What Does a Lawyer Do?
The duties lawyers perform are as diverse as the many fields of laws present in that profession. But simply put lawyers, also known as attorneys, generally act as advocates and advisors in matters pertaining to law. They represent clients that have been brought before a court of law in a criminal or civil trial. They’ll attempt to win their client’s case by presenting evidence on their behalf that proves their innocence, proves their client operated within the confines of the law or proves that the opposing party is guilty of misconduct or breaking the law.
In their capacity as advisors, lawyers will talk to their clients about their legal rights and obligations and will suggest what the best course of action moving forward is regarding a dispute or certain aspects of business. To perform their duties, lawyers must research the intent of laws and judicial decisions related to a legal matter that their client is faced with. They must also participate in formal hearings, draft and file legal documents, and represent their clients in a courtroom. Additionally, lawyers will frequently oversee the work of paralegals and legal assistants.
Lawyers have many opportunities open to them and can be found in just about any sector, from private to corporate to government. But if we were to get specific about the duties a lawyer performs, it would have to be said his duties will depend on the field of law he specializes in, and the fields of law are many. Some lawyers may choose to specialize in family law while others may choose to specialize in criminal law. Some may become prosecutors for the state while others may become public defense attorneys. So what are the duties of a lawyer who specializes in a distinct field of law?
Well, prosecutors represent the government in a criminal trial or civil lawsuit against an individual or corporation charged with breaking the law. Their objective is to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Public defense attorneys will represent individuals who are unable to hire their own attorney. Corporate lawyers, as the name implies, work for corporations. They advise the executive board of a corporation on matters relating to mergers, joint ventures, takeovers, leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, roll-ups, government regulations, taxes, and stock swaps. Legal aid lawyers work for private non-profit organizations. They help resolve the legal crises of low-income individuals who are unable to hire legal representation. These crises are civil in nature rather than criminal and include, but are not limited to, wage disputes, disputes with landlords, and job discrimination. Family lawyers will handle cases relating to family disputes such as divorce, child custody, and adoption proceedings. Tax lawyers will advise their clients on legal issues associated with taxes so that they pay the taxes they’re required to pay by law.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average lawyer earned an annual income of $115,820 in 2015 with the top ten percent earning a yearly income above $187,200 and the lowest ten percent earning a yearly income that was less than $55,870. However, as with any occupation wages varied from state to state. Demand for the legal services provided by lawyers continue to increase, and it is predicted that in the coming years that there will be a 6% increase in the employment rate of lawyers. Despite this, competition within the legal profession continues to be high as more students are graduating from law school each year than there are jobs available.