half of lawyers earn between $51,450 and $114,520.

Helpful Skills and Subjects to Study

Courses in English, foreign languages, public speaking, government, philosophy, history, economics, mathematics and computer science are helpful. Prospective lawyers should develop proficiency in writing and speaking, reading, researching, analyzing and thinking logically.

Related Jobs

Legal training is useful in many other occupations. Some of these are arbitrator, mediator, journalist, patent agent, and corporate executive.

Education & Training

Formal education requirements for lawyers include a four-year college degree, three years in law school, and successful completion of a written bar examination.

Job Outlook

There will be stiff competition for individuals interested in pursuing careers as lawyers through the year 2017. The number of law school graduates is expected to continue to strain the economy's capacity to absorb them.

Sources for Additional Information

American Bar Association
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611

Law School Admission Council
P.O. Box 40
Newtown, PA 18940