2017 Lawyers
Median Pay: US$115,820
Entry Level: Doctoral or professional degree
Summary
Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.
Duties

Lawyers typically do the following:

  • Advise and represent clients in courts, before government agencies, and in private legal matters
  • Communicate with their clients, colleagues, judges and others involved in the case
  • Conduct research and analysis of legal problems
  • Interpret laws, rulings, and regulations for individuals and businesses
  • Present facts in writing and verbally to their clients or others and argue on behalf of their clients
  • Prepare and file legal documents, such as lawsuits, appeals, wills, contracts, and deeds

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

As advocates, they represent one of the parties in criminal or civil trials by presenting evidence and arguing in support 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 research the intent of laws and judicial decisions and apply the laws to the specific circumstances that their clients face. 

Lawyers often oversee the work of support staff, such as paralegals and legal assistants

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

While working in a law firm, lawyers, sometimes called associates, perform legal work for individuals or businesses. Some attorneys who work at law firms, such as criminal law attorneys or defense attorneys, represent and defend the accused.

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

Others may work as government counsels for administrative bodies of government and executive or legislative branches. They write and interpret laws and regulations and set up procedures to enforce them. Government counsels also write legal reviews on agencies' decisions. They argue civil and 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 to 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.

Legal aid lawyers work for private, nonprofit organizations that work to help disadvantaged people. They generally handle civil cases, such as those about leases, job discrimination, and wage disputes, rather than criminal cases.

In addition to working in different industries, lawyers often specialize in a particular area. The following are just some examples of the different types of lawyers that specialize in specific legal areas:

Environmental lawyers deal with issues and regulations that are related to the environment. They may represent advocacy groups, waste disposal companies, and government agencies to make sure they comply with the relevant laws.

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

Intellectual property lawyers deal with the laws related to inventions, patents, trademarks, and creative works, such as music, books, and movies. An intellectual property lawyer may advise a client about whether it is okay to use published material in the client's forthcoming book.

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

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

Litigation lawyers handle all lawsuits and disputes between parties. These could be disputes over contracts, personal injuries, or real estate and property. Litigation lawyers may specialize in a certain area, such as personal injury law, or may be a general lawyer for all types of disputes and lawsuits.

Some attorneys become teachers in law schools. For more information on law school professors, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.

Human Resources Intern

Type: Internship
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, one of the world's leading global law firms with almost 4,000 lawyers and staff in 31 offices, is seeking a Human Resources Intern, reporting to the Human Resources Generalist. The position will reside in the Boston office and will assist with the day-to-day...
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Reporter, Litigation (NYC)

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
OverviewABOUT THE TEAM: As part of ALM's global newsroom, the litigation team is focused on covering the news, trends and issues involving the most important cases and legal trends in federal and state courts. We put a premium on reporting on trends, problems and anomalies, while also tracking...
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Product Intern - Summer

Type: Internship
As a Product Intern, you will focus on a variety of projects from compiling user profiles to overseeing communication between partners and stakeholders, as well as aggregating data from surveys. This would be a paid summer internship at our San Francisco office located in the Presidio....
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San Francisco, CA

Fall 2020 Legal Fellowship Sponsorship, National Prison Project

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
Title: Fall 2020 Legal Fellowship SponsorshipOffice: National OfficesLocation: Washington, DCPosted: June 14 2019For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation's guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties...
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Washington, DC

Building Decarbonization Advocate

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
OverviewThe Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the nation's most effective environmental action organization. We use law, science and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy...
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Office of Chief Counsel, IRS Summer Legal Program

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
DutiesSummaryThe Office of Chief Counsel, IRS, the largest tax law firm in the country, is looking for enthusiastic individuals to join our team and gain valuable experience in a legal environment.ResponsibilitiesOur mission is to serve America's taxpayers fairly and with integrity by...
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Legal Billing Assistant, 12 month fixed term contract

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
Function:To work competently within Financial Operations team as a Legal Billing Assistant, contributing to the effectiveness of the finance department by providing a comprehensive and efficient service to internal and external clients in order that the business objectives of the firm and the...
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Secretary, MD

Legal Secretary, Part-time

Type: Part Time
We are seeking a Legal Secretary to join the Belfast office. This is a part-time position, working Wednesday to Friday.Secretarial SkillsFollow correct procedures, instructions and protocols.To access and print hard copy reports, correspondence and documents produced by the Document Production Team...
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Secretary, MD

Fall 2019 Litigation Intern

Type: Internship
OverviewThe Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the nation's most effective environmental action organization. We use law, science and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy...
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Graphic Design Internship

Type: Internship
Title: Graphic Design InternReports To: Creative DirectorAbout Us: We are an internet marketing agency specializing in website design and development, SEO, PPC, content marketing, and social media marketing for lawyers and law firms across the country.Description: As a Graphic Design Intern at...
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Temp Staff Attorney, Consumer Protection Unit

Type: Part Time
Founded in 1990, the New York Legal Assistance Group provides free civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers. The organization serves immigrants, seniors, the homebound, families facing foreclosure, renters facing eviction, low-income consumers, those in need of government assistance, children...
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Nonprofit Governance Intern, Fall 2019

Type: Internship
About Oceana and the Assistant General CounselOceana is an international organization that focuses solely on oceans and is dedicated to achieving measurable change by conducting scientific, fact-based campaigns with fixed deadlines and articulated goals. These campaigns are primarily national, and...
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Washington, DC

8th grade ELA Pre-AP Teacher - IDEA Rundberg College Prep (19-20)

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
IDEA Public Schools:At IDEA Public Schools, we believe in college for ALL and we are committed to ensuring that all of our students graduate from college. IDEA Public Schools has grown from a small school to the fastest-growing network of tuition-free Pre-K-12 public charter schools in the United...
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Legal Intern (Fall 2019) P/T

Type: Internship
Springer Nature is a major new force in scientific, scholarly, professional and educational publishing. By using its combined expertise, scale and the reach of our brands, the company aims to grow and innovate in order to better serve academic researchers, students, teachers, institutions,...
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Legal Secretary

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
Kennedys is looking to recruit a Legal Secretary to join our Dublin office. The successful candidate will provide an efficient and proactive service to a team of Associates and Partners.Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:To produce a variety of documents from handwritten/...
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Secretary, MD

Digital Marketing Intern

Type: Internship
Juris Digital is an internet marketing agency specializing in website design and development, SEO, PPC, content marketing, and social media marketing for lawyers and law firms across the country.We are looking for several marketing interns to learn and execute a variety of digital marketing tasks...
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Web Content Writing Intern

Type: Internship
Juris Digital is an internet marketing agency specializing in website design and development, SEO, PPC, content marketing, and social media marketing for lawyers and law firms across the country.We are looking for a web content writer intern who will write copy, blog posts, social media posts, and...
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Associate Market Analyst

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
Martindale-Avvo comprises some of the leading players in the online legal space, including brands that have been trusted for generations: Martindale-Hubbell®, Avvo® and Nolo®. We provide comprehensive legal marketing solutions including real-time lead generation, online legal profiles, live chat,...
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Los Angeles, CA

Legal Operations Associate, Regulatory and Compliance

Type: Full Time, Full Time Alumnus
At Via, we're on the cutting edge of mobility. We're building revolutionary technology that's changing the way people get around. It's on-demand transit on a mass scale, a smarter transportation that's friendly to our planet. From on-demand autonomous shuttles in Australia...
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New York, NY

U.S. Summer Legal Internship

Type: Internship
U.S. Summer Legal InternshipLocation: Washington, D.C.EarthRights International, a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that combines the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment, is seeking a recent U.S. law graduate for a fellowship in our Washington...
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