Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

What is this job like?

People and companies hire lawyers to give them advice and to tell them what they can and can't do under the law. Sometimes, they hire lawyers to take their side in court against other people or companies, or against the government.

Lawyers spend a lot of time doing research. To be a good lawyer, a person must be good at finding facts in books, on computers, and in other places. Lawyers also interview people to get information.

After doing research, lawyers make arguments to show that the people they work for should win in court. Some lawyers speak in court. But many lawyers don't.

Lawyers also spend time writing. They write their arguments. Lawyers also write legal documents like contracts and wills. They need to be very specific.

Lawyers do most of their work in offices, law libraries, and courtrooms. They sometimes meet in clients' homes or businesses. Some lawyers meet clients in hospitals or prisons. Lawyers often work long hours, especially during a trial in court.

How do you get ready?

Lawyers need a license from the State in which they want to work. To get a license, people need to get a college degree and then go to law school for 3 years. Finally, lawyers must pass a test called the bar examination.

Even after they start working, lawyers need to keep on learning about changes in the law. Most States make lawyers take classes from time to time.

To start getting ready for this job, students can take English classes to learn how to write, do research, and make presentations. Social studies classes teach about research and the law. People who want to be lawyers also need strong reading skills.

Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
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