Career Overview

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.


Becoming a lawyer usually takes 7 years of full-time study after high school—4 years of undergraduate study, followed by 3 years of law school. Most states and jurisdictions require lawyers to complete a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Salary Expectations

Low End:
High End:
$58,220 /yr
$120,000 /yr
$208,000 /yr

Recommended Courses

  • Journalism
  • Psychology
  • Business
  • English - as much as possible!
  • Political Science
  • Public Speaking
  • Take as many college-prep courses as possible!
  • Finance
  • History
  • Government
Work Environment

The majority of lawyers work in private and corporate legal offices. Some work for federal, local, and state governments. Most work full time, and many work more than 40 hours a week.

Future Outlook

Employment of lawyers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs over the next 10 years is expected to be strong because more students graduate from law school each year than there are jobs available.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook
Explore Careers, Labour Market Information, Government of Canada