The legal field is typically broken down into areas of specialisation such as criminal law, corporate law, civil law, family law, environmental law, patent law, labour law and tax law. Lawyers spend a great deal of time on research and paperwork for specific cases or knowledge requested by clients. They draft legal documents, offer legal advice, facilitate meetings and negotiations and represent clients in court.
Many law firms employ new law school graduates as assistants and apprentices, but there are other options for legal professionals. Many lawyers work at mid-sized regional law firms, or small private practices. Local law firms mainly take on residential or commercial real estate cases, family law (such as divorce and custody battles), and personal bankruptcies. Lawyers may also be employed by corporations to analyse legal issues and recommend practices. Solicitors in private companies handle activities such as transferring properties, company mergers, dual ventures and corporate taxations. There are also many good opportunities for lawyers to work in the government division. The legal field also provides careers in legal support, court clerks and administrators, jury consultants and many other roles.
While careers in the legal field are esteemed and prosperous, the growing attraction with law and legal activities has led to an increase in law students and the industry is more competitive. In order to practice law, a specialised law degree is required as well as passing an exam in the area one wishes to practice. Other legal professionals such as court clerks and paralegals may need to complete vocational training programs. As with most careers, law students will benefit greatly from internships with law firms or practices in the specialisation of their choice. Legal professionals typically work Mondays to Fridays during regular business hours but may need to work long nights researching and preparing cases.
Careers in Legal
Barristers are legal practitioners who appear as advocates in Court and tribunal hearings, negotiating on behalf of their clients. They also conduct research, provide expert legal advice, draw up legal documentation, confer with clients and witnesses and act as mediators, arbitrators, referee or conciliators.
Legal and Court Clerks provide consistent support to lawyers, judges, legal professionals and citizens. They assist with the functionality of the judicial system as well as the administration of estates and other legal matters. The clerks schedule hearings and trials, maintain jury lists and record all decisions is court proceedings. Legal and Court Clerks also assist officers of the court with a variety of other tasks.
Conveyancers and Legal Executives provide a host of specialized services for their clients as well as on behalf of their clients. They are able to handle many legal aspects including preparing and administrating wills, property transfers, creating trusts and litigation. Conveyancers and Legal Executives can also provide their clients with sound advice regarding personal, business and corporate law.
Legal Clerks perform clerical and operational tasks to assist in the work of Legal Professionals. They may assist in court cases and help courts function properly, research legal practices and assist with administering trusts.
Legal Executives deal with cases involving property rights, corporate law, wills and trusts and lawsuit cases. They work on behalf of clients, providing information and regulations as well as representing them in legal action. They should have strong working knowledge of legal practices and stipulations and be able to analyse large amounts of information to advise clients on the best form of action.
Solicitors work to provide a range of legal documents. In addition, they provide legal advice and investigate on legal matters. Solicitors represent their clients in court and can prepare and review a wide range of legal documents. They provide their clients with legal advice based on the feedback and facts that they receive for particular situations.
Professional associations and industry bodies
Skills and personality
- Ability to absorb large amounts of information and communicate in a way that is understandable
- Ability to process large amounts of paperwork and materials
- Analytical abilities to evaluate and research client circumstances with legal information
- Effective coordination and organisation capabilities
- Excellent persuasion and communication skills, presenting evidence and cases in clear and convincing manner
- Excellent research skills looking up legal framework for specific cases and purposes
- Exceptional problem solving and investigative abilities working to identify the situation and find relevant legal material
- Specialised knowledge of legal statutes, especially in particular field of law
- Strong writing skills to draft legal documents
- Work well in a team oriented environment collaborating with other legal professionals