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What is this job like?

Lawyers give people and companies advice and tell them what they can and can't do under the law. Sometimes, they hire lawyers to take their side in court against other people or companies, or against the government.

Lawyers spend a lot of time doing research. To be a good lawyer, a person must be good at finding facts in books, on computers, and in other places. Lawyers also interview people to get information.

After doing research, lawyers make arguments to show that the people they work for should win in court. Some lawyers speak in court, but many lawyers don't.

Lawyers also write legal documents like contracts and wills. They need to be very specific and well-written.

Lawyers do most of their work in offices, law libraries, and courtrooms. They sometimes meet in clients' homes or businesses. Some lawyers meet clients in hospitals or prisons. Lawyers often work long hours, especially during a trial in court.

How do you get ready?

All lawyers need a license from the State in which they want to work. To get a license, people need to get a college degree and then go to law school for 3 years. Finally, lawyers must pass a test called the bar examination.

Even after they start working, lawyers need to keep on learning about changes in the law. Most States make lawyers take classes from time to time.

To start getting ready for this job, students can take English classes to learn how to write, do research, and make presentations. Social studies classes teach about research and the law. People who want to be lawyers also need strong reading skills.

How many jobs are there?

Lawyers held about 759,200 jobs in 2008. Most lawyers worked for themselves or in law firms. Some lawyers worked for other businesses or for government.What about the future?

Employment of lawyers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2018. Many people want to be lawyers, so there will be competition for good jobs.

How much does this job pay?

Lawyers are some of the highest paid workers. Although some lawyers work for themselves, many other lawyers work for governments, law firms, and corporations. In May 2008, the average yearly wages for lawyers were $124,750.

Are there other jobs like this?

Court reporters


Law clerks



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