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Legal Career Satisfaction

By February 10, 2008

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Disenchantment with the legal profession is pervasive among both new and seasoned attorneys. In a recent survey by the American Bar Association, 800 lawyers revealed their thoughts about life as a lawyer and the state of the profession. The survey revealed some disturbing facts:

  • Almost half of the lawyers surveyed reported dissatisfaction with their careers.
  • Only 4 in 10 lawyers said they would recommend a legal career to others.

Lawyers also agonized about long hours, rising litigation costs, a decrease in civility among lawyers and work-life balance.

Why the dismal job satisfaction report? The majority of the lawyers stated that law schools do a poor job of training young lawyers for the practice. In addition, many lawyers enter the profession for the wrong reasons, believing that a legal career is the ticket to prestige, glamour and big money.

But don’t let these numbers discourage you from considering a career in the law. Many lawyers – particularly those in the public sector– reported career satisfaction and most of those surveyed said they expect to remain in the profession.

What is the best way to determine if a career in the legal profession is right for you? Educate yourself regarding the realities of the profession. By gaining realistic expectations of what life as a lawyer is like and what employers will expect of you, you can avoid the disillusionment experienced by many in the profession.

Review these common myths regarding the practice of law before you make a decision to enter the field. Read up on the daily tasks, skills and job outlook for attorneys. Select practice areas that appeal to you and work in a practice environment that best suits your personality. By arming yourself with knowledge you can make well-informed career decisions that will enhance your job satisfaction in years to come.

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