by Contributor

(Oct. 11, 2021) — A law career is one of the most popular career aspirations, and it’s not difficult to see why. It is well respected, earns a lucrative salary, and shows great intelligence. That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, though. While you might want to pursue a career in law for the salary or the respect, you first need to know for sure whether it is right for you. After all, you don’t want to waste seven years and tens of thousands of dollars on education for a career that doesn’t work out. So, how do you figure out if you were meant to be a lawyer? First, ask yourself these questions. The answers will determine whether or not applying for a law degree is a sensible choice.

What Sort of Education Do You Have?

Becoming a lawyer is not exactly simple. There are multiple steps to take, with most lawyers holding a doctorate or professional degree. You must start with an undergraduate degree, which takes around four years, and then progress to doing three years in law school. The law school admissions aren’t easy, either—you will need excellent grades and great recommendations from teachers and professors. Even once you have completed law school, you will then need to pass the bar examination and the ethics examination before you can make a career out of law.

There are alternatives, however. A Juris Doctor degree will put you on course for several excellent Juris Doctor jobs. These include a judge, solicitor, and barista. It’s a great way for people with little or no background in law to get started in law education.

What is Your Ideal Salary?

When choosing a career, the salary should of course influence your decision, especially if you have high financial expectations. Fortunately, a career in law often allows for a lucrative salary; and while a high salary should not be the only reason you pursue a law degree, if you are money motivated, a career in law will not disappoint—as long as you are motivated and tick all the other boxes!

Are You OK with Working Long Hours?

You should know by now that any type of law career is challenging, but have you considered just how much of your time it will take up? You might expect law school to be time-consuming and often grueling, but the job itself is also that way. Often, you will have to work more than the typical nine until five routine that takes place in offices. After all, you will be working with a variety of clients who are relying on you. Before jumping into your law school application, be sure you are willing to give your time to this career.

What Are Your Reasons for Wanting to Be a Lawyer?

Possibly the most important question you can ask yourself before becoming a lawyer is why you actually want to be one in the first place. People’s answers vary, often including wanting to earn a lot of money and having a desire to help people. If your only reason for wanting to be a lawyer is that the salary looks appealing, then you should probably consider other options. While, yes, being a lawyer comes with lucrative pay, there’s a reason for that—it is a lot of work, and it requires high intelligence. If your answer leans more toward a genuine passion for law and people, however, then you might be the right person for the role.

Do You Know What Kind of Lawyer You Want to Be?

Another question to consider is: what kind of lawyer do you want to be? There isn’t one single path when it comes to legal work, and while you can figure it out along the way, it’s ideal to at least have some sort of focus. Some niche lawyer careers to consider include:

Criminal Lawyer

A criminal lawyer works with those accused of committing a crime. It is quite a sensitive role, as you will often work with guilty people, but you will work with those who are innocent, too.

Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury lawyers work with clients who have experienced an injury, increasing their chances of winning the claim. It’s a role with extensive amounts of work but there’s often a good payoff.

Family Lawyer

As a family lawyer, you would deal with various family-oriented legal situations, such as divorce, child custody, and domestic violence. For this reason, a career in this area requires a compassionate and attentive individual.

General Practice Lawyer

General practice lawyers work with a wide range of cases. It is perfect for an aspiring lawyer who wants to work with various people, but be mindful that it requires a wide range of knowledge.

Do You Have the Required Personality Traits?

If you have answered these questions and believe that becoming a lawyer is a good choice, there is still more to consider. There are certain traits, for example, that make for far better lawyers. If you want to know if a career in law is right for you, make sure the following traits describe you:


Intelligence is a must for lawyers as they need to grasp new information quickly; not to mention the education requirements! Without a clever mind, the chances are you won’t get very far. Not sure if your intelligence matches up? Think about your high school grades—the average lawyer has straight As in most subjects.

Of course, there are some methods for improving your intelligence, including surrounding yourself with clever people and reading the right books. It’s better to have a natural flair for learning before becoming a lawyer, though. Otherwise, you will find yourself falling behind other students and struggling to get your first lawyer role. It might be hard to admit to yourself that you can’t do it, but it is better to be realistic than waste time on a career that’s not fitted for you.

Excellent Communication Skills

Lawyers must be great communicators due to how much they have to communicate throughout the day. Not only must they converse with their clients to extract as much information as possible, but they must also speak to their colleagues each day. It is a job that’s all about talking.

On top of that, if you wish to become a lawyer, you must also be able to communicate effectively on paper. During your law education, you’ll need to prove both your written and verbal communication skills, so make sure they are top-notch before applying.

A Thick Skin

Depending on your specific law degree, you may have to deal with unfriendly clients from time to time, which requires thick skin. A person who is too sensitive to comments won’t make a good lawyer. A thick skin will get you through law school, your early days as a lawyer, and each difficult client and colleague until the day you retire.


When you think about creative roles, the chances are you don’t automatically think about legal careers. Interestingly, though, law does require a great deal of creativity. While you will be following the book, in many cases you will have to come up with creative solutions to achieve the best outcome.


A lawyer without confidence won’t get very far. In fact, they likely won’t make it through law school. You need it to convince your clients that you’re the best lawyer for them, to convince the judge about your client’s case, and to convince yourself that you can push through even the toughest of cases.

Luckily, confidence can be built upon. Whether you struggle with public speaking or believing in your ability, there are classes, therapies, books, and more you can use to build your confidence. If you tick all the other boxes for being a good lawyer but it’s the confidence that you are missing, it is an area that you can definitely work on.

Genuine Compassion

When envisioning lawyers, many people think of people who are tough as nails without a shred of emotion. The truth is, to be a good lawyer, you must have reels of compassion alongside a thick skin. This is because you must compassionately understand your client. To give them the best advice and come up with a great case, you must be able to understand their point of view and sympathize with it. Plus, clients can often tell when their lawyer genuinely cares, and they are more likely to open up to the ones who do.


A lawyer without organization skills is not a lawyer worth hiring. Imagine hiring someone at one of the toughest parts of your life, only to have them not show up to meetings or forget where they put your notes—you would fire them the first chance you got. With your clients and colleagues relying on you, great organization skills are a must. Not to mention that you’ll need them to get through law school, anyway!

If organization isn’t your strongest trait, there are ways to improve this skill. Writing to-do lists, downloading organization apps, and improving your sleep schedule are all ways to become more organized. Just be sure you have this skill nailed by the time you enter law school. Otherwise, you will fall behind very quickly.

Work Well Under Pressure

Pressure is part and parcel of being a lawyer. It is not enough to handle pressure, though—you must also be able to put in your best work no matter how much pressure is on you. Whether you are losing a case, a deadline is looming, or new information overturns all the facts you’ve been given so far, you must be able to go forward in a calm and collected manner. When there is so much at stake, there is no other option!

A Thirst for Knowledge

Lawyers know a lot. They know about the law, about how people work, and about the best way to convince people of their ideas. Lawyers never stop learning, either. If you think that becoming a lawyer only requires learning during law school, you need to re-evaluate what being a lawyer entails. If you wish to see it through, you must be someone who has a genuine thirst for knowledge and takes new information on board quickly. If you love reading and speaking about new ideas, then it’s a sign that law is a good path for you.


No two days as a lawyer are ever the same, and some will be an incredible challenge. Part of being a good lawyer is being able to persevere through these days. It won’t always be easy—law school prepares you for that—but perseverance is required in order to reach the best outcomes. You must also remember that even if it feels as if your case is losing, you never know what is around the corner, so keep fighting, for your client, for your reputation, and for your career.

A True Appreciation for the Law

The last and most important point you need to establish is just how passionate you are about the subject of law itself. Unfortunately, many people go into law because of their intelligence or desire to make a lot of money without thinking about whether they are invested in law. Do you have a passion for the justice system? Do you truly believe that everyone should be given a fair trial? To succeed as a lawyer, you need more than just natural intelligence—you need true passion. If you have an appreciation for the law and you tick all the other traits listed here, you will surely make a great lawyer.

If you want a career where you always know what to expect, law is not for you. It is a role that you can never predict, and it requires consistent hard work, learning, and perseverance, and you shouldn’t decide to become one overnight. If you tick off a lot of these traits, though, and you have a genuine passion for the law, then you could make an excellent lawyer.

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  1. There are about 1,352,027 lawyers in America.
    When I hear lawyers mentioned I think about lawyer jokes, so I searched to find out just how many lawyer jokes there are:
    This is what my search returned:
    Only three. The rest are true stories. :-)