A lot of us have probably found ourselves sitting in front of the television, watching a law show and thought, “I’m smart. I like to debate. I’m cute in a suit. I bet I could be a lawyer.”
Oh, but working on the judicial system as a counselor of the court is about more than any one-hour program will ever be able to show you.
Are you wondering if a career in law is right for you? If so, keep reading.
A successful lawyer must invest in a law degree. If you are not a fan of formal education, that alone is a reason to rethink law school because in order to earn your degree, you will need to attend law school full-time for three years. And it doesn’t come cheap. Many students spend as much as $100,000 (or more) for that kind of education and remember that even if you do graduate, in order to practice, you have to pass the bar (per state). The price varies but in New York, it’s around $250, in Texas, it’s about $700 and in California, well over $1000.
A successful lawyer requires certain natural abilities. Ask any law student what school was like and most of them will tell you that it was filled with long hours of reading and research. Therefore, those have to be two things that you like doing. Also, a lawyer spends a lot of time dealing with all kinds of clients and speaking on the behalf of the cases that they take. Therefore, you will also need to have great people skills and be comfortable with speaking in public, most times in front of complete strangers.
A successful lawyer needs to be a deep (and open-minded) thinker. If ever there was the need for an analytical mind, it would be when it comes to a lawyer. People who want to go into this field cannot be narrow-minded, stubborn or overly-judgmental. At the same time, they have to be strong, firm and confident; all of this can provide for a very delicate balancing act. A lawyer cannot just see their side of things, they also have to be willing to prepare for each case by looking at the other people involved and how their perspective may affect the case. If digging beneath the surface is not your passion, that is something to really consider before applying to law school.
A successful lawyer must be passionate about the field that they’re in. Just like with most professions, there are specialties in the field of law. You could be a criminal attorney or one that works in entertainment; you could be a lawyer that specializes in malpractice, sports or perhaps become a divorce attorney or estate lawyer. Indeed, even after getting your degree and passing the bar, you still need to decide what field of law excites you. You’ll need the motivation due to the final point of what a successful lawyer needs to be.
A successful lawyer needs to be willing to make a lot of sacrifices. The phrase, “Don’t mix business with pleasure” can be a hard one for a lawyer to leave out of their lives because dinners often become business dinners and vacations often require them taking briefs on the road. Aside from doctors, if there’s any profession where people find themselves on call, a lot, it would be a practicing attorney. However, if you became one, first and foremost to help others, then for each case that you win, the payoff of time, effort and resources, is usually more than well worth it.