If you watch television shows and movies, you likely think that the life of a lawyer is filled with suspense, intrigue, and an array of last-minute surprises inside a courtroom that ultimately convince a jury to find a lawyer’s client not guilty. While stuff like this may happen from time to time in real-life, the fact is the daily work life of a typical attorney is far removed from what is portrayed on television and the silver screen. In fact, some surveys have reported that almost 70% of practicing attorneys seriously consider a career change somewhere along the way. To help you have a clear idea of what it’s like working as an attorney, here are four common misconceptions you’re likely to encounter.
All Lawyers Get Rich
While there are plenty of lawyers who make an excellent living representing their clients, you are not guaranteed to amass a fortune once you begin practicing law. In fact, only about one percent of all attorneys become millionaires practicing law. As for the rest, they work for small firms, open solo practices, or work as public defenders or for other government agencies.
You Have to be Good at Arguing
When many people think of lawyers, they often assume they are good at arguing in court, and that this is what helps them win cases. However, that’s not true. In reality, litigation is more about persuasion and less about having heated verbal battles. To win a case, a lawyer has to present an argument that is logical, well-researched, and reasonable based on the facts of the case and the law that applies to the case.
You’re Always in a Courtroom
While on television it may seem as if attorneys are always arguing a case inside a courtroom, it is a far different story in the real world. Actually, it is somewhat rare for an attorney to actually find their way into a courtroom. Whether it is a criminal case or a civil case, statistics show that only about two percent of all cases actually make it to trial. More than likely, the case will be settled out of court either through a plea deal, mediation, or other means.
Your Intellect Will Always be Challenged
Though you were always being challenged in law school to come up with new and innovative arguments to prove your strategy was sound for winning a case, that may not be the case once you graduate and start working for a law firm. Whether it is a large megafirm or one that is significantly smaller, don’t assume your mind will be challenged throughout your workday. In reality, you may find much of your day to be somewhat boring and tedious. Depending on the firm and the types of cases it handles, you may find yourself spending the majority of your day reviewing documents, checking citations, and conducting various types of research.
While you may get a bit bored now and then as an attorney, it is important to note that you are still making a major difference in the lives of others. Whether you are helping a criminal defendant prove their innocence, an accident victim get compensation to pay medical bills and replace lost wages, or numerous other situations, you’ll realize it is still your passion to be an attorney.