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How many of us have wanted to grow up to be lawyers? Law dramas have dominated television for the past 20 years; thanks to John Grisham, novels about lawyers are now best ellers, and the law and legal practices have become fodder for action movies.

Lawyer is a catch-all phrase for many different titles, including state attorneys, barristers, and solicitors. No one person could be an expert in all areas of the law, so it takes many different people to look after it all. Overall, lawyers are the people who keep society moving, and ensure that everyone is protected. They explain the laws to their clients, making sure that the law is being used to the advantage of the people they represent.

Lawyers have a very important role to play in the judicial system, and their jobs can be quite exciting. Lawyers represent all sorts of people in all sorts of ways, from murder cases to adoptions to drawing up wills; it all depends on which type of law they want to practice, and which kind of lawyer they choose to be. Their main job is to guide us through the legal mazes, advising and representing us as we go.

All of these types of lawyers, however, are looking out for their clients' best interests, and use their powers of persuasion and vast knowledge of the law to swing a case their way. Lawyers work most often in private practices, in large and small firms. If a lawyer doesn't want to work in a private practice, there is also the option of working for the government as a state attorney. There are also legal aid services, where the lawyers represent people in court who cannot afford a lawyer any other way.
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Colorado State University-Global Campus
CSU Global Campus - FTFYF Programs
Programs Offered:
  • BS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
  • Master - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Lawyers need to be computer-literate, analytical, and level-headed. They should be calm, able to deal effectively with stress, and to think logically and come up with good solutions on the spot. They should be ethical, moral, believers in the importance of justice, and willing to work hard to see it done. A lawyer needs to be trustworthy, and a sensitive, concise communicator. They should be able to negotiate with many types of people, and be tactful, firm, and respectful even if during tense and heated arguments. Lawyers must have fantastic memories, and be able to call up details and past events while advising and representing clients.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Advise clients of their legal rights in different areas of law
  • Plead clients' cases before courts of law, tribunals and boards
  • Draw up legal documents, such as wills and divorces
  • Negotiate settlements
  • Act as an executor, trustee or guardian in estate and family law matters
  • Represent clients at meetings or negotiations
  • Oversee the details of private practice
  • A lawyer, depending on the capacity in which they practice law, has many duties. Every day of work will involve meeting with clients, as well as with other lawyers with whom they are negotiating. An average week will have evenings and weekends off, however, if a case is particularly difficult, they might find themselves working longer hours. Some lawyers may get to travel, depending on the case they are involved in, but most often work will be done in the office, and, when necessary, in court.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Lawyers' work environments depend on where they work, and in which type of law. If lawyers works in a practice or firm, they might work for fees, or for a cut of the settlement (in civil cases). Regardless, a lawyer will spend many hours drafting briefs, researching cases, and keeping up with the legal profession. The days will be longer if a lawyer has few or no staff to do the research and keep them informed.
  • When lawyers specialize in criminal cases, they may need to work with their clients in prisons. If they work for the government, they will work in government offices, alongside other government officials. Family lawyers might meet with clients at shelters, and labor lawyers might have to visit work sites to properly assess the businesses they represent.

  Long Term Career Potential  
There are many options for lawyers today. They can start a practice, join an established firm, work as a prosecutor or advisor for the government, or choose to represent businesses, not-for-profit groups, and health and education centers.

A lawyer who chooses to work in a firm might move up the ladder, eventually becoming a senior partner. Some move on to become judges, department heads in the government, or find work as government diplomats. Some lawyers go on to teach, write, or tour as a lecturer, others still might choose to advise producers making lawyer shows for television and film.

  Educational Paths  
Aspiring lawyers will need some undergraduate studies at a university, just how much depends on the law school you plan on attending. Some programs require only 10 full courses, while some require a full degree.

But before you can even apply to law school, you must write the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), a test which determines your aptitude. Depending on your LSAT score and university grades, you are now eligible to complete the law degree program. Once there, you can specialize in the area of law you want to study and practice.

After graduating from the law program, you'll take about a year to complete your apprenticeship, or articling, at a law office or courthouse. After this, you have to pass a bar exam to become a licensed lawyer. But that's not all! As part of the articling program, you'll have to take a 10-week course called the "Professional Legal Training Course" or PLTC. And then, and only then, can you start to practice law.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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Colorado State University-Global Campus
CSU Global Campus - FTFYF Programs
Programs Offered:
  • BS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
  • Master - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration

South University, Online Programs

Designed with the needs of working adult students in mind, South University, Online Programs is built on the similar curriculum offered at South University's campus locations. As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

Programs Offered:
  • Paralegal Studies (AS)

Post University Online

At Post University, we believe you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold to further your education.

Programs Offered:
  • Certificate: Paralegal (Legal Studies)
  • B.S. in Legal Studies
  • A.S. in Legal Studies

UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Criminal Justice (9-Month Diploma Program)

Keiser University Graduate School

For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Ashford University

Technology changes everything®

You’ve found Ashford University, where school comes to you

Programs Offered:
  • MS/Criminal Justice - Forensic Science
  • BA/Social and Criminal Justice - Criminal Investigations
  • MS/Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
  • And more...

Florida Tech

See What’s Possible When You Earn a Degree at Florida Tech 100% Online

Programs Offered:
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

American InterContinental University Online

You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.

Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Law Enforcement

Brightwood College

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs Offered:
  • Criminal Justice

Ohio Christian University
Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.
Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

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