What it takes to be a great lawyer

by IrwinMitchell on October 16, 2012

So, you want to be a lawyer? Maybe you read a story in the news recently about a young boy who suffered severe brain damage from a car accident and successfully filed a brain injury claim. Or, you heard about a new law being drafted to protect the environment. Every day, there are several inspirational stories about expert lawyers making a difference. But, do you have what it takes to become a truly great lawyer?

Although it has its obstacles, working as an attorney can be very rewarding. Many people are drawn to the intellectual challenge, the intense working environment, the high-paying salary, the prestige and authority that is associated with the job title, and most importantly, the opportunity to help others.

As a lawyer you serve as an advisor for clients, informing them of their legal rights and counseling them on what actions are best suited for their needs. You serve as an advocate for your client in court. Some lawyers also have the responsibility of drafting new laws.

Types of Law

Your responsibilities as a lawyer greatly depend on the type of practice environment and your field of specialisation. The majority of people who choose a career legal affairs work in private practices. Some are in-house attorneys in which they advise companies and organizations on legal matters. Others may work for the government, in the judiciary branch, in public practice, and in educational settings.

While television shows like Law and Order UK glorify criminal justice there are several other, just as important, fields of practice. Some solicitors choose to specialise in property law, EU law, environmental, human rights, administrative, employment and labor, family, health and intellectual property law. It is very common for students to follow a career path in personal injury law in which clients seek compensation for injuries that resulted from someone else’s wrongdoing. For example, you may help a young woman who was in a severe car accident and suffered whiplash claim whiplash compensation for her pain and suffering.

The Requirements

While having an interest in law is a start, you must assess your skills and character to determine whether or not this is the correct career path. Ask yourself if you are passionate about working with other people, if you have strong analytical skills, can articulate yourself clearly, have the ability to retain a wealth of knowledge, and the ability to be persuasive in your argument.

Since there are so many career paths and sections of law, the legal services field is a popular option among many young adults. All titles, whether you’re a paralegal, barrister or a solicitor, require in-depth knowledge of the law and discipline. This is vital if you want to succeed.

To practice in the UK, all aspiring lawyers must complete the required coursework. During your undergraduate studies, you can specialize in any subject matter, but if it is not law, you must complete one year of postgraduate study to earn a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL or CPE). Afterwards, you must enroll in the postgraduate Legal Practice Course (LPC) in which you select your field of practice. Once your studies have terminated, you need to secure an apprenticeship, known as a training contract, with an established firm. This will help put what you have learnt into practice

Job outlook

Since there are so many career paths and sections of law, the legal services field is a popular option among many young adults. While it may be fulfilling, it is a highly competitive field and requires a lot of dedication. Fortunately, data presented by the lobby group, TheCityUK, the number of people employed in law rose by 3.3 percent in the first half of the year. Despite this tough economy, the prospect for lawyers is positive, so make sure you stick in there and study hard.



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