Laws are present in almost every aspect of our lives to regulate diverse areas such as civil society, business, economics, human rights, international relations and politics. Law is the most common profession of people who are interested in politics, for instance two popular presidents of the United States, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon were both lawyers.
Currently there is growth in jobs for lawyers; however, competition among them is very intense. Metropolitan areas are crowded of law firms, so anyone looking to open his/her own firm would do better to look in smaller towns. Partners in law firms earn more than those with a private practice, but only few enjoy the advantages of being the boss like more flexible schedules, cases to choose from, etc. Lawyers who work in private practices are more involved in criminal and civil litigation. In the case of Criminal law, lawyers focus on individuals charged with crimes, meanwhile the Civil Law is more focused in wills, mortgages, leases and other contract topics.
Coursework in Law
The most common courses to be taken by law students are:
- Administrative Law
- Civil Procedure
- Criminal Law
- Constitutional Law
- Family Law
- International Law
- Labor and Employment Law
- Trusts and Estates
In US there are many areas of specialty, some of the more common are:
- Criminal Law: This is the most well known area of law, in criminal cases lawyers are required to represent both sides: In the side of people who are accused of crimes and in the side of the government to prosecute them. Lawyers also serve as judges and magistrates in criminal cases.
Usually Defense lawyers work in private practice meanwhile Public Defenders are hired by the government to defend people who can not afford one.
Requirements for a successful Law Career
- Environmental Law: In this specialty is necessary to have special knowledge of federal and state regulations. Usually graduates in Environmental Law work for organizations that are dedicated to the protection of natural resources as well as for organizations that watch for the compliance of laws dictated to protect the use of natural resources.
- International Law: In order to be good in this specialty, lawyers are required to have knowledge and skills in international relations, governments, trade and commerce, i.e. they must have a strong understanding of the laws of foreign countries. Usually international lawyers are employed by multinational companies that have trades with other countries.
- Underprivileged legal services: Many lawyers study this career with the interest of protect people who can not afford legal representation or may be disadvantaged. In US there are many organizations that are dedicated to help these citizens in need, some lawyers work for these organizations and others donate their time without receiving any pay (Pro bono).
- Patent Law: Nowadays this is one of the most popular specializations that require some educational background in mathematics, engineering and natural sciences. Patent lawyers help people to protect their ideas and products, preventing that other people use them without any permission. Professionals in patent law are hired by important corporations that want to protect their investments in new creative products.
- Corporate / Labor Law: Lawyers in this specialty are required by almost all corporations and business because they have knowledge of labour negotiation, investment and taxes. All the legal implications are checked by corporate lawyers, they have an especial participation in big decisions like merging with another company.
- Tax Law: Tax laws are becoming more and more complex, so corporations need more than accountants to handle the financial numbers, in this field lawyers must check that the company is operating legally before making a tax decision.
If you want to make a career in Laws, is important:
- Have strong oral communication skills, a lawyer must speak clearly and persuasively.
- Have good written communication skills, a lawyer have to prepare case studies, letters, briefs, summaries and much more.
- Have general research skills.
- Enjoy reading, in law is necessary to read a lot!
- Be good solving complex problems
- Have analytical skills
- Have organizational and management skills.
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