So you want to work in law. An awful lot of career options are nested within that broad category. Let’s take a moment to examine some of the ways to make a career in the world of law, from working as an attorney to reporting on court proceedings.
Being an Attorney
Being an attorney can be personally and financially rewarding. But it’s not easy to break into law. You’ll need to be a talented and dedicated student, and you’ll need to progress from an undergraduate college to a law school. Law schools can be selective, and the three years of schooling they provide are notoriously tough. But if you make it through, you’ll find yourself with the opportunity to have a successful career.
The disciplines for lawyers can vary greatly. For example, a personal injury lawyer helps clients who have been injured through no fault of their own. They sue negligent parties to get just compensation for clients. To be a good personal injury attorney, you’ll need to be able to deal with clients face-to-face. You’ll have to be adept at negotiation, too, because many personal injury suits are settled before they go to trial.
A prosecutor will be in court more often and will represent the government, not an individual. A defense attorney represents a defendant. A tax attorney focuses on tax law and must constantly keep up on tax legislation.
Being a Paralegal
You don’t have to be a lawyer to work in a law office. A typical attorney requires a lot of essential support staff, too. Legal assistants and paralegals play important roles.
To become a paralegal, you’ll need to pursue a degree or a certificate in the field of criminal justice. Paralegals do a lot of work that resembles that of attorneys, but there are key differences. Being a paralegal or legal assistant might be a good choice if you don’t feel that you want to spend the years studying that you’d need to be a lawyer, or if you want to avoid law school debt or some of the day-to-day stress that attorneys have.
Being a court reporter
For the law to function as it should, we need to know what’s happening in the courtroom — and that’s why the role of a court reporter is so important.
A court reporter’s job is to keep records of the legal proceedings that happen in and around courts of law. Other tasks are recording depositions and video-taping legal proceedings. The pros at Brickell Key Court Reporting, an agency of court reporters in West Palm Beach, say that the work requires excellent typing speed and a high degree of flexibility. Long hours are required on the job. But without the help of court reporters, keeping track of what goes on in the complex world of law would be impossible.
Becoming a court reporter requires you to first get a degree or certification in the field. As always in law, the certifications matter. But the hard work may be worth it if you find a career in court reporting to be as rewarding as many professionals do.
Having a career in the legal industry can mean a lot of different things. Check out the various paths to find what’s right for you.