What Does A Lawyer Do? (With Salary And Essential Skills)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 19 January 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Lawyers are responsible for upholding the country's laws and protecting their client's legal rights. A career as a lawyer can be fulfilling and rewarding in terms of job satisfaction and earning potential. Understanding what a lawyer does can give you better insight into this profession and expand your understanding of the legal field. In this article, we discuss what a lawyer does, look at the types of lawyers, learn about their average salary and explore some essential skills of a lawyer.

Related: Career Goals For Lawyers (Definition, Tips And Benefits)

What Does A Lawyer Do?

You may benefit from knowing the answer to, ‘What does a lawyer do?' if you wish to work in this profession. Lawyers use their knowledge of the law to help clients understand and manage legal matters. While their responsibilities may vary based on their area of expertise, most lawyers perform the following duties:

  • offering legal counsel, advice, and guidance to clients

  • writing contracts and legal documents

  • meeting clients to understand their requirements

  • attending trials and hearings in court

  • reading statements issued by witnesses

  • researching case studies and collating evidence

  • staying updated with the latest changes in the field

  • collaborating with investigators and police and building cases for mediation and trials

  • reviewing cases and suggesting legal options to clients

Related: How To Become a Lawyer: A Complete Guide With FAQs

Types Of Lawyers And Scope Of Their Work

Following are the common types of lawyers and brief descriptions of their practice:

Family lawyer

Family lawyers work in areas relating to family law. They may deal with issues such as child abduction, child abuse, adoption, surrogacy, spousal abuse, custody battles, prenuptial agreements, paternity determinations, name changes, and child emancipation. Family lawyers usually represent clients in family court proceedings and also help draft various legal documents relating to the same. While some family lawyers may occasionally deal with divorce cases, a divorce lawyer usually focuses solely on matters pertaining to divorce.

Divorce lawyer

A divorce lawyer works on the legal aspects of divorce and the termination of a marriage. They ensure the protection of the rights of their clients and ensure just settlement to the client after the dissolution of marriage. Divorce lawyers may deal with legal filings, child custody, asset division, and debts amongst spouses. They may also work on essential tasks like drafting paperwork, keeping track of different deadlines, and filing documents.

Immigration lawyer

Immigration lawyers provide legal advice on various aspects relating to immigration. These attorneys are generally responsible for counseling clients on issues that involve settling down as citizens of a country. The clients interested in settling down may be a family starting a new life in the country, a start-up beginning a business or a multi-national company planning to set up branches in the country. These lawyers can assist with visa support, end-to-end sponsorship, and immigration compliance aid.

Criminal lawyer

Criminal lawyers work on criminal cases such as sex crimes, domestic violence crimes, drug crimes, violent crimes, fraud, theft, and embezzlement. These lawyers may involve themselves in bail bond hearings, trials, plea bargains, appeals, revocation hearings, and post-conviction remedies. They may also participate in the investigation of cases, researching case laws, developing strategies, advocating for the defendant on trial, and filing and arguing appeals.

Related: How To Become a Criminal Lawyer: A Complete Guide

Accident and personal injury lawyer

An accident or personal injury lawyer provides legal services to individuals who may have met with an accident or have been injured psychologically or physically because of the negligence of another party. The other party may be another individual, government agency, company or entity. Personal injury claims may include injuries due to traffic collisions, slip and fall cases, workplace injuries, or harm due to defective products.

Corporate lawyer

Corporate lawyers represent and advise companies on legal matters. This professional may work as a legal adviser for a company as a part of its in-house legal team. A corporate lawyer may also work with corporate law firms to offer legal services to clients. Corporate lawyers advise organizations about their legal rights, privileges, and obligations. They may act as legal agents who conduct transactions on behalf of the company, negotiate contracts, facilitate mergers and ensure proper regulatory compliance.

Bankruptcy lawyer

These lawyers are responsible for managing a client's finances and assisting them through court proceedings related to bankruptcy. Bankruptcy lawyers can help clients decide on whether to proceed with filing bankruptcy. They can also advise clients on what type of bankruptcy they may opt for and what property they may retain. Bankruptcy lawyers educate clients on tax consequences and advise on the continuation of payment to creditors.

Employment lawyer

An employment lawyer works with different aspects of law related to the workplace. For instance, the law may relate to employees and their rights, obligations, and duties. These lawyers may represent an individual or a group of employees or an employer. Employment lawyers deal with instances related to working hours, pay, recruitment, employment status, employment terms and conditions, holiday entitlement, data protection, health and safety, and discrimination.

Animal lawyer

An animal lawyer deals with cases such as wrongful death of animals, veterinary malpractice, dog bite defense cases, issues with pet food products, animal cruelty, purchase disputes, landlord-tenant disputes and animal-related legal issues. They may work on advising clients, researching and reviewing cases, arguing cases in court and preparing legal documents. Animal lawyers can publish case studies in journals that are related to animal law. Animal lawyers are generally intuitive, creative, expressive, and articulate.

Related: Types Of Lawyer Careers: Descriptions, Skills and Salaries

Salary Of A Lawyer

The average salary of a lawyer is ₹19,875 per month. The pay may vary depending upon the amount of experience and skills of the professional. The location of the job and the type of law in which you specialize may also affect the pay.

Skills Of A Lawyer

The following are some important skills for a lawyer:

Fluent communication

A lawyer generally requires good spoken and written communication skills. Good verbal communication can help a lawyer advocate a cause with conviction and convey information clearly. Also, good written skills can help a lawyer prepare various legal documents with accuracy and precision. Great listening skills are also an important requirement for a lawyer.

Logical and analytical ability

Lawyers require excellent logical and analytical abilities. A lawyer's job may involve the review of legal documents, analysis of various complexities, identification of pain points, and drawing of inferences regularly. A logical thinking process and solid problem-solving abilities can help lawyers come to sensible and effective conclusions while performing their duties.

Legal research skills

Extensive legal research skills can help lawyers validate and support their arguments logically. It is important that these professionals make use of proper citations and techniques, and are well-versed with legal research databases, research tools, and repositories available online. Legal research can provide strength to a lawyer's work and can help result in successful outcomes for clients.

Client service skills

Lawyers may require excellent client service skills to ensure professional success. This can be possible through careful consideration of client expectations, drawing the correct inferences for actions, positive language, and being empathetic and persuasive. Lawyers may also require skills like patience, self-control, and responsibility to increase their client base and provide maximum value to their clientele.

Related: 15 Necessary Customer Service Skills and How To Develop Them

Computer skills

A lawyer requires proficiency in technology and in learning and operating various legal software and tools. Lawyers often receive training on litigation support software, electronic discovery processes, and document management systems. Law colleges generally enable students to become proficient in handling various software and tools related to legal practice.

In-depth knowledge of the law and legal procedures

Clients are more likely to trust lawyers who display a great amount of knowledge related to law, legal proceedings, acts, and legal entities. As a lawyer, it is important to understand federal, local, and state procedures, relevant legal terminologies and the evolution of law principles. Possessing strong legal fundamentals can help lawyers perform their duties effectively.

Team skills

Lawyers often work in collaboration with their legal team to achieve a common goal. Therefore, team skills can be integral to the success of a legal professional. A lawyer may coordinate and share information, maintain good working relationships with staff, experts, and vendors, and participate in conferences and meetings whenever necessary.

Time management

A lawyer requires excellent time management skills to manage court hearings, meet deadlines and work on a variety of other activities. This professional also requires solid organizational skills to organize relevant information into their logical hierarchies. These skills can also help them in managing legal documents and data systematically.

Related: Essential Lawyer Skills (With Definition And Examples)

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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