Who are Lawyers and What Do They Do?

Lawyers, sometimes known as attorneys, barristers, or solicitors, are professionals trained to understand and apply the law to help others solve their problems. Through years of schooling and practice, lawyers learn how to conduct legal research, understand legal language and processes, and apply the law in different types of situations.

Lawyers may practice law in a variety of practice areas and situations. Some areas lawyers may work in include corporate, criminal, employment, family, immigration, real estate, and wills and estates law. A lawyer works on behalf of their client, and may represent individuals, corporations, organizations, or non-profits. Some lawyers work by themselves while others choose to work in partnership with one or more other lawyers.

Lawyers can also work for legal aid, public employers such as government or crown corporations, or private sector companies. Depending on a lawyer’s practice, they may be responsible for drafting documents, advising clients, advocating for clients, and mediating or negotiating disputes. As a result, lawyers often rely on strong listening, speaking, and writing skills as they need to be able to communicate well with their clients and others. Lawyers also rely on their knowledge of the law and their ability to understand and apply it in different ways.

Graduates from law school can choose from many different career possibilities. Some law graduates choose not to practice law and instead obtain further education in the form of master’s or doctorate degrees and teach at universities or apply their knowledge in other ways. A law degree is a useful stepping stone to many other careers. If you get a legal education but choose not to practice law, there are many other things you can do. The skills you gain will be useful for work in academic administration, banking and finance, conflict resolution, human resources, legal writing and journalism, or legal consulting work, just to name a few areas.