What Are Some Popular Law Careers?
Popular law careers include those as a judge, lawyer, police officer, paralegal, forensic analyst or private investigator. Read on to learn more about these careers and their job duties.
Important Facts About Law Careers
|Judges||Lawyers||Police Officers||Legal Assistants/Law Clerks||Forensic Analysts||Private Investigators|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||5% growth||8% growth||7% growth||15% growth||17% growth (for forensic science technicians)||11% growth|
|Median Annual Salary (2018)||$117,190||$120,910||$63,380||$50,940||$58,230 (for forensic science technicians)||$50,090|
|Similar Occupations||Arbitrator, Mediator, Conciliator||Judge, Hearing Officer||Correctional Officer, Firefighter, EMT, Paramedic||Claims Adjuster, Appraiser, Examiner||Biological Technician, Chemical Technician, Epidemiologist||Accountant, Auditor, Financial Examiner|
|Key Skills||Critical-thinking, decision-making, listening||Problem-solving, research, interpersonal||Judgement, communication, physical strength and stamina||Organizational, research, interpersonal||Detail oriented, calmness, critical-thinking||Patience, resourcefulness|
Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Judges are responsible for overseeing the legal process in the courtroom. They impartially preside over every case under their jurisdiction. Judges are typically required to have a bachelor's degree, a Juris Doctorate and relevant work experience. Trial judges preside over initial criminal or civil actions that establish the facts of a case and rule accordingly. Appellate judges review trial decisions for compliance with statute, procedure and case law, or they may resolve constitutional questions on appeal.
Lawyers are articulate quick-thinkers who argue on behalf of their clients in a courtroom. Some work for large corporations, while others run their own private practice. Lawyers work in general practice or specialize in bankruptcy, employment, probate, criminal or other law. Lawyers hold a bachelor's degree as well as a law degree and may work well over 40 hours per week.
Police Officers and Detectives
Police officers help to protect everyone in society. They respond to emergency calls, investigate crime and pursue anyone breaking the law. Police officers also write reports documenting their citations and work varying hours. Some police officers hold degrees in criminology or criminal justice, while others have no formal education.
Paralegals, Legal Assistants and Law Clerks
Paralegals help lawyers build cases by performing research, sorting through evidence and writing briefs. Paralegals usually have an associate's degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor's degree and a certificate in paralegal studies.
Forensic analysts are also known as forensic scientists. They analyze evidence at a crime scene, including blood, fingerprints, photos, explosive residue and other materials. This evidence is used to build criminal cases. Forensic analysts present their findings through written analysis, reports or testimony in a courtroom. Forensic scientists hold a bachelor's degree in a scientific field.
Private Investigators and Detectives
Private investigators and detectives are independent contractors who help individuals, businesses and lawyers locate and analyze information and evidence. Most private investigators offer a variety of services, such as protecting executives or celebrities, investigating computer crimes or assisting with missing person cases. Private investigators' work is very dangerous, and the work hours are odd and irregular. Most private investigators have work experience in law enforcement, the military or government intelligence, and they are required to be licensed by their state.