Lawyers and Judges

Lawyers, or attorneys, serve in our legal system two ways: as advocates and as advisers. As advocates, they represent the rights of their clients in trials and depositions or in front of administrative and government bodies. As advisers, attorneys counsel clients on how the law affects business or personal decisions, such as the purchase of property or the creation of a will. Lawyers represent individuals, businesses, and corporations. Approximately 592,670 lawyers work in the United States today, in various areas of the profession.

Judges are elected or appointed officials who preside over federal, state, county, and municipal courts. They apply the law to citizens and businesses and oversee court proceedings according to the established law. Judges also give new rulings on issues not previously decided. Approximately 47,900 judges work in all levels of the judiciary arm of the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Attorneys
Duties Provide legal advice to clients and represent them before judicial bodies (lawyers); preside over federal, state, county, or municipal courts (judges)
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but are best in large, urban areas
Minimum Education Level
  • Master's Degree
  • Doctorate
  • Law Degree
School Subjects
  • English
  • Government
  • Speech
Experience Internship or clerkship
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Problem-Solving
  • Realistic
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Public Speaking
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Judge, or Professor, or Law Firm Owner
  • Senior Partner
  • Junior Partner
  • Law Clerk

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