General Job Description of a Lawyer
- Representing the client in the court of law by producing enough evidences to support the case.
- Interviewing the client as well as witnesses so as to be able to file a strong case in the court of law.
- Briefing his colleagues and assistants regarding the details of the case in order to be able to present the case firmly.
- Interpreting legal rulings and rules for individuals and companies.
- Acting as a trustee, guardian or fiduciary, if needed.
- Drafting documents related to property rights, business rights, and others.
- Settling legal disputes and drafting legal contracts.
- Launching enforcement procedures by helping to develop national and state programs.
- Teaching in law colleges and delivering honorary lectures.
- Handling out-of-court settlements.
There are three broad categories of lawyers viz., Corporate lawyer, Criminal lawyer and Civil lawyer. Each of these categories are further divided into several sub-categories depending on their respective specializations.
A corporate lawyer is the one who specializes in the law, which deals with the operations of businesses in a country. He has to make sure that all the transactions and deals made by the client company are within the framework of the law. He may work as an individual entity or for a law firm. He may also be a direct employee of the company. The job of a corporate lawyer is mostly advisory. If the company wants to take any decision, they usually refer to him to examine the legality of the same. The corporate lawyer also has to lay down procedures, which the company has to follow while implementing decisions. He also has to look at all the legal paperwork of the company. He has to also represent his client company in the court of law, if and whenever necessary. A corporate lawyer also should be well-versed with various other laws in the country including tax laws, contract laws, bankruptcy laws, laws relating to intellectual property, laws pertaining to securities, zoning laws, patenting laws, and so on.
Criminal law, as the name suggests, relates to crime and punishment. A criminal defense lawyer is the one who is employed by the accused. He also files a case against a person who has actually committed a crime. The most interesting aspect of the job of a criminal lawyer is that it is not restricted only to the knowledge of the laws. He is expected to go beyond the tedious library work and also do a bit of investigation. So, it is a job involving legalities combined with some adventure as well. A criminal lawyer appointed by the plaintiff has to study the facts and make a strong enough case for his client by arranging the witnesses and finding evidences. The criminal lawyer for the defendant has to find a way to refute the claims of the plaintiff and if his client is totally checkmated, plead guilty and hope for a reduction in the punishment meted out to his client by the court of law.
A civil lawyer deals with parties, who have entered into a non-criminal disputes, which can be resolved often by mutual consent between both parties. Matters that can be dealt by a civil lawyer include divorce cases, settling disputes between landlord and tenant, compensation claims of the plaintiff who has suffered the consequences of civil wrongs done by the accused, family disputes, agriculture law, animal law and so on. Sometimes, civil lawyers have to look into corporate matters as well if they are working for a company.
Earning Potential of a Lawyer
The amount of money a lawyer earns depends, to a large extent, upon the city he/she is practicing in. At the same time, it also depends on what amount of time he/she is willing to put in. Generally, civil lawyers tend to earn less than other types. On an average, a civil lawyer practicing in a big city might earn anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 per year. Lawyers practicing criminal and corporate laws tend to earn between $250,000 to $350,000 in a year's time. This, of course, depends upon one's experience and career record. A fresh law graduate working under an experienced trial lawyer can earn up to $30,000 per year. The money one can earn as a practicing lawyer, thus depends on various factors, but mostly it depends on one's experience and reputation in the market.
Lawyers function as both advocates as well as advisers. As advocates, they support their clients in the court of law by getting evidences and witnesses in their support. On the other hand, they also offer advice to their clients on issues such as their legal rights and obligations. It is next to impossible to gain mastery over all the laws as there are plenty of them. Moreover, the real job of a lawyer goes quite beyond the books. The success of a lawyer lies in his confidence and the ability to convincingly present a case.