Advertiser disclosure

Top Reasons to Become a Lawyer

Have you been wondering, “Should I become a lawyer?” The process to become a lawyer is long, difficult, and oftentimes expensive, but for many, the benefits are worthwhile. We’ve compiled a list of reasons to become a lawyer to motivate you to send in that law school application. Read on for all of the top reasons to become a lawyer. These include financial incentives, versatility, and prestige.

Earning potential

Lawyers have a very impressive earning potential, which is a great reason to earn your J.D. The 2020 median pay for lawyers was $126,930 per year, or $61.03 per hour. Of course, this can vary greatly with the type of law you decide to enter. Typically, public defenders will make far less than corporate litigators. 

If you are looking to maximize your earning potential as a lawyer, there are a few things to consider. Typically, lawyers in major cities tend to earn more. They also tend to earn more if they work for a large law firm. And they are more likely to earn more if they work as industry lawyers. Professions such as public defender or environmental lawyer may be very fulfilling, but probably won’t earn as high a paycheck. If you decide to become a lawyer, it will be up to you to strike the balance between pay and job satisfaction.

Also see: How to get into law school with a low GPA

Versatility of a law degree

Law degrees can be very versatile, and you can easily transition in and out of your career as a lawyer. Here are some options for careers with a law degree, both in the lawyer profession and out of it.

Different types of lawyers

If you are looking to become a lawyer, the first step post-graduate will be to attend law school. This is a huge commitment, and can be expensive and mentally exhausting. But you should feel assured that the degree you’re working towards will be hugely versatile for you. Having a J.D. opens up a great number of doors for your future career.

There are many different career fields that fall under the category of lawyer. You can be a corporate lawyer, a public defender, or a prosecutor. You can work as a trial lawyer or focus more on building cases and doing research. You can choose to represent the public and work as an environmental lawyer. You could even enter the entertainment industry as an entertainment lawyer. There are lawyers in pretty much every industry, so you will be able to choose what industry to work in.

Related: Top summer law programs for high school students

Different types of careers

If you earn your J.D. but decide that lawyer is not the profession for you, you have options. Having a J.D. opens up many other career paths. You could work towards becoming a judge, a legal consultant, or a professor. If you are interested in politics, your J.D. can be a huge benefit. This could take the form of running for office yourself, or working for an elected official. You could also look into becoming a Certified Public Accountant, an insurance adjuster, or working in human resources. 

Remember, the work you put in to earn your J.D. will be recognized by employers down the line. As it is a famously difficult degree to obtain, they will know that you have a strong work ethic. That means that you’ll have a strong advantage when applying for any job. Even if the job is not directly related to working with the law, your J.D. will be a plus.

Related: Everything you need to know about a doctorate degree

Chances to make a positive change

Once you earn your J.D, you have a great opportunity to make the world a better place. Ultimately, you get to choose who you represent as a lawyer. If you believe strongly in criminal justice reform, becoming a public defender is a great option. If you are passionate about the environment, you can become an environmental lawyer. You could even save someone from life in prison for a crime they didn’t commit, or reframe the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. The possibilities are endless!

Related: How much does law school cost?

Comfortable work environment

As far as white-collar jobs go, lawyers typically have some of the nicest office spaces. Usually, lawyers will have their own office, and oftentimes they have assistants or secretaries. As a lawyer, you’ll have a lot on your plate. Your coworkers will work with you to help make everything as well-oiled as possible.

Also see: Grad school financing options

Global influence

Lawyer’s influence extends far beyond an individual level. As a lawyer, you will be part of a cohort of people who make extremely important decisions for the world. Depending on your chosen career path, you may rub shoulders with important diplomats, lawmakers, and judges. If you have a desire to make a large-scale impact in the world, being a lawyer is a great way to do it. 

Intellectual stimulation

Are you someone who is satisfied when they win an argument? Do you feel on top of the world after reading through books for hours to find an answer, and finally finding it? Being a lawyer might be perfect for you. Working in law is a deeply immersive experience, and many lawyers derive great satisfaction from putting a case together. Finding small caveats in obscure laws, and changing your interpretation of different codes can be a thrill. 

If you become a trial lawyer, that experience can also be very intellectually stimulating. There’s a reason that so many people tune into courtroom TV shows. The courtroom is an exciting place that is often home to enticing drama. Think of how entertaining people find watching a court case on TV. Now imagine that you are the one giving the speeches, and have spent months working with your team to perfect your argument. It comes as no surprise that lawyers get a rush from this experience.

Related: Everything you need to know about graduate assistantships

Agency in your career

Most lawyers have the option to work on their own terms, to some extent. Many lawyers get to decide their own hours, choose their clients, and decide their rates. So, a lawyer who is passionate about a case can take time off their other projects to take it up. They can set lower rates for clients they are passionate about. And if a lawyer needs to take more time for themself, they can ease up on accepting new clients for the time being.

Of course, this agency is not true for every lawyer out there. Depending on your chosen career path, and the size of your firm, this may or may not be true. Lawyers also typically earn more agency the further they progress in their career. Especially at a larger law firm, you will typically spend your first few years working under a more experienced lawyer. During this time, you will have less say in what projects to take on. But once you gain your experience, you’ll be a shot-caller in no time.

Also read: How much student loan debt is too much?

So, should you become a lawyer?

Becoming a lawyer is a substantial commitment to make. Law school takes a lot of effort, time, and money. But for many people, being a lawyer is an ideal profession. You can work on projects you’re passionate about, make good money, and create change in the world. Additionally, if you decide that you are not cut out to be a lawyer, your law degree can help you find another career. Good luck making your choice!

Also see: Top law school scholarships