What Does A Lawyer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Lawyers

Lawyers represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.

Salary
$148910
Becoming One
Very Hard
Education
Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Lawyers represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.

  • Analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents.
  • Advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits, or legal rights and obligations.
  • Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges, and question witnesses during the course of a trial.
  • Interpret laws, rulings and regulations for individuals and businesses.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Lawyers analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents. They supervise legal assistants.

A typical day for a Lawyer will also include:

  • Advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits, or legal rights and obligations.
  • Confer with colleagues with specialties in appropriate areas of legal issue to establish and verify bases for legal proceedings.
  • Prepare, draft, and review legal documents, such as wills, deeds, patent applications, mortgages, leases, and contracts.
  • Study Constitution, statutes, decisions, regulations, and ordinances of quasi-judicial bodies to determine ramifications for cases.
  • Act as agent, trustee, guardian, or executor for businesses or individuals.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Lawyers also present and summarize cases to judges and juries. They may also study the Constitution, statutes, decisions, regulations, and ordinances of quasi-judicial bodies to determine ramifications for cases.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Lawyers perform administrative and management functions related to the practice of law. They might also gather evidence to formulate defense or to initiate legal actions, by such means as interviewing clients and witnesses to ascertain the facts of a case.

In addition, they probate wills and represent and advise executors and administrators of estates.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them interpret laws, rulings, and regulations for individuals and businesses.

To some Lawyers, it is also their responsibility to evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments in preparation for presentation of cases.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
2%

Some freedom
40%

A lot of freedom
58%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
3%

Limited freedom
27%

Some freedom
32%

A lot of freedom
39%


Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Average

Is this job meaningful

Low

68% said they were satisfied with their job and 42% said they found their job meaningful.


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Pros

Suitable for people who like to start and carry out projects.

Suitable for people who want recognition, career advancement, and a prestigious career.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

One of the highest paid careers in the world.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$148910 per year

Average hourly wage

$72 per hour

Entry-level Lawyers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $61,490 to $84,450 per year or $30 to $41 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $208,000+ $100+
Senior (Top 25%) $189,520 $91
Median $126,930 $61
Junior (Bottom 25%) $84,450 $41
No experience (Bottom 10%) $61,490 $30

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Lawyers based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Specialized Design Services $233400 $112.21
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing $221000 $106.25
Motion Picture and Video Industries $218360 $104.98
Cable and Other Subscription Programming $216860 $104.26
Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing $208460 $100.22
Scientific Research and Development Services $206600 $99.33
Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing $205640 $98.87
Highway, Street, and Bridge Construction $203870 $98.01
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services $202120 $97.18
Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events $202000 $97.11

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Lawyers work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Lawyers including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Legal Services 401340 $153630 $73.86
Local Government 56790 $111300 $53.51
State Government 45250 $97440 $46.85
Federal Executive Branch 38970 $146560 $70.46
Management of Companies and Enterprises 20810 $184640 $88.77
Insurance Carriers 10480 $160450 $77.14
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities 6460 $201880 $97.06
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 5110 $196300 $94.37
Employment Services 5110 $129890 $62.45
Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance Related Activities 4750 $162090 $77.93

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
6%

40 hours
45%

More than 40 hours
49%

Working schedule

95%

5%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
3%

Important
8%

Very important
57%

Extremely important
33%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
3%

Fairly important
3%

Important
29%

Very important
29%

Extremely important
36%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
2%

Fairly important
1%

Important
30%

Very important
22%

Extremely important
45%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
100%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
4%

Every day
96%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
3%

Every day
94%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
5%

Once a year
22%

Once a month
20%

Once a week
54%

Every day
1%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
0%

Once a year
4%

Once a month
11%

Once a week
47%

Every day
38%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
0%

Once a year
9%

Once a month
25%

Once a week
12%

Every day
54%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
63%

Once a year
35%

Once a month
2%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
1%

Slightly competitive
4%

Moderately competitive
41%

Highly competitive
43%

Extremely competitive
10%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
18%

Fairly important
14%

Important
30%

Very Important
9%

Extremely Important
30%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
0%

Minor impact
0%

Moderate impact
2%

Important impact
17%

Very important impact
81%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
0%

Once a year
0%

Once a month
6%

Once a week
17%

Every day
78%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
22%

Limited responsibility
49%

Moderate responsibility
1%

High responsibility
2%

Very high responsibility
26%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
6%

Limited responsibility
9%

Moderate responsibility
8%

High responsibility
10%

Very high responsibility
66%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
0%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
100%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
55%

Once a year or more
44%

Once a month or more
1%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
67%

Once a year or more
29%

Once a month or more
3%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
73%

Once a year or more
26%

Once a month or more
1%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Lawyers require a Law degree, which is often called a Juris Doctor (JD) degree and requires a Bachelor’s degree. Aspiring Lawyers may earn a Bachelor’s degree in any field before applying for law school, but History, Business, and English are the three most common majors.

Learn more about how to become a Lawyer.

Difficulty to become one

Very Hard
You will need an extensive amount of skill, knowledge, and experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require graduate school and more than five years of experience. These careers usually involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Similar careers include Pharmacists, Lawyers, Astronomers, Neurologists, and Veterinarians.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
68%

Doctoral Degree
31%

Post-Doctoral Training
1%

Relevant majors

Compliance Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations for lawyers and non-legal professionals in compliance, ethics, internal monitoring, regulatory affairs, and related areas.

Agriculture Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations for lawyers and non-legal professionals in food and agriculture.

Patent Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations affecting patents.


Transportation Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations affecting land, sea, air, and space transportation.

Real Estate and Land Development Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations affecting real estate and land development.

Human Resources Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations affecting human resources.


Family/Child/Elder Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations affecting domestic relations across the lifespan.

Insurance Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations affecting insurance.


Entrepreneurship Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations affecting entrepreneurship and innovation.

Tribal/Indigenous Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations affecting federal Indian law, tribal law and policy, and Indigenous peoples' human rights.

Criminal Law and Procedure

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations affecting criminal law and trial procedures.


Arts and Entertainment Law

An advanced, professional study of the law, policies, and regulations affecting the sports, fashion, entertainment, arts, and media industries.

Comparative Law

An advanced, professional study of legal systems and philosophies in comparative perspective.

Tax Law/Taxation

An advanced, professional study of tax law and taxation procedures in U.S. or Canadian jurisdictions affecting individuals and corporations.


Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
15%

1 month
3%

1 to 3 months
1%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
2%

1 to 2 years
6%

2 to 4 years
51%

4 to 6 years
5%

6 to 8 years
5%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
12%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
12%

1 month
11%

1 to 3 months
5%

3 to 6 months
4%

6 months to 1 year
8%

1 to 2 years
30%

2 to 4 years
3%

4 to 10 years
27%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Leader

People with this personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.

The Builder
19%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
67%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
57%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
48%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
100%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
52%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk-taking and often deal with business. They also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
86%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
86%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
90%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
57%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
62%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
86%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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