The law has long been a sought-after and prestigious career. It is a career that generally commands respect from your peers and potentially a very lucrative remuneration package. But, as with anything, the road to qualifying as a lawyer and indeed life in practice is not straightforward. In fact, you may be surprised at some of the below considerations you may not have entertained before embarking on a journey to becoming a lawyer. To help you make a fully informed decision here is an insight into what you need to know before becoming a lawyer.
Getting the necessary education to qualify as a lawyer is not for the faint-hearted. Not only will you need a stellar academic record, but this record needs to begin from the early days of your educational career, as early as school. Typically, you then need to complete a three-year Bachelor’s degree followed by three years of law school. Gaining admission into law school is another hurdle to overcome as it is highly competitive and you have to pass the challenging LSAT, which can take up to a year.
Not only is law school and college competitive, but it is also expensive. It is not uncommon for graduates to finish their Bachelor’s degree and then three years of law school with well into a six-figure debt. Although the earning potential of a lawyer is high there is a considerable outlay to be made before earning your first dollar.
The legal field is a very vast and diverse place. Types of law can range from criminal law to contract law to family dispute resolution, and much more. You will be expected to study and pass exams in core legal subjects and then several subjects of your choice. That said you may not know the field of law that you truly want to practice in and can find yourself working in a niche that you had not anticipated. It is always recommended that you thoroughly research your options and where possible undertake internships or work experience in a variety of fields to give yourself the best possible understanding of the area of law you want to spend your working life in.
Although the films may suggest otherwise the reality is that the glamour of Court is not something you are likely to experience on a daily basis. In fact, you may never actually see the inside of a courtroom, instead, you may well spend the majority of your day in your office processing paperwork or in and out of meetings. If a professional life in front of a judge or jury is what you are after then you need to ensure that you opt for contentious and litigious areas of the law, such as appellate consulting or criminal law.
While there are some graduate positions that offer a very attractive salary the reality is that most newly qualified lawyers will not be earning as much as you think. What is more, it will take you a lot longer than you had anticipated to climb the legal ladder and obtain the salary you really want.