Working as a lawyer can be a highly fulfilling venture for professionals seeking an intellectually challenging and influential career. As a lawyer, you can explore various options for specialization and help make a difference in the lives of others while earning high rates of compensation. If you’re considering becoming a lawyer, it may be helpful for you to review a few of the most common reasons that candidates choose to enter this profession. In this article, we outline nine reasons to become a lawyer and offer a few helpful tips for successfully starting your career in this field.
9 reasons to become a lawyer
There are many reasons that candidates choose to become lawyers. Here are a few of those reasons explained to help you gain a better understanding of whether this career path is right for you:
1. Professional fulfillment
Due to the nature of their careers, lawyers have the unique opportunity to help others and make a difference in their lives. Even more, through their day-to-day role of offering legal services in a diverse array of environments, lawyers can typically challenge themselves intellectually. Through these opportunities, lawyers may be able to serve as leaders and work toward societal betterment, which can be highly fulfilling, especially for those professionals interested in advocating for the public good.
2. Salary potential
Lawyers have the potential to earn high rates of compensation by offering their expertise and services. The national average salary for a lawyer is $73,998 per year, and these professionals commonly earn employer-sponsored benefits like health, dental, and vision insurance, paid time off (PTO), retirement plan options, and parental leave. This salary figure may increase significantly depending on a lawyer’s place of employment, location, level of experience, and the type of law they practice.
3. Specialization options
There are many specialization options available to lawyers. These professionals can pursue broad fields of law or concentrate their work in a niche area. For example, lawyers may work in specialty areas such as criminal or civil law, employment and labor law, family law, entertainment law, or corporate law. Having access to such a wide array of specialization options can make it easier for lawyers to find a role that fits their professional interests and needs.
4. Advancement options
The legal field can offer professionals various opportunities for advancement throughout their careers. Not only are there many options for advancement within particular law firms—such as the move from associate to partner—but lawyers can pursue other types of work as they grow as professionals. For instance, lawyers with sufficient experience and a successful reputation may be able to open their own private practice and eventually advance into other roles as professors, district attorneys, or judges.
5. Job Outlook
Lawyers generally enjoy positive employment prospects, as these professionals are typically in demand and can work in a variety of environments. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of lawyers may increase by 9% between 2020 and 2030, resulting in the addition of approximately 71,500 jobs in this field. This growth rate is about as fast as the average for all occupations and may continue to expand due to legal firms, companies, government agencies, and other organizations’ increasing need for legal consultation and in-house legal services.
6. Work environment and accommodations
Lawyers have the option to work in many environments depending on their professional interests and needs. Lawyers can typically find roles at law firms, government agencies, companies, and nonprofit organizations, but may also find unique roles at other organizations seeking legal services. Even more, those lawyers who work for law firms or in-house at organizations may enjoy various perks and special accommodations, such as private offices, gym memberships, child care, or box seats at sporting events.
7. Prestige and influence
Working as a lawyer can offer professionals a distinct level of prestige and status in their communities. This prestige can earn lawyers professional recognition and afford them a certain amount of influence. Through this influence and their unique position, lawyers can work within legal parameters to enact societal change, especially when serving in governmental roles as policymakers.
After earning a certain level of experience, recognition, and success in their careers, lawyers can become independent practitioners and start their own legal firms. Having access to this type of career independence is a distinct advantage afforded to lawyers. By starting independent law firms, lawyers can take charge of their own careers, increase their earnings significantly, and boost their professional status.
9. Transferrable skills
Lawyers’ skills are highly transferrable, making it easier for them to transition into alternative career paths if they decide to stop practicing law. The competencies these professionals develop through their education and experience can help them succeed as academics, researchers, managers, and consultants. The transferability of lawyers’ skills may allow them to enjoy more career mobility than other professionals.
Tips for starting your career as a lawyer
Beginning your career as a lawyer may require a significant commitment of time and effort. Prospective lawyers typically need to attend law school, pursue experiential learning opportunities, pass certifying exams and develop themselves professionally. With each of these barriers to entry in mind, there are various actions you can take to jumpstart your career as a lawyer successfully. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you enter the legal profession:
Take law school and the bar exam seriously. To be eligible for a career in law, candidates typically need to take advantage of key educational opportunities and pass the bar exam.
Consider all career prospects equally. When starting your career and looking for open roles, try to keep an open mind and consider all prospects equally to make an informed decision about your path.
Develop your emotional intelligence. Lawyers with emotional intelligence and a high capacity for empathy are often most effective in understanding their client’s needs and counseling them.
Find a mentor. Try to establish a relationship with a mentor figure who can share their insight and help you grow throughout your career.
Identify your niche. Determine whether you can concentrate your work within a specialty area so you can offer unique services and add value to the legal field.
I hope you find this article helpful.