Video transcript available at Quick Facts: Lawyers 20trăng tròn Median Pay Typical Entry-Level Education Work Experience in a Related Occupation On-the-job Training Number of Jobs, 2019 Job Outlook, 2019-29 Employment Change, 2019-29
$126,930 per year $61.03 per hour
Doctoral or professional degree
4% (As fast as average)

What Lawyers Do

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, & government agencies on legal issues and disputes.

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Work Environment

The majority of lawyers work in private and corporate legal offices. Some work for federal, local, & state governments. Most work full time and many work more than 40 hours a week.

How khổng lồ Become a Lawyer

Lawyers must have a law degree và must also typically pass a state’s written bar examination.


The median annual wage for lawyers was $126,930 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of lawyers is projected to grow4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs over the next 10 years is expected lớn be svào because more students graduate from law school each year than there are jobs available.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state và area for lawyers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, và pay of lawyers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to lớn O*NET

Learn more about lawyers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers & occupations.


Lawyers advise và represent individuals, businesses, & government agencies on legal issues và disputes.


Lawyers typically vày the following:

Advise và represent clients in courts, before government agencies, & in private legal mattersCommunicate with their clients, colleagues, judges, và others involved in the caseConduct research và analysis of legal problemsInterpret laws, rulings, và regulations for individuals và businessesPresent facts in writing & verbally to their clients or others, & argue on behalf of their clientsPrepare and file legal documents, such as lawsuits, appeals, wills, contracts, và deeds

Lawyers, also called attorneys, act as both advocates and advisors.

As advocates, they represent one of the parties in a criminal or civil trial by presenting evidence và arguing in tư vấn of their client.

As advisors, lawyers counsel their clients about their legal rights and obligations and suggest courses of action in business and personal matters. All attorneys retìm kiếm the intent of laws & judicial decisions and apply the laws to lớn the specific circumstances that their clients face.

Lawyers often oversee the work of tư vấn staff, such as paralegals & legal assistants & legal secretaries.

Lawyers may have different titles and different duties, depending on where they work.

In law firms, lawyers, sometimes called associates, persize legal work for individuals or businesses. Those who represent và defkết thúc the accused may be called criminal law attorneys or defense attorneys.

Attorneys also work for federal, state, and local governments. Prosecutors typically work for the government khổng lồ file a lawsuit, or charge, against an individual or corporation accused of violating the law. Some may also work as public defense attorneys, representing individuals who could not afford khổng lồ hire their own private attorney.

Others may work as government counsels for administrative bodies và executive sầu or legislative sầu branches of government. They write and interpret laws and regulations and mix up procedures to enforce them. Government counsels also write legal nhận xét of agency decisions. They argue civil và criminal cases on behalf of the government.

Corporate counsels, also called in-house counsels, are lawyers who work for corporations. They advise a corporation’s executives about legal issues related khổng lồ the corporation’s business activities. These issues may involve patents, government regulations, contracts with other companies, property interests, taxes, or collective-bargaining agreements with unions.

Public-interest lawyers work for private, nonprofit organizations that provide legal services khổng lồ disadvantaged people or others who otherwise might not be able lớn afford legal representation. They generally handle civil cases, such as those having to lớn vì chưng with leases, job discrimination, and wage disputes, rather than criminal cases.

In addition to working in different industries, lawyers may specialize in particular legal fields. Following are examples of types of lawyers in these fields:

Environmental lawyers khuyễn mãi giảm giá with issues và regulations that are related to the environment. For example, they may work for advocacy groups, waste disposal companies, or government agencies to lớn help ensure compliance with relevant laws.

Tax lawyers handle a variety of tax-related issues for individuals and corporations. They may help clients navigate complex tax regulations, so that clients pay the appropriate tax on items such as income, profits, và property. For example, tax lawyers may advise a corporation on how much tax it needs khổng lồ pay from profits made in different states in order lớn comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules.

Intellectual property lawyers giảm giá khuyến mãi with the laws related khổng lồ inventions, patents, trademarks, and creative sầu works, such as music, books, and movies. For example, an intellectual property lawyer may advise a client about whether it is okay to lớn use published material in the client’s forthcoming book.

Family lawyers handle a variety of legal issues that pertain to lớn the family. They may advise clients regarding divorce, child custody, and adoption proceedings.

Securities lawyers work on legal issues arising from the buying và selling of stocks, ensuring that all disclosure requirements are met. They may advise corporations that are interested in listing in the stochồng exchange through an initial public offering (IPO) or in buying shares in another corporation.


Lawyers held about 813,900 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of lawyers were as follows:

Legal services 50%
Self-employed workers 17
Local government, excluding education & hospitals 7
State government, excluding education and hospitals 6
Federal government 5

Lawyers work mostly in offices. However, some travel to lớn attend meetings with clients at various locations, such as homes, hospitals, or prisons. Others travel lớn appear before courts.

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Lawyers may face heavy pressure during work—for example, during trials or when trying khổng lồ meet deadlines.

Work Schedules

The majority of lawyers work full time & many work more than 40 hours per week. Lawyers who are in private practice và those who work in large firms often work additional hours, conducting research và preparing & reviewing documents.


Lawyers must have a law degree và must also typically pass a state’s written bar examination.


Becoming a lawyer usually takes 7 years of full-time study after high school—4 years of undergraduate study, followed by 3 years of law school. Most states và jurisdictions require lawyers khổng lồ complete a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). ABA accreditation signifies that the law school—particularly its curricula and faculty—meets certain standards.

A bachelor"s degree is typically required for entry into most law schools. Undergraduate fields of study may include law and legal studies, history, or social science.

Almost all law schools, particularly those approved by the ABA, require applicants khổng lồ take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This thử nghiệm measures applicants’ aptitude for the study of law.

A J.D. degree program includes courses such as constitutional law, contracts, property law, civil procedure, & legal writing. Law students may choose specialized courses in areas such as tax, labor, and corporate law.

Licenses, Certifications, và Registrations

Prospective lawyers take licensing exams called “bar exams.” Lawyers who receive sầu a license khổng lồ practice law are “admitted lớn the bar.”

To practice law in any state, a person must be admitted lớn the state’s bar under rules established by the jurisdiction’s highest court. The requirements vary by state và jurisdiction. For more details on individual state & jurisdiction requirements, visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Most states require that applicants graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, pass one or more written bar exams, và be found by an admitting board khổng lồ have sầu the character lớn represent và advise others. Prior felony convictions, academic misconduct, and a history of substance abuse are just some factors that may disqualify an applicant from being admitted to the bar.

Lawyers who want to practice in more than one state often must take the bar exam in each state.

After graduation, lawyers must keep informed about legal developments that affect their practices. Almost all states require lawyers to participate in continuing legal education either every year or every 3 years.

Many law schools và state & local bar associations provide continuing legal education courses that help lawyers stay current with recent developments. Courses vary by state and generally cover a subject within the practice of law, such as legal ethics, taxes và tax fraud, & healthcare. Some states allow lawyers khổng lồ take continuing education credits through online courses.


Newly hired attorneys usually start as associates & work on teams with more experienced lawyers. After several years, some lawyers may advance to lớn partnership in their firm, meaning that they become partial owners of the firm. Those who vì not advance within their firm may be forced khổng lồ leave, a practice commonly known as “up or out.”

After gaining a few years of work experience, some lawyers go inkhổng lồ practice for themselves or move sầu to lớn the legal department of a large corporation. Very few in-house attorneys are hired directly out of law school.

Other Experience

Part-time jobs or summer internships in law firms, government agencies, và corporate legal departments provide valuable experience. Some smaller firms, government agencies, và public-interest organizations may hire students as summer associates after they have sầu completed their first year at law school. Many larger firms’ summer associate programs are eligible only khổng lồ law students who have completed their second year. All of these experiences can help law students decide what kind of legal work they want khổng lồ focus on in their careers and may lead directly lớn a job after graduation.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Lawyers help their clients resolve problems & issues. As a result, they must be able to lớn analyze large amounts of information, determine relevant facts, and propose viable solutions.

Interpersonal skills. Lawyers must win the respect and confidence of their clients by building a trusting relationship so that clients feel comfortable enough to mô tả personal information related lớn their case.

Problem-solving skills. Lawyers must separate their emotions and prejudice from their clients’ problems and objectively evaluate the relevant applicable information. Therefore, good problem-solving skills are important for lawyers, to lớn prepare the best defense and recommendations for their clients.

Retìm kiếm skills. Lawyers need khổng lồ be able to lớn find those laws & regulations which apply to a specific matter, in order to lớn provide the appropriate legal advice for their clients.

Speaking skills. Lawyers must be able to lớn clearly present & explain their case khổng lồ arbitrators, mediators, opposing parties, judges, or juries, because they are speaking on behalf of their clients.

Writing skills. Lawyers need lớn be precise & specific when preparing documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.