Where Do Lawyers Work?
If you enter a finely furnished office or go inside a courtroom, these are the typical places where lawyers work. However, aside from the actual places that lawyers perform their legal services, where do lawyers work?
Let’s explore a few of the places where lawyers can get hired after graduating law school.
Lawyers can work at one of the following three levels of government:
- Local government
- State government
- Federal government
Depending on where the lawyer works, there will be varying roles and responsibilities. Government lawyers may be one of the following:
- District attorneys
- State attorney generals
- Public defenders
Lawyers working for the government can work for almost every government agency that exists. From Homeland Security to the Environmental Protection Agency to the IRS, lawyers have plenty of career opportunities with the various government agencies.
Average Salary for Federal Government Lawyers: $110,720
Law Firm Attorneys
Many lawyers pursue careers with established law firms. They’ll start as an associate to develop their legal and analytical skills by working with expert attorneys that have been practicing for years. Law firms will choose their attorneys depending on the school candidates attend and the experiences they have.
After working at the firm for a number of years, an associate may be considered for partnership. Becoming a partner comes with considerable more responsibility while becoming a partial owner of intellectual property within the firm.
Average Salary for Lawyers: $135,830
In-house attorneys are those that are employed by a single client. The clients are typically large corporations requiring a go-to lawyer to be available for various in-house legal requirements. Many companies have their own legal department handling various other legal issues and situations the company faces. These in-house lawyers may be responsible for the following:
- Addressing any of the company’s employment issues
- Handling litigations with another law firm if the company is sued
- Acting as a lobbyist to influence legislation in favor of the company
Working for a company or large corporation typically offers a higher salary and more flexibility with their time than other lawyers who work for themselves or at a firm they practice law for. Find an in-house lawyer position may occur when a company continues to hire a lawyer from a firm and after building a relationship they offer a permanent position.
Average Salary for Legal Services in the Alcohol Industry: $179,950
Private Practice (Solo Practitioners)
Some lawyers may choose to start their own business after being law school graduates obtaining a few years of experience. Instead of becoming a partner at a firm, they start their own or become a solo practitioner.
Private practice is where many lawyers work and those who become solo practitioners tend to have significantly greater job responsibilities. In order for a solo lawyer to survive, they must perform their own marketing of their legal services and advise clients. To find clients, some lawyers may get a website, start a blog, or use paid advertising methods.
Lawyers often bill their clients at an hourly rate or in increments of minutes (i.e. 10 minutes at a time). It is the lawyer’s responsibility to accurately track the time they provide to their clients in order to invoice them correctly.
Average Hourly Rate for Lawyers: $56.81
Public Interest Lawyers
Legal-aid groups, which tend to be private, nonprofit agencies, offer legal services to disadvantaged people. Lawyers and law firms found here aim to help poor people and other minorities with limited access to legal services.
The civil and criminal cases that public interest lawyers (PBLs) focus on include:
- Illegal discrimination
- Environmental protection
- Child welfare
- Domestic violence
Occasionally, these lawyers may represent clients who seek to change laws to improve society as a whole. While public interest lawyers are a vital resource to help people, the salary for these lawyers is minimal. Nonprofit organizations often struggle to maintain funding to assist people in need. This is why these organizations provide internships to students and those who recently graduated law school to offer hands-on legal experiences.
Median Entry-level Salaries for PBLs: less than $43,000
Not all lawyers licensed to practice law will pursue law school accredited have a career as a lawyer. You can find some lawyers who continue their studies and pursue higher education in various topics of law.
These lawyers (and also experienced lawyers seeking a break from their profession) can teach at law schools, colleges, and other educational institutions. Alternatively, lawyers who are practicing can pick up a side job as a teacher and publish their own personal research related to law and legal ethics.
Estimated Number of Lawyers (2016): 619,530
Here’s another common place you’ll find fresh graduates from law school. Judicial clerkships provide aspiring lawyers with a 1- or 2-year experience working with a judge. Each judge can have up to 4 clerks working with them. A clerk’s core responsibilities include:
- Legal research
- Document drafting
- Developing opinions
- Attend hearings and trials
- Prepare trial memoranda
- And many more legal tasks
Judicial clerkships provide law graduates with a chance to receive valuable experience which can help them find a position at a higher-paying firm. In some places, permanent positions may be available for clerks.
Reference for Lawyer’s Average Salaries: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Determine client’s legal rights
Lawyers have to determine the legal responsibilities of their clients. Generally speaking, the client will look at the scenario he narrates and identify facts to be cited in legal documents. The legal department then assesses and analyzes the current laws, rulings, and regulations for clients. Those companies inform the client of their rights and the right of redress for breaches. In certain cases, a lawyer may look through evidence to determine liability to the client and determine the right action.
How does one decide what type of lawyer to become?
How do people attract lawyers? Why are you doing so much work? How are people represented? Can we create societal impact through this work? How can we get involved? How would you describe the ideal professional life? How are job prospects compared to other law types? Tell us about your favorite class at law school? Usually lawyers enter law school admission test the legal field in private reasons.
Public Interest Lawyers
Legal-aid organizations generally are nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to the privileged. The lawyers listed in this section aim to provide assistance to minorities who do not have a legal system. Occasionally these lawyers seek changes in law to improve societal conditions. Although public interests lawyers are vital for helping people, their wages are small. Non-profit organizations struggle with maintaining the necessary funds to help those in need. Hence these institutions provide internships for students completing law studies in a safe environment.