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A Career in Law? Motion Granted!

 

Sure, you're probably attracted to a career in law for a few notable reasons, the prestige, the power, the chance to change the world - not to mention the money! But, are you really competitive enough to be a lawyer? Many students join the field of law to fight the bad guys but find themselves not competitive enough, leaving most just feeling jaded about the profession.

Many lawyers and law students suffer from a poor public image, struggle with intense competition for fewer positions and contribute to a high burnout rate. Lawyers work long hours - twelve hours a day, six or seven days a week. Luckily for those who love the law, but hate the competition, an interest for the legal profession certainly doesn't restrict your career choices.

Legal skills are extremely valuable in all kinds of career fields. A law degree can lead to careers in business, communications, politics or teaching. There are also many non-practicing jobs within the field of law, which do not include court room law. Consider becoming a sales associate for a company that sells legal products and needs representatives who are familiar with these needs.

Although these positions are usually lower paying, many find they are far more interesting and rewarding than becoming a lawyer. While representing underprivileged clients is certainly satisfying, the debt most law students face upon graduation may make positions with higher salaries more appealing. Be sure to investigate both the positive and negative aspects of being an attorney, and give considerable thought to whether this is the right legal occupation for you.

Preparation for law school is a continuous process that requires the successful planning of an undergraduate program to help you develop the skills necessary to be successful in the study of law. Here are some you should focus on:

Reading Skills: the ability to take in and remember large amounts of information.

Analytical Skills: the ability to organize and analyze information, to reason and draw conclusions based on the reading and organizing.

Communication Skills: the ability to present your arguments and conclusions both orally and in writing.

An examination of the majors of students who are accepted to law school shows that no single major is preferred over others. There is no way to guarantee your admission to law school, so you should just concentrate on building the best program you can.

Most importantly, take the time and make the effort to investigate whether the study of law is right for you. People from many different academic backgrounds can be accepted into law school but that doesn't mean it's right for everybody. A variety of resources can help you get a more realistic view of the field requirements - talk to lawyers, get involved in law-related activities, do a summer internship, take courses dealing with legal topics and read about the profession as much as you can. Then surf the Internet for sites providing information on legal careers, law schools and other law-related topics.

Law-related volunteer positions can also be particularly beneficial in providing insights into potential careers in the law. If you become involved in extracurricular activities, you will discover that there is a worldwide community of law students, legal workers and lawyers who work together to make law a tool for social change.

Volunteering for legal aid, a public interest group or government entity can help you begin to differentiate between the many levels of the legal profession. Some students may consider becoming involved in law by becoming a paralegal or legal assistant. There are educational programs for these positions, but some firms will hire bachelor degree candidates for a one-two year period and train them.

Many who go to law school for the wrong reasons find themselves dissatisfied with the profession and looking to get out. The most successful lawyers enrolled in law school simply to study and practice law, regardless of what their salary would be. Think carefully and realistically about your motivations before pursuing this career.

Some traits shared by successful lawyers:

Inquisitive
Curious
Attentive
Analytical
Driven
Competitive
Patient
Persistent
Realistic
Thick-skinned

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