Lawyers also called attorneys or counselors are central to the legal system and are both advocates and advisors. As advocates they represent parties in court. As advisors they apprise clients as to their legal rights and obligations. To become a lawyer individuals must first earn a bachelor's degree. With a good score on the Law School Aptitude Test (LSAT) they are then admitted to law school which is a three-year program of study with courses such as contracts property law criminal law and constitutional law. In the latter years of law school students specialize by taking courses in the area of law in which they will eventually choose to work. Upon graduation they take a bar examination that is specific to the state where they will practice. However some states have cooperative agreements so lawyers who pass the bar in one state can practice in the other state without taking that state's bar exam. Most lawyers specialize in one aspect of the law. For example individuals who are being prosecuted for offenses committed against the state or society often hire criminal lawyers to defend themselves. Public defenders are lawyers that work for the government and represent people who cannot afford to pay a lawyer. Civil lawyers handle non-criminal cases such as divorce damage lawsuits wills and trusts. Real estate lawyers deal with the purchase sale and rental of land and buildings. Corporate lawyers advise companies on their rights and responsibilities in business transactions. International lawyers deal with treaties and informal agreements between nations. Most lawyers have private practices either individually or in a group. However some work for state or federal governments insurance companies real estate agencies or corporations. The website reports that the median annual salary for lawyers is approximately $95000.

Education Required: Doctoral Degree
Avg Salary: $94930
High Salary: $104930
Low Salary: $84930
Tasks: Provides legal advice to clients.
Represents clients in court.
Conducts legal research.
Advises clients of their rights.
Also Called: Attorney
Juris Doctor
Legal Counselor
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