Jobs in law follow many paths, ranging from judges and lawyers to assistants and paralegals. As a result, there are many different levels at which you can enter, and different occupations require different levels of education. Opportunities are broadly good, however, so a career in law can be quite lucrative.
Lawyer: Also known as an attorney, a lawyer advocates for his clients' rights. They may do this through negotiation with other parties to a lawsuit or through litigation.
Paralegal: This person serves as the lawyer's right hand. A paralegal takes over certain tasks to free up the attorney's time so that they can take care of things that only an attorney can do, such as appear in court or give legal advice. Paralegals may draft pleadings, assist clients and do legal research under the supervision of the attorney.
Legal Assistant: Also called an administrative assistant, this position entails less responsibility than a paralegal but often more than the average secretarial role. Responsibilities include the normal sphere of secretarial duties in addition to things like file maintenance and drafting basic correspondence, such as letters to clients notifying them of upcoming court dates.
Generally speaking, jobs in law are some of the best paying in the United States. Annually, lawyers earn a median salary of $139,880. Paralegals can expect to bring home a median wage of $53,180. Legal assistants earn an average of $15.57 per hour.
Jobs for lawyers are projected to grow 8 percent until 2026, about as fast as the average for all other occupations. Competition for jobs over the next 10 years is expected to be strong because more students graduate from law school each year than there are jobs available. Paralegal and legal assistant jobs, however, are expected to grow much faster than average at 15 percent.
Legal jobs are here to stay for as long as there is a legal system, and legal advice is needed by everyone from individuals to big businesses. As a result, the profession is a much-needed one in the United States.