After spending lots of money, energy and time to get that piece of paper that says ‘Certified Lawyer’, it is now time to choose where you want to put into practice what you have learnt. The following are the broad categories under which a lawyer can use your skills:
Lawyers opting for private practice may work as individual attorneys or as partners in a law firm. They provide services to individuals and corporations. The lawyers may choose whether to specialize in one or more legal fields or in general practice. In terms of income, lawyers having their own individual practice may be paid on an hourly or at a flat rate basis. An ‘Associate’ in a firm is a salaried employee whereas ‘partners’ hold equity shares in the firm. It’s a popular belief that this form of practice shows the most economic returns. Essentially, this is where you practice your practice.
Public Interest Law
Also known as “Public Service” law, lawyers in this field mainly attend to the legal needs of advocacy groups and organizations with the purpose of taking forward an issue of public interest. Lawyers involved in such practice almost always have altruistic tendencies and thus are willing to work with the low- income/marginalized groups. Providing legal aid for advancing social causes is also high on their agenda. This field may not have high monetary returns, but job satisfaction is certainly is.
Lawyers picking this form of work are chiefly hired as legal advisors and representatives of the government. They will look after the legalities of ministries, govt. agencies and govt. corporations. Getting to know people who work in government and policy, taking classes related to government and policy, and developing skills that will help those in government and policy do their jobs. Law professionals, who have extensive knowledge about the government and its policy and know people who work in these departments, have a better chance of being appointed. Along with an excellent pay package, certain perks like pensions are also provided.
Another very prominent practice avenue is the corporate. Having an in- house counsel is the new norm for every reputed company. The in- house lawyer works exclusively for the one company and provides guidance and expertise as per the company’s legal requirements. For example, an in- house legal counsel will assist in all the business activities of the company like transfer of properties, accounts, shares etc. As the role and function of the in- house counsel is so extensive, heads of these companies seek a general counsel who has adequate expertise in regulatory and legislative subjects that affect their companies. Financial returns depend on the position of the lawyer, the corporate social and financial standing and other factors.
Thus, the options available are plenty and it is up to the individual’s discretion and discernment as to what he deems fit as a career prospect. The individual must take into account all his abilities, personality traits, passion and goal in life before choosing any of these fields.
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