Thanks to legal battles being played out on our TV and movie screens for years, everyone has their own idea of what layers do. But how truthful is this? The job role is immensely diverse with no two days the same, with lawyers spending time providing advice to clients, settling disputes and sometimes going to court. They are your go-to personnel for all legal advice and underpin one of the most important components of any country’s infrastructure: the judicial system. In trials and other legal activities, evidence is collected to provide weight to a particular side of an argument. This process is all about detective work and can involve interviewing witnesses, investigating facts and figures, and gathering other research. Legal terminology differs around the world and you may have heard a number of different positions and names associated with the role. Some of these include solicitor, attorney, advisor, counsellor, associate, and barrister. Do not worry about this variability, overall these all fall under the umbrella of the job role!
The law is wide-ranging and covers a huge number of areas. It is common to specialise in one of these as a deep understanding is required to work properly. Some of the main areas are corporate law, employment law, civil law, and criminal law. Frequently portrayed on TV and film are the roles of prosecution and defence in the criminal law world. The importance of international law is also on the rise as globalisation leads to an increasingly interconnected worldwide marketplace. The state is always a large employer in the legal area with a wide variety of government jobs frequently available for those in the profession. Jobs are not confined to working for firms or the state, with many lawyers being self employed. It is also common to set up their own practices after a number of years of experience, allowing them both to own their own company and be their own boss!
The law is an incredibly career-orientated discipline and involves a number of varying roles and stages. The path of progression is not always clear cut and different routes can be taken. Those without specific legal qualifications usually take up positions such as paralegal and provide assistance to lawyers. With the necessary legal qualifications, it is normal to start out as an associate in a law firm and work your way up from there. At some point, experienced lawyers need to make the decision of whether they would like to pursue a career as a judge. This may involve additional assessment and is only possible with a lot of experience in the legal field. The law rests for no one and frequently demands long hours of those working in the area. They are extremely well rewarded for this commitment with excellent salaries.
What are the responsibilities of a lawyer?
With extreme diversity in the job role, the tasks involve vary significantly but it is common to perform a number of core tasks:
Prepare legal documentation and paper work such as contracts
Negotiate with other lawyers and various other entities – this is especially important as not all disputes end up in court
Research and collect evidence
Attend court hearings
Work on lawsuits
What skills and qualifications do you need to be a lawyer?
To work in the position, extensive study and qualification is required. The exact nature of this qualification varies between countries but it is common to require a law degree in addition to supplementary legal training by the judicial body of Sri Lanka. The study process is competitive to enter and hard work to undertake so it is not for the faint hearted. Experience and achievement are also crucial in the field, with employers looking for candidates with a history of success in practicing law.
Personal skills are also very important for lawyer jobs. As there are long hours – those working in law require an excellent work ethic with the capacity to work lengthy hours. There is always new legal content to learn, case history to be aware of, meaning a passion for the law is desirable. Exceptional attention to detail is essential as much of the work involves combing over large quantities of information to find inconsistencies and irregularities that can be used to win a case. Strong interpersonal and presentation skills are important in dealing with clients and interviewing witnesses. Perhaps most necessary of all will have good debating and negotiation skills. Even the most thoroughly prepared lawyer is unlikely to win cases if they cannot argue the side of their client well. This also requires a cool head and an ability to think fast under immense pressure. Outstanding literacy skills are important in producing legal documentation.
Lawyer vacancies are highly competitive and the subsequent careers are extremely challenging, however the legal profession can be extremely rewarding. Everjobs brings you the top law firms and employers in Sri Lanka, so start applying today!