Lawyers are some of the most respectable people in the world because of the kind of job they do every day. However, being a lawyer comes with its own advantages and disadvantages as we are about to find out.
1. Prestige: The legal profession has long been regarded as a noble and elite profession. This image is further bolstered by the portrayal of legal careers in the media as exciting, glamorous, fast-paced, and desirable.
2. Dynamic environment: A lawyer’s work does not get monotonous. Each case is different and so is each transaction (in the case of corporate lawyers). Their work demands plenty of legal research and rational thinking.
3. High rewards: The legal profession is one of the most lucrative industries in today’s job market. Double-digit growth in recent years has produced healthy revenues and rising salaries.
4. Intellectual challenge: The legal profession is always changing and evolving, bringing new challenges and rewards. Legal professionals must be problem solvers and innovators, willing to assume new responsibilities, tackle new challenges, master new technology, and navigate an ever-evolving legal system.
5. Global perspective: More firms and corporations are crossing international borders and expanding across the globe through mergers, acquisitions, consolidation, and collaboration with foreign counsel.
6. Wide selection of career options: Having a degree in law can help you get jobs a little easier than others, simply because it is flexible since you can choose if you would like to work in a private or public sector.
7. Good financial rewards: Lawyers are known to get paid extremely well, but of course, private lawyers get paid way more than the ones who work for public sectors since some of them offer free or very affordable legal aid for those who simply cannot pay for a lawyer. An average income of a regular lawyer in the United States is around $115,000, those who are from the private sector and handle big cases earn almost $200,000.
8. Continuous intellectual challenges: Another amazing thing about being a lawyer is that you will never stop learning. In every single case you handle, you will learn something, and with every case, lawyers use their strategic thinking to be able to solve different problems that would benefit their clients.
9. You know your legal rights: One of the best things about being a lawyer is that you know what your rights are. It will be easier for you to determine if your rights are being violated.
1. Stressful: Deadlines, billing pressures, client demands, long hours, changing laws, and other demands all combine to make the practice of law one of the most stressful jobs out there.
2. Long hours: Rising workloads and shrinking staffs are translating into more work hours for lawyers than ever before. The demands of global law practice also mean that some lawyers must be available to clients around the clock.
3. Students loans: The cost of a law school education has outpaced inflation in recent years. Tuition at even mediocre law schools can reach well over $40,000 annually. Entering practice with a six-figure law school debt is not uncommon.
4. Competitive job market: Today’s lawyers face one of the bleakest job markets in history. Record numbers of jobs have been cut and salaries have plummeted but law schools aren’t dialing back on enrollment. Some lawyers have been forced to settle for less-than-ideal employment or to change careers altogether.
5. Clients not spending much: Clients have become more conscious of their legal spending. After years of seeing billing hikes that far exceeded inflation, clients began demanding more value for their dollars. This forces lawyers to keep their billing rates reasonable.
6. Changing legal paradigms: The practice of law is changing dramatically and lawyers no longer have a monopoly on the field. From legal document technicians to virtual law offices and self-help legal websites, today’s lawyers face competition from a variety of non-lawyer sources.
7. Technology: Technology has transformed the practice of law and, like it or not, lawyers must become proficient in a wide range of technology platforms. These range from document review and management tools to spreadsheet, presentation, and billing software.
8. Legal Process Outsourcing: It’s not a trend—the outsourcing of legal work to foreign countries is an economic reality. As more legal work is sent to low-wage workforces overseas or to regional delivery centers onshore, many traditional lawyer jobs are being eroded or displaced altogether.
9. Poor Public Image: Although widespread distrust of lawyers has existed since ancient times, rising billing rates, frivolous lawsuits, and sensational news stories of lawyers behaving badly do little to raise the public image of attorneys.
10. Not all clients are likable: You won’t be able to pick and choose which clients you take on, at least not if you want to make a living. People who need lawyers don’t represent a single, simple demographic.