Sharks are sharks alike… or are they? If there is one word that seems to be quite universal in terms of referring to certain lawyers, “sharks” is definitely the best bet. Often, lawyers are portrayed as relentless predators on the trail of blood. However, with the various duties and specialties of law practitioners, the term “sharks” may be quite unfair. After all, very few publicly notorious lawyers actually deserve such an appellation. Most of those who graduated from and practice law lead somewhat less than dramatic lives.
What is a lawyer?
A lawyer is any person who has graduated from law school and is practicing law as a profession. A lawyer’s primary duties include advising clients of legal matter; acting on behalf of the clients’ interest; and representing clients in a court of law. Lawyers are also called attorneys, counsels, and legal counselors. In some countries, lawyers are known as legal advocates or legal defenders.
In the US, lawyers are sometimes defined by their respective specializations – very much like medical practitioners. Not all lawyers are confined within the halls of the courtroom, by the way. In fact, very few lawyers actually get to make their dramatic stands in front of a judge, a jury and a willing audience. And there is also divisions and subdivision as to the role and responsibilities of lawyers in regards to country, state and even county where lawyers practice.
However, for purposes of discussion, we will tackle the responsibilities of US bound lawyers in civil or common law and a few of the more prominent law specializations.
Common or civil lawyers may start off with private practices, usually representing one or more clients: from single individuals to large conglomerates. Fresh law graduates should perform exceedingly well in order to be invited (incorporated) into a private law firm, or they can start one of their own. Eventually, a number of lawyers leave their private practices and become administrative law judges; arbitrators; corporate in-house counsels; government counsels (some of these lawyers are subsequently provided by the state to offer free legal advice or representation to those who cannot afford to pay standard rates); judges; prosecutors; and politicians. A few make their way back to law school and become full time professors.
Not all those who have finished law eventually practice law. Some of these people find themselves entertaining non-legal jobs such as: corporate executives, investment bankers, journalists, and even entrepreneurs.
Specialization is the US is defined by the county and state where the lawyers are taking up their practice. Different counties and states have different legal boundaries, regulations and responsibilities; therefore, there may be areas of legal specialization that may exist in one county and no where else in the entire US.