According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2012 lawyers earned a median annual wage of $113,530. Law is a very broad field with many areas that you can chose to specialize in. If you are considering going to a law school, there are some popular areas of specialization that you should know about. These include:
Corporate and Business Law:
Every business organization, be it banks, insurance companies, hospitals, superstores or manufacturing units require legal services. Whereas small corporations usually employ one or two lawyers, large scale corporations may have numerous lawyers, each specializing in a different area. Besides providing legal counsel, corporate lawyers may be required to deal with other areas of business too. They can practice other varying areas of law like Tax law, Employment law, Mergers and Acquisitions, Real Estate law etc. Therefore, if you are planning to pursue corporate law, it’ll be a good idea to take up some courses or get some experience in the area of business administration too.
Typically a Juris Doctor degree and a professional license are required in order to become a corporate lawyer. To represent their clients in a federal court, you have to get a license. According to the data updated by Pay Scale Inc in January 2014, compensation for corporate lawyers ranged from $49,622 – $209,323. The exact amount of money you may end up making will however depend on a number of factors including your college degree, experience, relevant knowledge and skills and level of position that you apply for.
Under the constitution anyone who has been accused of a crime is given the opportunity to seek the services of a lawyer. Criminal lawyers may initially try to settle disputes out of court but will resort to a trial if negotiations fail. The trials may be conducted at local, state or federal level. Throughout the criminal process, these lawyers provide legal counsel and make every effort to ensure that the constitutional rights of their clients are safeguarded. Job responsibilities may include interviewing witnesses, conducting legal research, finding evidence in support of their case and examining the crime scene. Although many criminal lawyers work in law firms, others start their own practice.
Criminal lawyers usually hold a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and a state license. Prospective employers view experience in a related area as a plus point. Experience may take the form of volunteer roles, internships or part time jobs in prosecutor’s or public defender’s offices. Criminal defense lawyers, according to Payscale.com can expect to make $40,851 to $172,254 on an annual basis.
Family & Divorce Law:
Taking into account the increasing rate of divorces, family and divorce lawyers provide valuable services relating to family law issues. They are responsible for dealing with various concerns that arise at the time of divorce. These include child custody and child support, visitation rights, division of assets among spouses and other related terms and conditions. Lawyers need to be well versed with state law as divorce is to a greater extent governed by state regulations rather than federal law. Family and divorce lawyers conduct thorough research for gathering supporting evidence and compiling detailed paperwork that needs to be presented in the court.
As far as educational requirements are concerned, you must have completed a law degree and cleared the Bar Exam. It’ll be a good idea to take a few courses in family law. To get specialized knowledge, you may consider enrolling in a masters or LLM in Family Law offered by many institutes. As far as the compensation range for family law attorneys is concerned, it is $46,078 – $116,748 per year. (Payscale.com)
While choosing a law school degree, remember that employers generally prefer their prospective employees to have acquired their degrees from an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited school. Moreover, in order to practice law and represent your clients, you’ll be required to hold a state license. Requirements may vary across states.
Megan Foster is a graduate from University of San Francisco. She is currently working as a freelance writer for Excite Lawyers. She primarily writes about law careers and issues related to corporate, criminal, family and environmental law. Find her on Google plus and Facebook.
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