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Details for Lawyers


Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, and manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.


  • Advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits, or legal rights and obligations.
  • Interpret laws, rulings and regulations for individuals and businesses.
  • Analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents.
  • Present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
  • Evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments in preparation for presentation of cases.
  • Gather evidence to formulate defense or to initiate legal actions, by such means as interviewing clients and witnesses to ascertain the facts of a case.
  • Represent clients in court or before government agencies.
  • Examine legal data to determine advisability of defending or prosecuting lawsuit.
  • Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges and question witnesses during the course of a trial.
  • Present evidence to defend clients or prosecute defendants in criminal or civil litigation.
  • Study Constitution, statutes, decisions, regulations, and ordinances of quasi-judicial bodies to determine ramifications for cases.
  • Prepare and draft legal documents, such as wills, deeds, patent applications, mortgages, leases, and contracts.
  • Prepare legal briefs and opinions, and file appeals in state and federal courts of appeal.
  • Negotiate settlements of civil disputes.
  • Confer with colleagues with specialties in appropriate areas of legal issue to establish and verify bases for legal proceedings.
  • Search for and examine public and other legal records to write opinions or establish ownership.
  • Supervise legal assistants.
  • Perform administrative and management functions related to the practice of law.
  • Act as agent, trustee, guardian, or executor for businesses or individuals.
  • Probate wills and represent and advise executors and administrators of estates.
  • Help develop federal and state programs, draft and interpret laws and legislation, and establish enforcement procedures.
  • Work in environmental law, representing public interest groups, waste disposal companies, or construction firms in their dealings with state and federal agencies.


  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
  • Training - Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
  • Experience - Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.


  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Related Careers

  • Criminal Investigators and Special Agents
  • Government Property Inspectors and Investigators
  • Insurance Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators
  • Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates
  • Law Clerks
  • Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Wages for this career
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