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Also known as:
Agency Legal Counsel, Assistant Attorney General, Assistant Corporation Counsel, Assistant Counsel, Associate Attorney, Attorney, Attorney At Law, Attorney General, Brief Writer, City Attorney

Video transcript

The legal system can be confusing and overwhelming to most people. To help individuals and corporations understand and apply the law, attorneys (who are more commonly called lawyers) counsel clients about their legal rights and obligations, and suggest particular courses of action in both business and personal matters.

The more routine and most common tasks of a lawyer include drawing up legal documents such as wills and contracts, while the more visible tasks involve trying cases in a court of law. To effectively carry out these duties, lawyers must be able to interpret complex legal documents and apply them to the appropriate situations.

If you're interested in practicing law, you should be intelligent, well-spoken and determined, willing to work long and irregular hours. Excellent research skills are also essential since the more you know about a case and related historical information, the better chance you have of winning the case.

This occupation also requires an ability to deal with people in a courteous and efficient manner. Perhaps the most important quality a lawyer can possess is that of moral and ethical integrity. A successful representative of this profession is a person who is honest in every aspect of the job. If you can live up to all of these demanding qualities and duties, a fulfilling career in law may be the right profession for you.

Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Prepare legal briefs and opinions, and file appeals in state and federal courts of appeal.

Present evidence to defend clients or prosecute defendants in criminal or civil litigation.

Present and summarize cases to judges and juries.

Interpret laws, rulings and regulations for individuals and businesses.

Negotiate settlements of civil disputes.

Evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments in preparation for presentation of cases.

Gather evidence to formulate defense or to initiate legal actions, by such means as interviewing clients and witnesses to ascertain the facts of a case.

Confer with colleagues with specialties in appropriate areas of legal issue to establish and verify bases for legal proceedings.

Represent clients in court or before government agencies.

Search for and examine public and other legal records to write opinions or establish ownership.

Perform administrative and management functions related to the practice of law.

Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Provide Consultation and Advice to Others Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Personnel and Human Resources Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Economics and Accounting Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Persuasion Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.