What does a lawyer do? Many things… in fact all industries require legal advice, and thus there are lawyers who cover all different aspects of business/personal life. Because of this diversification, it is difficult to make specific statements regarding “what does a lawyer do”. One generality remains true across the board for all different types of lawyers: Lawyers are expert at becoming experts.
Law school is where this skill originates... There is a constant misconception about lawyers amongst the general public and that misconception concerns what law school teaches law students. As a law student you will not learn a vast amount of black letter law, the focus will instead be on theory. Further, the most valuable lesson for you to learn in law school (and realizing this before you go to law school will greatly benefit your ability to improve this skill) is learning how to learn the law.
The law is system that contains not only rules, but also (and more importantly for a young lawyer to understand) rules on HOW THE SYSTEM OPERATES. It is impossible for any human being to fully memorize all the rules of the law, and thus law schools cannot teach law students all of the laws… instead you will be taught how the system operates and where to go to learn the specific law once a legal matter comes across your desk.
Now to address more specifically “what does a lawyer do”: As a practicing lawyer every day of your practice (whether you are only a first year attorney or have 30 years’ experience under your belt) YOU WILL LEARN SOMETHING NEW. Everyday clients will come to you with legal problems and these problems will never be exactly the same as other problems or legal issues you have addressed in your past experience. The legal issues may be similar, but they will never be the SAME! It is your job to figure out how to handle these new problems.
This brings me to a very important point... If you practice law, (no matter what type of lawyer you are) you will always be a student! Not only will the clients and legal issues differ every day, but laws change constantly and in order for you to be a beneficial expenditure for your client, you will need to ensure that you stay current with such legal changes.
If learning something new every day does not interest you, there are other lawyers who just do one thing every day. I know of one such lawyer who works for a major retailer and every day all he does is review commercial leases for the company. He has a very good salary, and the work fits his personality perfectly… very little stress, rarely leaves the office, and is generally left alone to complete his work. But sometimes even he comes across new issues where he has to research and discover new solutions, so he is also not totally exempt from being a student.
In conclusion, what does a lawyer do? You solve problems for clients through:
1) Your knowledge of the system, and
2) Your knowledge of how to become an expert in the laws that pertain to your client’s matter.
It is important you realize the above for your investigation of “what does a lawyer do” and further into a career in law, because when you enter law school you will be much more aware of the important lessons, you will be able to identify important issues, get better grades, and position yourself for the best possible employment for your personality type and career goals.
Continue your pre law investigation into law school, what does a lawyer do, and a legal career by reading more of our free information!
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