Law Career Options
The law profession encompasses a variety of positions, from lawyer and judge to police and corrections officers to court reporters. Law careers are among the most fulfilling, but require extensive law school training. Let's look at some of the personality traits needed for each law profession that you should consider before visiting top law schools.
An attorney, whether working as a prosecutor or a defense lawyer, must be detail-oriented, have a calm demeanor, able to absorb a large quantity of facts, good at analyzing and thinking logically. They must also have excellent reading, writing and communication skills, including talking and listening. Attorneys need strong speaking skills since winning cases often depends on their speeches to the jury. They also must have good observation skills. Something that another person might miss could mean the difference in an attorney's case. Good memorization skills are crucial, as a lawyer must not only know the law, but be able to bring up whatever facts and cases are needed to present his case. The job often requires long hours of work, so the person must have stamina and great concentration abilities and be self-motivated.
Law careers often culminate in a position as a judge. Many of the abilities needed by a judge are similar to those of the attorney. A good judge will also have a clear sense of justice and excellent knowledge of the law. A judge often needs to be a negotiator, as well as able to pass out tough judgments as required. A strong, firm manner is needed when passing sentence. Good writing and communication skills are necessary, as is the ability to stay calm in tense situations. A judge's reputation must be above reproach.
Successful law careers can also be found in law enforcement. One of the most critical characteristics of a police officer is outstanding observation skills. These skills help him/her to solve crimes and protect himself/herself and others. A police officer must work well with people, even when the person is having their worst day and worst behavior. They should communicate well, have good writing skills, be analytical and detail-oriented, and be able to be calm in stressful circumstances. Police officers must exhibit the highest in honesty and a sense of responsibility. A strong sense of service and protection of people and property is important in police officers. Being able to read a person's intentions and motivations protect the lives of police officers and others. They must also be in excellent physical condition and have a spotless reputation. The job can be dangerous, so the person must be able to handle the stress and have quick thinking abilities.
A corrections officer needs many of the same characteristics as a police officer. However, he/she also must be patient, a good communicator, and have a sense of responsibility. Interpersonal skills are high in the makeup of a good corrections officer. The corrections officer must be able to be calm, but firm even in tense situations. Good negotiating skills are critical to dealing with inmates. A corrections officer must have a good record because many positions require a background check. Good physical health is required.
Private detectives possess many of the traits of police officers. But they must have very high self-motivation and analytical and investigative skills, and know the law. They should be persistent, communicate well, but not be afraid of confrontation. Some other good skills are being meticulous about details, a good record keeper and report writer, good interviewer, and quick to think on their feet. A private detective must know good business skills, such as marketing, to keep in business. Being a private detective requires irregular hours and often long hours at the computer or investigating, so they must have stamina.
The law careers of paralegals are an important part of our legal system. A paralegal must have excellent knowledge of the law, be detail-oriented, good at research and investigating. They should have good computer skills, outstanding communication skills, both with clients and others in the law firm, and be ethical. Having strong concentration abilities and the skill to pick out the important facts from many is crucial. Paralegals work under the supervision of lawyers and often with other paralegals, so they must have good teamwork skills. Interviewing may be required, so they need to know how to conduct an effective one. They also must have good organizational skills and be a good multi-tasker.
Court reporters must first of all be accurate and fast typists. They need exceptional listening skills and good hearing. The job requires good grammar, spelling and vocabulary, and must be done under tight time constraints. The court reporter must be able to be calm under pressure and to react well with other people. Good time management and organizational skills are necessary.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013