Law Jobs

This area provides information about various law jobs including their tasks, educational requirements and role of lawyers.

Want to get married, drive a car, run a business, make a will, or get a job? Do you want to have protection from thieves, drug dealers, and those who would do you harm? Laws govern all of these areas and many more. Some would say that there is a law for every aspect of our lives. Creating, interpreting, enforcing, and educating people about those laws provides millions of jobs for people across the globe.

What is Law?

A law is a rule that governs specific actions, relationships, and establishments that is enforceable and includes punishment for those who violate the rule. Laws can be enacted on a local, state, federal or international level. This wide expanse of law gives rise to a large number of careers that are related to the law. In general they fall into one of the following categories.

  • Legislative – those who make the law
  • Law Enforcement – those who enforce the law
  • Legal system – those who interpret the law and provide the structure for accountability and defense
  • Corrections – those responsible for the punishment and rehabilitation of lawbreakers
  • Educators – those who teach others about laws and the other law categories
  • Duties & Tasks

    Although the different career areas have a common theme in that they all deal with laws of a society, they involve different job duties and tasks.

    Legislative – Careers in this field include politicians and those involved in the legislative branch of government, such as lobbyists, pages/clerks, and analysts. A brief description of their job duties include polling the public, meeting with other legislators, political figures, and community groups, researching legislative issues, drafting legislation, speaking to the public and their colleagues about the law, and completing the paperwork and clerical duties needed to operate offices and print materials.

    Law Enforcement – Those who enforce our laws go by many different job titles. Depending on the country and the type of work, they may be called police, sheriffs, troopers, bobbies, peace officers, detectives, investigators, enforcement agents, or other similar titles. They can be part of the government or the military. Some may use dogs and horses as part of their daily work. Job duties for these careers include responding to reports of crime, apprehending suspects, investigating violations, testifying in court, processing paperwork, providing security and crowd control, and educating the public. Related positions for these careers include dispatchers and emergency call operators, forensics, medical examiners, and others whose knowledge can be essential to enforcement.

    Legal System – In the legal system, attorneys and judges work with the cases of those accused of crime to determine guilt or innocence and devise punishment/treatment for those who are found to have broken the law. They are helped in their work by various clerks, court reporters, bailiffs, legal secretaries, and specialists in chemical dependency, criminal behavior, ballistics, and other areas often involved in criminal evidence.

    This group as a whole has job duties that might involve reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses, matching facts of the crime to specific law violations, drafting legal documents, negotiating resolution of a case, arguing cases in court, answering questions from the media and the public, determining appropriate punishment, collecting fines, and maintaining criminal court records.

    Those in the legal system may also be involved in family law, such as adoption, divorce, custody, child support, and other issues that fall under this jurisdiction. The legal system also deals with issues such as wills, probate, name changes, and other non-criminal activities that are governed by the law.

    Corrections – If someone is found guilty of breaking a law, they become involved with the corrections system. It may be something as simple as paying a fine, or they could spend their entire life in a correctional facility. People who work in this field include jailers, prison guards, wardens, counselors, case managers, probation officers, and a host of service providers and support staff such as educators, nurses, clergy, and food service. Corrections also includes the rehabilitation services such as treatment programs, halfway houses, and transitional and employment programs.

    Job duties for these careers range from monitoring activities of inmates and maintaining security, monitoring those released from incarceration, working in educational programs, providing referrals and resources, transporting inmates to and from court appearances, providing meals, health care, and other daily needs of inmates, and completing paperwork necessary for documentation of all aspects of incarceration from discipline to program funding. Some people involved in corrections work to create and interpret policy related to the legal system.

    Education – There are many law job opportunities for educators. They can teach general law classes at colleges and universities. They may instruct law enforcement personnel in the military or at academies. And as mentioned they may work as educators within a correctional facility.

    Career Areas In Law

    Within the different types of law professions, there are areas of specialization. One can focus on work with juveniles, immigrants, impoverished groups, and other specific populations. There are many areas within the law such as tax, international, entertainment, family, civil rights, employment, personal injury, real estate, health care and environmental. Those in enforcement and corrections rehabilitation can focus on drugs, sex offenses, homicide and other specific crime areas.

    The list is quite large, and it is best to select a specific career before attempting to research different career areas.

    Role of Lawyers

    A Lawyer is a professional profession where individuals have trained and have become authorized to practice law. In general (besides judges) Lawyers provide legal advice, write legal documents and dispute or litigate in legal matters. They may litigate through representing their client in a tribunal or court. Lawyers’ activities are split into two major areas, that of litigation and transactions.

  • Litigation includes both civil and criminal law - a dispute between two parties that may need to go to a court
  • Transactions include written contracts such as power of attorneys.

  • Law governs society’s rules against one another; therefore it affects everyone from very poor to very rich. Lawyers work extends from individuals (e.g., dispute over a parking infringement), to large corporations (e.g., Asbestos lawsuit).

    In a worldwide context, countries such as Britain and Australia have, ‘Solicitors’ tend to do most of the office administration work including initially speaking to the clients and drafting documents, they may also appear as advocates in the lower courts. Meanwhile ‘Barristers’ tend to act as advocates in higher courts.

    Educational Requirements for Law Jobs

    Educational requirements for law careers ranges from those that require a high school diploma or GED, to those that involve six or more years of post secondary study. Theoretically, legislators in elected offices have no educational requirements. Their jobs are based on their ability to campaign successfully and do well while in office. Some clerical and support positions are more concerned with skills such as typing and customer service and may not require a high school diploma or GED.

    Legal secretaries, court reporters, and some law enforcement personnel are required to obtain certificates or licensing that requires two or less years of coursework. Corrections officers often must pass a written test and receive on the job training. However, there are many 4-year degrees geared toward these careers specifically and toward others related to the law. Many of the professional positions such as attorney, medical examiner, judges, and counselors require advanced degrees or additional training and certification or licensure. See specific career for detailed information.

    Possible areas of study for 4-year and advanced degrees include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Corrections
  • Law Enforcement
  • Sociology
  • Political Science
  • Social Work
  • Forensics
  • Criminology
  • Public Administration
  • Psychology
  • Law