Family Lawyer: Career Information for Becoming a Family Law Professional
Education to become a Family Law Professional typically will require a minimum of seven years, made up of a bachelor's degree and a legal degree. Lawyers of all types must also pass the state bar exam before being allowed to practice law in that state. The length of time needed to build a successful practice depends upon the Family Lawyer's skills.
Family Lawyer Career Definition
Family lawyers help manage legal problems between persons with familial relationships. These issues can include paternity, guardianship, juvenile delinquency, emancipation, custody, child support, adoption, and divorce. Family lawyers work in offices, courts, and educational settings. They may file legal documents, participate in mediation sessions, and offer advice to clients.
Becoming a Family Lawyer
Required Education for a Family Law Career
A family law professional is required to earn a 4-year undergraduate degree and then complete a juris doctor degree. Most states require that the J.D. be completed at a law school approved by the American Bar Association. Some law schools offer concentrations in family law and some have family law clinics where students can gain experience working on cases under the supervision of a law professor.
After completing the required education, future family lawyers must successfully pass the bar exam in the states in which they plan to practice law. Some states require certification in a specialty field, such as family law. Additionally, all lawyers must complete continuing legal education credits on a regular basis to maintain their legal license.
A person who begins a family law career should be skilled in oral discussion, negotiation and effective debate and persuasion. The family lawyer should be observant and able to interact well with other people, even in highly stressful and emotional situations. Family lawyers also need good time management and organizational skills in order to manage multiple cases at a time.
Career and Economic Outlook
Annual salaries for family law professionals are affected by their location and type of practice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that lawyers who are partners in a large firm tend to make more than those who are self-employed. The median salary for of all lawyers in May 2012 was $113,530, according to the BLS. The jobs for lawyers are expected to grow by 10% from 2010 through 2020 (www.bls.gov).
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