Becoming a lawyer is an enormous undertaking in terms of time commitment and financial investment. Law school and passing the bar can be arduous challenges. Your motivation can depend at times on knowing what's really good about this profession, and being able to glimpse it out there on the horizon.
Is being a lawyer fun? Sometimes...and many times not. But the work is definitely rewarding, and it has its perks.
Lawyers are among the highest-paid professionals in the legal industry, and most attorneys earn salaries well above the national average. The median annual salary for all lawyers was $120,910 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the world’s top attorneys can pull in million-dollar annual incomes.
Keep in mind, however, that not all lawyers make big bucks. It can depend on employer size, experience level, and geographic region. Lawyers employed in large law firms, major metropolitan areas, and in-demand specialties generally earn the highest incomes. Those who work in the public sector, such as in legal aid services...not so much.
A career as a lawyer has been a hallmark of prestige for generations. Impressive degrees and a certain authority over others have placed lawyers in an elite circle of professionals who command respect and embody the definition of success. Lawyers enjoy a unique professional status and an often glamorous image perpetuated by the media.
An Opportunity to Help Others
Lawyers are in a unique position to help individuals, groups, and organizations with their legal problems and to further the public good. Public interest lawyers champion legal causes for the greater good of society and help those in need of legal assistance who might not otherwise be able to afford attorneys.
Lawyers in private practice often perform pro bono work to help low-income individuals and underserved portions of the population, such as the elderly, victims of domestic abuse, and children. In fact, many bar associations require that attorneys commit to a certain number of pro bono hours each year.
The Intellectual Challenge
Working as a lawyer is one of the most intellectually rewarding jobs on the planet. From helping to patent a trade secret, or devising a trial strategy, to forming a multi-million dollar merger, lawyers are problem-solvers, analysts, and innovative thinkers whose intellect is crucial to career success.
Diverse Practice Areas
Increased industry segmentation and specialization have led to a broad array of sub-specialties in the legal field. Lawyers can specialize in one or several niche areas, ranging from bread-and-butter practices such as employment law, foreclosure law, and civil litigation to specialties such as green law or intellectual property law.
Work Environments and Perks
The majority of lawyers work in law firms, government, and for corporations. In an age where cubicles have become the mainstay of the modern workplace, lawyers typically work in offices with four walls. Those in larger firms enjoy plush accommodations, ample support staff, and a variety of office perks ranging from gym memberships to box seats at sporting events.
A J.D. can open doors to new opportunities and serve as a stepping stone to other careers if you don’t decide to continue practicing law. The skills you'll develop in law school and as a practicing attorney can serve you well in careers such as legal consulting, management, writing, mediation, and academia.
Attorneys have stood at the center of society for centuries. They're in a unique position to affect societal change as lawmakers and thought leaders. They write the laws, rule the courts, and hold influential positions in government. They're in a position to impact top policymakers and leaders and to affect change around the globe.
Is Being a Lawyer Fun?
Some lawyers travel the country, or even the world, to participate in trials, depositions, arbitrations, and business deals. Others rub shoulders with business leaders, politicians, sports figures, and even celebrities.