Most people think of being a lawyer as one of the most prestigious and well-paying jobs out there. While this may be true in some cases, it’s also important to know the drawbacks of the profession before making a decision to go to law school and become a lawyer. In this blog post, we outline the biggest pros and cons of being a lawyer.
After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of whether or not law is the right career path for you. Let’s get started!
What does a Lawyer do?
First off, it’s important to have an understanding of what a lawyer actually does.
The field of law is a crucial part of society. One of the primary functions of lawyers is to provide legal advice to individuals or businesses. Additionally, they perform research and analysis so they can represent their clients in court.
Lawyers are able to help people navigate the legal system because of their knowledge of the law. A person engaged in the practice of law can work in a big law firm, public sector, or government agency, among other options. The career opportunities for a law student are truly endless.
Here are some of the types of lawyers:
- Business or corporate lawyers
- Criminal defense attorneys or criminal lawyers
- Intellectual property lawyers
- Bankruptcy attorneys
- Constitutional lawyers
- Employment and labor attorneys
- Entertainment lawyers
- Real estate attorneys
- Tax lawyers
- Family attorneys
- Immigration lawyers
- Personal injury attorneys
- Tax lawyers
Pros of Being a Lawyer
Unsurprisingly, there are significant benefits to being a lawyer. Understanding what these benefits are can be a deciding factor in pursuing a law degree.
Here are some of the pros of being a lawyer:
1. Multiple Opportunities to Choose From
As previously mentioned, legal professionals like lawyers have many career options in their field. They can also specialize in different areas of law, and they get to choose what field to specialize in. For instance, a lawyer who’s passionate about helping people can be a public defender. Or, they could choose to be a criminal prosecutor to represent the interests of victims of crimes.
If an attorney doesn’t want to choose a specific field, they can choose to be a general practitioner instead.
In some cases, a practicing lawyer may also pursue other interests outside of the legal practice area. A lawyer can start their own business or choose to do a job such as consulting or human resource management. There are a lot of adaptable skills that can be transferred to other professions, creating endless career opportunities for lawyers.
2. Financial Benefits
Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of being a lawyer is the financial benefit. Today, attorneys in the United States can expect to earn somewhere between $60k to $110k annually, or more. The high salary in this line of work often draws people towards a legal career.
3. Challenging Work
Because of the challenging nature of the legal industry like complex legal theories, a competitive environment, and the hard work required, many find it a worthwhile pursuit. Those who go into law typically understand the difficulties that come with the job. If you enjoy arguing and debating, law is most likely a good choice for you.
4. Prestige and Respect
Lawyers, especially those who come from reputable firms, are considered respectable and prestigious by most people in society. Plus, the level of authority that goes along with being highly educated comes almost naturally to a lawyer.
5. Flexible Time
Despite the unpredictability of a lawyer’s schedule, there’s usually time for at least a short vacation each year. Plus, if a lawyer chooses to own a private practice, their hours can usually be as flexible as they’d like.
Plus, many lawyers eventually find a time in their calendar when they’re between cases. When this happens, attorneys will often use this time to complete their continuing legal education (CLEs) or even take a vacation before their next case opens. The best way to make use of free time like this for lawyers is with the Eduvacation℠ Conferences of Destination CLEs.
Destination CLEs hits two birds with one stone. It allows lawyers to take a well-deserved vacation in an exotic location while making sure their CLE requirements are taken care of, too.
Cons of Being a Lawyer
Like in any profession, being a lawyer also has its disadvantages. Some surveys even show that law is one of the toughest professions in the U.S.
Here are some of the reasons why being a lawyer might not be for you:
1. High-Stress Environment
Lawyers must get used to stressful situations, even while in law school. Unfortunately, many lawyers suffer from poor work-life balance and work stress because of the long hours that are typically spent working. In a large law firm, lawyers sometimes spend anywhere from 60 to 90 hours a week at work.
Thankfully, many law firms are aware of the negative impact this has on their employees, and many are trying to limit the amount of work their lawyers get to help lighten the load. Some law firms are even offering more vacation time and promoting vacations on a regular basis to combat their employees’ work stress.
2. Difficult Clients
Sometimes lawyers just can’t avoid getting difficult clients. Some attorneys who work in law firms might not be able to choose their clients, which increases their chances of working with someone they find challenging or even a client with opposing morals. These lawyers still need to do their best to represent their client, no matter how difficult they may be.
Lawyers tend to get a bad reputation because of how they are sometimes represented through the media. Unfortunately, even the most successful lawyer is not immune from the negative stigma the profession sometimes gets.
4. Expensive Education
More often than not, new lawyers are still trying to pay off their student loans. This isn’t surprising, considering that educational expenses in the best law schools in the U.S. can reach up to $150k a year. This cost doesn’t account for other expenses, such as food and housing accommodations.
5. Outsourced Lawyers
In the U.S., it’s becoming increasingly more common to outsource lawyers from foreign countries because of the lower cost of labor. Also, there are now multiple self-service websites where a person can get legal advice at a cheaper rate than what most lawyers charge. These cheaper sources have created more competition for attorneys in the United States.
The practice of law is a noble one, and there are many pros to being a lawyer. However, as with any career choice, there are also some cons that should be considered before making the decision to become a lawyer.
We hope this article has been helpful in providing an overview of both the pros and cons of being a lawyer.
Have you decided that law is the right career for you?
If so, be sure to check out our free ebook for more tips on how to become a successful lawyer.