“I hated being a lawyer.”
Steve Eisman, Businessman
Pros and Cons of Being a Lawyer
You currently consider becoming a lawyer but are not entirely sure yet? Great! Then this article is exactly for you. Even though being a lawyer can have many important advantages, there are still some problems related to it. I show you all the pros and cons of being a lawyer in the following chapters.
Advantages of Being a Lawyer
- Lawyers can make really good money
- Highly reputable profession
- Being a lawyer never gets boring
- You will learn a lot already at the beginning of your career
- Many different career options available to you
- You will learn how to deal with stress
- Attorneys can work indoors
- You can help people out in difficult situations
- Lawyers know their own legal rights quite well
- You learn how to deal with people in general
- Every day and every client will be different
- You can found your own law firm
- Being a lawyer enables you to work for reputable companies
- You are challenged on a regular basis
- You can build a strong business network
- Easy to find a partner
- Good exit options after a few years
Lawyers can make really good money
One advantage of being a lawyer is that you can make really good money from your profession. Especially if you work in the private sector, lawyers often start with an income of over 100.000 dollars.
After a few years, this income can even double. If you become a partner at a big law firm, chances are that you will even have a 7-figure-income.
Thus, there are not many other jobs that pay that well and if you really want to make significant money, chances are that becoming a lawyer will be the way to go for you.
Highly reputable profession
Studying law also has a quite good reputation in our society. Since it is not easy to finish law studies and to become a successful lawyer, many people will admire what you achieved and also want to be like you.
In turn, you can enjoy that admiration of your family and your friends and you can also help them out in case they need a good lawyer in the future.
Being a lawyer never gets boring
Since the cases you will work on will often be quite demanding and you will have to work quite long hours on a regular basis, you will definitely not get bored with your job as a lawyer. In fact, every case will be different and you will always have to adapt to new circumstances.
While this can be challenging, it will keep you in a mental state where you try to achieve as much as possible. In turn, your brain will stay awake and vital and there will be no leisure in which you could get bored.
You will learn a lot already at the beginning of your career
Another benefit of being a lawyer is that you can also learn quite a lot already at the beginning of your career. In many professions, you have to work for many years until you get a certain level of responsibility. However, as a lawyer, you often get in contact with clients from the beginning and also have to defend your work in front of your clients.
I admit, this can be overwhelming and also quite challenging. Yet, you will still learn a lot from those experiences and you will soon grow in character. In fact, many lawyers who start in their 20s become real experts in their early 30s and can really get into a position where they become important pillars for the law companies they work for.
Many different career options available to you
If you go to law school, you don’t necessarily have to become a defense attorney. You can also become a judge or work as a prosecutor. Hence, even if you don’t want to follow the path where you could make the most money but you are rather in the game of justice, going to law school and becoming a lawyer can still help you with this career path.
There will also be the opportunity to work in the law department of big private corporations. As you can see, there are many different job opportunities for lawyers and you will therefore have a great level of flexibility regarding your future career path after you finished law school.
You will learn how to deal with stress
Being a lawyer can also be quite stressful. Many times, you will have to argue with clients about the optimal strategy and your clients will often also be in a pretty bad mood since they have to face a lot of pressure. While this can be exhausting, it also gives you the opportunity to learn how to deal with stress in a proper manner.
In fact, you will only grow in character if you are pushed to your boundaries from time to time. Since learning how to deal with stress is crucial in various parts of life, becoming a lawyer can not only help you with your professional career, it can also help you to develop a stable personality.
Attorneys can work indoors
Another upside of becoming an attorney is that they can work indoors. I admit, this is true for many jobs, especially if those jobs are carried out in an office building.
However, there are still many jobs where you don’t have this luxury and it is just not fun to work outside in winter or on extremely hot summer days.
Hence, even though rather underestimated, working indoors is still a significant advantage of being a lawyer.
You can help people out in difficult situations
Many lawyers are not just in the game to make money, they also want to help people to solve their problems. In fact, people who need a lawyer are often rather desperate and don’t know how to solve their issues alone.
Consequently, by becoming a lawyer, you can really help people to find solutions to their problems. In turn, this may give you a good feeling and may keep you more motivated than your decent salary in the long run.
Lawyers know their own legal rights quite well
Lawyers can not only help their clients in difficult situations, they can also help themselves once they get into trouble. If you are a lawyer, you often don’t need the advice of other lawyers, you can just defend yourself and can save plenty of money on it.
Moreover, you will also have peace of mind since you can better estimate how serious your situation really is compared to the average person who often has no idea in this regard.
You learn how to deal with people in general
Since you will work with many different clients over time, you will also learn how to deal with several sorts of different people in a proper manner thanks to your job as a lawyer. In my opinion, this is one of the most important skills you can learn.
Knowing how to deal with people is crucial for success in various parts of life and if you learn this important skill, your chances to also succeed in your private life will increase significantly.
Every day and every client will be different
Another advantage of becoming a lawyer is that you will always have to adapt to new circumstances and clients. In fact, people are quite different and what works for one client will not work for another one.
While this can be challenging and sometimes also annoying, it keeps you going and keeps you aware of the fact that you have to progress and become better every day if you want to stay successful as a lawyer.
You can found your own law firm
If you are not the type of person who wants to work for a law firm or for anyone else, you could also just found your own law boutique. Not only will you earn really good money if you do your job well, you will also have a higher level of freedom regarding your working times and your workload you want to have.
Being a lawyer enables you to work for reputable companies
If you finished your law degree with good grades, many doors will open for you. In fact, you could work in many reputable law firms or also work for many other reputable companies.
Every big company needs lawyers for several occasions and chances are that you will have the freedom of choice where you want to work if your credentials are good enough.
You are challenged on a regular basis
Lawyers are also challenged almost every day by clients or by other attorneys. While this can be annoying and stressful, you can also learn how to deal with these challenges and how to get out of these situations in the best possible manner.
We as humans learn the most from adversity, not from success. Therefore, some setbacks and challenges are crucial on your way to really succeed not only in your profession, but also in your private life.
You can build a strong business network
Since you will consult many wealthy and influential people during your career as an attorney, chances are that you will also be able to build a strong business network.
In fact, if you defend an influential person with great success, this person will remember you and will also recommend you to his peers.
Consequently, over time, you will get in contact with many powerful people who could potentially employ you in leading positions later on in your life.
Easy to find a partner
As an attorney, you will also have a great selection regarding your future partner. Let’s be honest. Money and power help to attract a suitable significant other and you will have almost more options than you could handle as a lawyer.
However, be aware of the fact that you might attract the wrong type of partner into your life who is just after your money instead of you as a person.
Good exit options after a few years
If you start your career at a big law firm, you will also have excellent exit options after just a few years. In fact, this is the career path that many people take. They work long hours in those reputable law firms in the beginning and move to another job after a few years that still pays well but where they only have to work 40 hours instead of 70+.
Thus, from a financial standpoint, you can’t make a huge mistake by becoming a lawyer if you are ambitious enough for a demanding career.
Disadvantages of Being an Attorney
- Lawyers often work long hours
- You will often no longer have a life apart from work
- Clients can be quite demanding
- Working climate may be rather bad
- You may get sued
- Law school can cost a fortune
- Digitalization is a threat to lawyers
- Globalization may lead to higher unemployment rates among attorneys
- Rather unpredictable schedules of attorneys
- Not every lawyer gets a good job
- Lawyers have to adapt to new laws
- Some people just don’t like lawyers
- Only one mistake can destroy your reputation
- People may even threaten you
- Problematic if you have a family
- Hire-and-fire mentality in many big law firms
- Being a lawyer requires high level of flexibility
- Only few people become partners in law firms
- Burnout is rather common
- You will have to defend people you don’t like
- Questionable from a moral standpoint
Lawyers often work long hours
Apart from the many advantages of becoming a lawyer, there are still some issues related to this career path. For instance, one disadvantage of being a lawyer is that you will have to work quite long hours. Especially if you work for a reputable law firm, chances are that you will work 70 hours or more every week.
While some people love to work hard and long, most of us don’t and if you are a person who wants to have a standard 9 to 5 job, becoming a lawyer may not work out the way you want it to be.
You will often no longer have a life apart from work
Since you will have to work such long, you will often also have no life apart from work. You will leave your home early in the morning and come back late in the evening. Some days, you may even work until midnight.
Consequently, there will just be no time left to spend on your hobbies and the only things you will have in your life is your sleep and your work. This is a huge price to pay and many people are just not willing to live their lives like that.
Clients can be quite demanding
Many clients will also be quite demanding, and that for a good reason. Lawsuits are not fun at all and your clients can often lose large sums of money or other things that are really important to them.
In turn, the atmosphere during your client meetings will often be rather tense and you really need the stomach to deal with these situations in an emotionally healthy manner.
Working climate may be rather bad
Another problem with being an attorney is that the overall working climate in big law firms is often quite bad. In fact, most people in there are quite ambitious and their career is the single most important thing to them.
In turn, your colleagues will try to get promoted and will do almost everything they can for it. This may even include bringing you down on several occasions if they feel that this could be in their best interest.
You may get sued
Some clients may even sue you in case you make mistakes. Sure, you will always try to do your job as best as possible. However, nobody is perfect and from time to time, everyone of us makes mistakes. And the mistakes you can make as an attorney can be really costly.
Thus, you should always make sure that you have proper insurance in case you make mistakes which can cause significant damage to your clients.
Law school can cost a fortune
Another downside of becoming a lawyer is that you have to attend law school for it. This also implies that you have to spend large sums of money on it. Many students who finish law school come out with six-figure student debt and it will take many years to pay this debt back, even though you might earn really good money as an attorney.
Even worse would be to study law for a few years and quitting without a degree since you will still end up with huge student debt but will not even have the opportunity to get a well-paid job later.
Thus, you will have to make a significant upfront investment if you aspire to a career as a lawyer and you should really make sure that you are willing to pay the price for it.
Digitalization is a threat to lawyers
Our technology changes quite rapidly and so does our demand for manual work. Like in many other industries, robots and computers will replace a significant fraction of lawyers in the next decades and your job as a lawyer will not be as safe as you might think right now.
Therefore, you might spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on law school only to realize that your job prospects are no longer as good as you expected them to be.
Globalization may lead to higher unemployment rates among attorneys
Not only technology, but also globalization is a serious threat for lawyers. In fact, many rather simple tasks could just be outsourced to third-world countries where wages are extremely low. In turn, this means that fewer lawyers will be employed in high-wage countries.
Thus, if you currently aspire to a lawyer career in the US or in other rich parts of our world, job opportunities may become rather bad in the future due to this high level of globalization and the price pressure that comes along with it.
Rather unpredictable schedules of attorneys
Working as a lawyer also implies having a rather unpredictable schedule. Quite often, you will get new clients when you least expect it and you will often have to cancel plans for the evening since you will have to work instead.
Therefore, being a lawyer can also be rather challenging for your private life and can also be quite annoying since you will never know how many hours you have to work the following week.
Not every lawyer gets a good job
Many law schools also try to convince people that every law student who gets a degree will automatically get a good job afterward. However, this is not true at all. Many law students who got their degree with average grades will just work in a normal 9 to 5 job and will not make too much money.
However, the student debt they amassed is still enormous and therefore, it will take those people quite a long time to pay it off. Thus, going to law school will not always be financially rewarding and will only pay off for the best students, but not for the average ones.
Lawyers have to adapt to new laws
When you are a lawyer, you also always have to learn and to adapt to new laws. In fact, changes in laws come and go and if you don’t educate yourself about the latest changes, you can’t defend and consult your clients in a proper manner.
Thus, if you are unwilling to stay up-to-date with the latest juristic developments, chances are that you will become obsolete as a lawyer pretty soon.
Some people just don’t like lawyers
While some people admire lawyers, others just hate them. In fact, if you have already been through a lawsuit and have been treated rather poorly, chances are that you will just be disgusted when you see a lawyer.
Consequently, be aware of the fact that not everyone will be thankful and appreciating for what you are doing as an attorney. Some people will just try to bring you down whenever they can.
Only one mistake can destroy your reputation
Another danger of being an attorney is that only one big mistake can destroy your whole career. In fact, if you defend a person in an important lawsuit with plenty of public awareness, almost everyone in your industry will become aware of your mistakes. In turn, if you get fired from your job due to a bad mistake, most other law firms may no longer want to employ you as well.
Hence, the pressure on you can be enormous and you should really make sure that you can deal with these situations in a mentally healthy manner before deciding to become a lawyer.
People may even threaten you
If you work as a lawyer, you will also face the risk that people will even have intentions with you or with your family. People who feel that they had been treated unfairly in court and who lost everything often have nothing to lose and may make you the scapegoat for their bad situation.
Thus, people may even threaten you outside of work and this can greatly reduce your overall quality of life since you will often have to fear getting attacked when you leave your home.
Problematic if you have a family
In general, working as a lawyer can also be quite problematic if you have a family. Since you will often have to work long hours, you will not see your children or your wife that often. This also implies that you will not see your children growing up and your wife may also feel neglected sooner or later.
Hence, also the risk of divorce tends to increase and you should make sure that your career is worth it for you to lose your family one day.
Hire-and-fire mentality in many big law firms
Since the job as an attorney at a big law firm is quite challenging, many people just break under the pressure they are exposed to on a regular basis. Consequently, there is a high turnover of workers in those firms and if you don’t meet the high expectations of the company, chances are that you will get fired pretty soon.
Being a lawyer requires high level of flexibility
Since you will never know when you will get new clients and how much work each case implies, you will also have to be quite flexible if you aspire to a career as a lawyer.
This means that you will often have to cancel meetings with your friends in the evening since you just have to work or that you just do not have enough time to spend with your family.
Only few people become partners in law firms
Also if you aspire to a partner career at a reputable law firm, I have to disappoint you. Chances to become partner at one of those firms are almost zero since almost everyone tries it.
Hence, while you could still make a decent salary, you should not expect to become a partner anytime soon or probably ever.
Thus, if you are just in the game for a partner career, becoming a lawyer does also not make that much sense in this regard.
Burnout is rather common
Since the pressure as a lawyer can be enormous and you have to work long hours every week, there is also a significant risk for burnout. While many lawyers who are currently employed at big law firms would not admit it, many others who have already quit report from horrible working conditions and that they had simply not been able with the huge pressure and that they even got mentally sick due to that.
You will have to defend people you don’t like
You will also have to defend many people you simply don’t like at all. Especially at the beginning of your career, you will not have the option to be picky regarding whom you want to have as a client.
However, defending people you don’t like at all can be mentally challenging and exhausting and you really need a stable mindset to deal with these situations.
Questionable from a moral standpoint
In some cases, you may also not want to defend someone since you clearly see that he or she is guilty. Sometimes, you will even be disgusted about the offenses that people are accused of.
Thus, you may also feel quite bad defending those people since this may just not be in line with your moral values.
Top 10 Being a Lawyer Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Lawyer Pros||Being a Lawyer Cons|
|Lawyers can earn really good money||Lawyers often work long hours|
|Being a lawyer implies excellent career options||Stress can be enormous|
|Lawyers can work in many different jobs||Being a lawyer may affect your family life|
|You know your own rights quite well||Lawyers have to be flexible|
|You can defend your family and friends||You have to defend people you don’t like|
|Lawyers learn how to deal with stress||You often just live for your career|
|You can learn a lot in your first years||Problematic from a moral standpoint|
|You can start your own law firm||People may insult and threaten you|
|Lawyers can build a strong business network||Law school is quite expensive|
|Being a lawyer never gets boring||Not every lawyer gets a good salary|
Should You Become A Lawyer?
As you can see, there are many advantages and disadvantages of becoming a lawyer. In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether the pros of being a lawyer outweigh the cons for you or not.
Either way, make sure that you evaluate all the arguments carefully since bad decisions in this regard could result in quite costly mistakes.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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