Since I was young, I have always been
Since I was young, I have always been interested in having either a career in law or medicine. In freshman year of high school, I had finally made my decision to practice law once I graduate college. This passion stems from the need to help others. Ever since I was young, I felt this inner desire to help those in need. Growing up as a child I loved watching Law and Order. To this day I still watch the show and am still interested in law. In the show, the police always solved the case which led to the bad people being put away and giving justice to those that were wrongfully scorned. This made me strive to be like the actors that I saw on TV. I wanted the satisfaction that these fictional characters got by helping others. For many years I had witnessed a family friend practice law. I had known him since I was young and in more ways than one, he has always been a mentor to me. He is not only a lawyer, but a judge, and that is the career path that I will be taking. For my senior project I chose the career exploration path out of the four paths you could take. I was deciding between learning a new skill or career exploration. If I had chosen learning a new skill, I would have learned how to play the flute. This was a legitimate option that I considered because my mom had played the flute for over ten years. My mother inspired me because she had described to me the amount of effort and dedication it took to learn and play the flute. The reason why I chose the career exploration of law over learning the flute as a new skill was because I have always been interested in the practice of law since I was young. From the experiences that I will be having because of Senior Project, this will determine if law is the right career choice for me. Career Research:When terminating a marriage, many legal aspects must be addressed. A divorce lawyer is responsible for the division of assets and debt among spouses. If there are children involved, a divorce lawyer helps set the terms for child custody and child support. Thorough research is required in order to gather supporting evidence in each case. Detailed paperwork must be compiled and then submitted to the court documenting the evidence. For legal separations, a divorce lawyer carries out the separation through court orders. A divorce lawyer must excel in a few unique skills. They have to be an attentive listener because the decisions made in or out of court will greatly affect their client’s lives. Although it may be difficult, it is vital a divorce lawyer remains non-judgmental to assist them in promoting their own client’s best interests. Their interpersonal skills must be strong because they are dealing with a variety of relationships in their profession. Advocacy, mediation and alternative dispute resolution skills should be acquired and mastered in law school as well as through continual work experience in the field. Also, licensing you need while pursuing a Juris Doctorate (J.D.), a law student can receive a certification in family law. In addition, certain law schools offer a Master of Law (LL.M) in Family Law which would follow the acquisition of a J.D.. Geographically Domestic law firms are expanding across borders, collaborating with foreign counsel and forming intercontinental mergers, erasing traditional boundaries on the geographic scope of law practice. Although globalization is not new, it is gaining momentum due to the growth of the Internet, the automation of legal processes, developments in data security and emerging technology tools. As law firms continue to expand their footprint worldwide, globalization will continue to reshape the landscape of the legal industry in the coming years. Anyone who wants to pursue a law degree must first complete a bachelor’s program . The type of undergraduate degree is less important, but reflects the practice area considered. For example, someone who wants to go into patent law might first pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering. After completing your bachelor’s degree, you will need to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is one of several assessment used by law school admissions staff.The next step is to graduate from or complete at least three years at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. The California Bar Association, for example, requires graduation and the completion of at least four years of law school, and four years of work in a judge’s chambers program; or even a study program combining those two educational pathways. ( California Bar Association) Vermont, Virginia, and Washington are similar, while New York requires at least one year of law school before completing an alternative form of legal education No matter how well one does in law school, one cannot legally practice law in a given state without passing that state’s bar examination. Many attorneys have passed bar exams in several states, meaning they can practice law in each of those states. Most bar exams take roughly 18 hours and are spread over three days, and are administered twice a year. The exam includes standardized questions and essays on a variety of areas of law used to assess an individual’s understanding of the law and capacity for logical thought. Since the practice of law is very risky, involving the finances and in some cases the freedom of clients, each state bar requires applicants to undergo moral reviews. This review includes question about academic conduct at law school; criminal history; social conduct in general; any applicable disciplinary actions while you were in college or law school; and other inquiries. Attorneys must take a legally binding oath that they will uphold the codes and the Constitution of the United States, as well as the laws and constitution of the licensing state. Completion of the above requirements typically results in the individual receiving his or her law license from their state’s supreme court or high-court equivalent The benefits of being a lawyer include being able to select from a wide variety of career options in the public and private sector. If your calling is to make the world a safer place for you, your family, and everyone else, you may choose to become a criminal prosecutor. On the other hand, if you believe our criminal justice system is grounded on the principle that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and everyone has the right to competent legal counsel, you may choose to become a public defender. Of course, some people believe this but choose to be a criminal defense attorney in the private sector because private attorneys tend to earn a great deal more than attorneys in the public sector. In addition to criminal defense, you may choose from many areas of law including domestic law, real estate, corporate/business law, bankruptcy law, immigration law, or estate planning. If there is a law that covers a particular subject, you can choose to specialize in that specific area. You can also choose to become a sole proprietor who handles several areas of law for many clients or a corporate in-house attorney working for one client. Bulwa says a new staff member at the school has a law degree and a counseling degree. This combination allows the counselor to understand the stresses of law students because she went through the same process. While you don’t need a law degree to work as a mediator, legal knowledge can help during the mediation process.Your degree can help if you plan on working with a Nongovernmental organization. After all, a lot of them work in countries where knowledge of the law is crucial to their mandate. This one is a gimme but consider how many politicians have a law degree. There’s Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – just to name two presidents – and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While law and politics remain entangled, there is a decline of lawyers entering politics.So if you don’t go into politics, why not try finance? There are certain fields where a law degree certainly couldn’t hurt such as estates, tax and small business. Even if you don’t want to practice law in the finance sector and prefer to deal with the money, having one can help since finance does require legal knowledge. Of course you don’t need a degree to be an entrepreneur but Jacqueline Dinsmore went from working as a corporate lawyer for one of the largest firms in Canada and then as the Assistant General Counsel for the Toronto Star to founding Luvali Convertibles. Dinsmore credits her degree for helping her understand and negotiate contracts related to her business. Among the many benefits of being a lawyer, the financial rewards and emotional rewards are at the top of most college bound students seeking to study law. Lawyers have the opportunity to earn a lucrative income. The average annual income for an attorney in the United States is $114,970 per year as of 2014 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. The highest 10% of attorneys earned more than $187,200 per year. Salaries of experienced, specialized attorneys can be much, much higher depending on the field, geographical location, employer, and level of experience. It’s not uncommon at all to hear of lawyers handling high profile cases chalking up in excess of 100 hours per week as this may be the only way of gathering, processing, analyzing and preparing all important information accordingly. But at the same time, a quiet period spent dealing with minor legal matters can facilitate a more conventional 40 to 50-hour working week. The majority of lawyers work in private practice. Some work as solo practitioners, others in small or “boutique” law firms. Many work in firms that have several hundred lawyers in cities across the world. Lawyers usually join firms as associates and work toward becoming partners. The road to partnership is long and difficult. In recent years it has become increasingly common for associates to join a law firm with the expectation that they will gain experience for a number of years, but not stick around for a partnership decision. To retain more lawyers, some law firms now allow for non-equity partnerships or promote a few attorneys to non-partnership “of counsel” or “special counsel” positions. Life at a law firm, especially a large law firm, is influenced by billable hours. Some lawyers never argue a case in a courtroom or they argue very few cases in court. On the other hand, some trial attorneys are in court almost each week arguing a new case. If you enjoy the challenge of going up against another attorney to argue legal theories and points to prove your allegations are correct, becoming an attorney will give you ample opportunity to argue and debate legal theories and various interpretations of the law. For many, the work environment is one of the benefits specifically considered when choosing a career. Most lawyers work in law firms, government agencies, or corporations where they are afforded an actual office with four walls rather than a cubicle in the middle of a “bull pen” from a cubicle. Being a lawyer typically includes the benefit of having a certain level of prestige that affords you certain benefits that other employees may not receive (i.e. office, ability to set hours, expense accounts, decorating budget, etc.).Perhaps more than any other field, family law is inherently emotional because the cases are about people’s biggest life choices and corresponding feelings of failure.While it helps to be empathetic, it can also be hard professionally to be objective in the break-up of a family. You will have more than one client break down in tears as you advise them of legal realities. Unfortunately, the emotional nature of family law can spill over into even more stressful areas. More than a few family cases have turned into criminal cases, including the murders of family law attorneys.Criminal lawyers, who see the blood and guts all the time, develop tough skins to deal with criminal behavior. Family lawyers, on the other hand, are more likely to take their clients’ pains and stresses personally. Alcohol and other addictions too often become pseudo-salves for stressed-out attorneys. It’s not an occupational hazard for family lawyers, but it is a problem in a significant number of cases.”At some point in your career, you will probably encounter another lawyer whose addiction problems impair their ability to practice,” according to Family Lawyer Magazine. Because family lawyers often work alone or in small firms, isolation and addiction problems may follow. Benefits of being a lawyer do not stop at “being a lawyer.” The skills you learn in law school and in the early years of your practice easily translate into alternative legal careers. Sally Kane wrote about several alternative legal careers in an article published on About.com. Alternative legal careers Kane explores in her article include legal consulting, legal technology, legal publishing, education, administration, banking, finance, dispute resolution, and human resource management. Unpredictable schedules, demanding billable quotas, long hours, and very few days off have been a major complaint of many attorneys. The desire to achieve a better work-life balance has encouraged many firms to work with their employees to provide more flexibility as an attorney. Many law firms are now offering telecommuting, alternative work schedules, tiered pay scales, expanded family leave including maternity and paternity leave, reduced billable hours, and virtual assistants to reduce workload. (Kane) The benefits of being a lawyer are increasing as law firms and other employers see the value of providing additional flexibly for their employees in increased productivity and efficiency. My Reflection: When given the assignment of senior project I was extremely unsure of the outcome. I was not only unsure but very nervous, the idea of working with a mentor for twenty hours made me definitely get out of my comfort zone. Prior to meeting my mentor I had had pretty decent knowledge of the field of law, not only had I watched law documentaries, I was very fascinated and did much research about it. My mentor told me the educational route he went through to get to where he is now. He actually attended Suffolk University and after the experience I had with him and the information he told me I will be applying to Suffolk as well. I always assumed that being a lawyer was practically a nine to five job, yet I was very mistaken. The hours worked per day as well as per week is tremendous, yet it all depends on the case that you are working on. What surprised me was the amount of hours needed to do this job, as my mentor and I were finishing the day out he had to read a four hundred paged book for the following day for a client, which was personally shocking to me ,but it was extremely impressive as well. My favorite part of this experience was learning everything new about the field of law. My favorite thing in the world is learning new things, so this experience was very enjoyable for me overall. My least favorite part of this experience was the amount of reading I had to do. I love reading in general, but I enjoy fiction over non fiction anyday. The knowledge I have learned from this experience is a very precious thing. I never took one second of these twenty hours for granted I appreciated every minute of it. What I have learned will now launch me into my future career as a lawyer, I now know the ups and downs of what comes with this job. I have had a glimpse into the world of law and it will help me determine my future plans tremendously. Before this experience I was unsure if the law path was right for me, I was confused and didn’t know which career choice to take. After what I have learned though I am not confused and excited for my law journey that is waiting for me after high school . During this experience though I learned a lot about myself as a person, I realised that I can handle more than I ever thought possible, also I learned to have more confidence. The goal from my mentor was to push me and make me see that I was capable of doing whatever I wanted to, either now or in the future. He got me out of my shell, and I see the world differently now that I have more of a voice. He encouraged me and made me see that when I fail that I try again and not to ever give up. He also made me see that mistakes are what makes us better, because we learn from them and grow more as a person. I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to shadow my mentor it was a once and a lifetime experience that changed my life forever. Conclusion: In five years I see myself in the midst of college prepping for my soon to be law career. This has been extremely telling, the twenty hours of mentoring has taught me so much, and gave me incredible insight on what a future law career would look like for me. I had previously mentioned that I was a bit confused on what career path I would choose either the field of law or of psychology. Personally senior project was the determining factor for me. Seeing the amount of hard work and dedication needed for this career was very eye opening, my favorite part of this process was honestly the cases, that was a huge factor for me. Seeing people no matter how big nor small being helped was all I ever wanted to do in my life as a career. Senior project honestly gave me a giant look inside what being a lawyer is truly about, whatever doubts I had before this experience has been erased, and I can truly say I know my career choice for the future, based on the positive experience I had.