The lawyer job description is difficult to describe because there are so many different types of lawyers and their job descriptions vary. However, there are several generalities that can assist you in your pre law investigation of how to be a lawyer and what lawyers do. The majority of lawyers are in private practice, so that is the type of lawyer that I will address in this article today. (Non-profit or pro-bono attorneys will be covered in another article.)
In private practice your number one lawyer job description concerns your billing… All types of lawyers are paid based on the time they spend on a certain matter (otherwise known as “hourly billing” or an “hourly billing rate”), with few exceptions. Billing is a primary concern for your employer, and if you want to continue practicing law you must keep your employer happy… thus billing is your primary lawyer job description. But of course this should never be at the detriment to the legal services you provide your client.
Now, with regards to the lawyer job description in terms of the client/lawyer relationship… this is a very complicated subject. A client will come to you with a problem, and it is a problem that they cannot handle on their own, otherwise the client would not retain you. The client is looking to you for solutions to that problem, and it your job to give them answers.
So a client comes to you with a problem, your job description as a lawyer will require that you proceed via one of the following paths:
Solution: Sometimes in your legal career you will come across situations where there is a clear solution to the client’s legal problem. For example, let’s say you are representing a client in a divorce proceeding… the objective is to obtain a divorce for the client, and there is a clear legal pathway to obtain such a goal.
Mitigation: Legal problems that you will come across in your legal career will not always be so cut and dry. Obviously, as discussed above solution is your primary goal, but what happens when there is no clear solution to your client’s legal problem? Sometimes a client will come to you with a legal issue where the harm has already occurred, and it will be your job to minimize (or mitigate) the damages to your client. This is a situation you will most often find yourself in your legal career, and definitely comes up in all legal fields, and is experienced by all types of lawyers. The main types of lawyers who will come across such situations are those lawyers who practice litigation (lawsuits and court appearances), where you would try to limit your client’s exposure or liability.
Possibilities: Often a client will come to you with a proposed course of action and ask you to find out whether or not that course of action is legal. For example, a client wants to expand its business into another industry and wants to know what kind of regulatory issues it will have to confront before committing to the proposed expansion.
Overall, the lawyer job description for all types of lawyers requires developing a Plan of Action: Inform the client about the laws that apply to their legal issue, and then propose the best course of action for that legal issue. Also, as mentioned in another page on Become-a-Lawyer.com there is the issue of empathizing with your clients and playing the psychiatrist, but I will not repeat that explanation herein.
Keep reviewing the free information on Become-a-Lawyer.com for more assistance with your decision to commit to law school!
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