Careers in Law
The word ‘lawyer’ is a handy umbrella term for anyone who practises law. Most UK lawyers choose to work as either a solicitor or as a barrister.
Individuals or companies usually approach solicitors for legal advice in the first instance. There are over 136,000 solicitors in the UK. Most solicitors work for a law firmor partnership and, unlike other industries, not for a company. Firms, including law firms, are managed and owned by partners and senior partners; companies, on the other hand, are run by directors and owned by shareholders.
- Solicitors bring in a barrister for specialist advice or representation in court if needed. Barristers need to be good at thinking on their feet and persuading a judge in court why they should decide in favour of a client. The barristers’ profession is much smaller and more competitive to get into than the solicitors’ profession; there are only 15,000 barristers in the UK – and most of them are self-employed.
- Lawyer: Also called an attorney or counselor — or a solicitor or barrister in parts of Europe — a lawyer advocates for his clients’ rights. He may do this through negotiation with o
ther parties to a lawsuit or through litigation. He effectively steers the ship. The failure or success of a firm begins with the abilities of its lawyers.
- Paralegal: This person serves as the lawyer’s right hand. A paralegal takes over certain tasks to free up the attorney’s time so he can take care of things that only an attorney can do, such as appear in court or give legal advice. Paralegals may draft pleadings, assists clients and do legal research under the supervision of the attorney.
- Legal Secretary: Also called an administrative assistant, this position entails less responsibility than a paralegal but often more than the average secretarial role. Responsibilities include the normal sphere of secretarial duties in addition to things like file maintenance and drafting basic correspondence, such as letters to clients notifying them of upcoming court dates.
- Chartered legal executives are qualified lawyers, specialising in particular areas of law. The number of legal executives is growing. Many study the qualifications needed to be a chartered legal executive while working as a paralegal. Legal executives are able to give legal advice to clients.
- Legal secretaries provide administrative support to solicitors. They help produce legal documents such as wills and contracts.
- Judges decide cases in a law court. In the UK, you have to practise as a solicitor or barrister for several years before becoming a judge.
- Define “law.” Tell some of its sources. Describe functions it serves.
1). Discuss two of the following:
- Justinian’s Code, the Code of Hammurabi, and the Magna Carta
- The development of the jury system
- Two famous trials in history
2). Tell what civil law is; tell what criminal law is. Tell the main differences between them. Give examples of each.
- Ask five people (not more than one from your immediate family) about the role of law enforcement officers in our society. Discuss their answers with them. Go to a law enforcement officer in your neighborhood and ask about his or her responsibilities and duties. Report your findings.
- Tell about several laws that were passed to protect the consumer and the seller. Tell about several organizations that provide help to consumers and sellers.
3). Do one of the following:
- Attend a session of a civil or criminal court. Write 250 words or more on what you saw.
- Plan and conduct a mock trial with your troop or school class. After the trial is over, discuss it with the group.
- Arrange a visit with a lawyer who works for a business, bank, title company, or government agency. Find out his or her duties and responsibilities. Report what you have learned.
- Explain the requirements for becoming a lawyer in your state. Describe how judges are selected in your state.
- Make a list of 15 jobs that deal with some aspects of law or legal processes. Tell which you prefer. Why?
- Tell where a people can go to obtain the help of a lawyer if they are unable to pay for one. Tell what you can do
if you can afford a lawyer but do not know of any in your area.
4). Discuss with your counselor the importance in our society of TWO of the following areas of the law:
- Environmental law
- Computers and the internet
- Copyright and the internet
- Space travel and satellites orbiting Earth
- Privacy law
- International law