Generally, an attorney's responsibility is to advise the client with an ongoing lawsuit on the legal procedures and provide strategies to resolve the case as early as possible. An attorney compiles necessary documents or any records for appeal and client's defense. Attorneys must acquire strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to mediate disputes and settle pending litigation for the client's best interest. In some cases, an attorney's procedure depends on any evidence and research presented during the trial period. An attorney is expected to present clients on legal proceedings, seeking justice and justifying the law.

Attorney Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real attorney resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Handle all legal matters, documentation and litigation relate to property foreclosure and bankruptcy.
  • Create and give a presentation regarding non- attorney ethics to division staff.
  • Comply with all agency policies and procedures, including those pertaining to ethics and integrity
  • Prepare custody evaluations in domestic and juvenile cases.
  • Counsele clients regarding family law concerns, including custody and property division.
  • Respond to subpoenas and pleadings in litigation and in regulatory inquiries and investigations involving corporate clients.
  • Conduct depositions in relation to investigatory subpoenas, interview witnesses, and investigate unfair labor practices.
  • Prosecute foreclosure lawsuits by filing complaints and preparing amend complaints, pleadings, motions and supporting affidavits.
  • Analyze company data storage procedures to ensure compliance with HIPAA and federal and international data privacy protection regulations.
  • Analyze federal and state statutory law and case law relate to mortgage foreclosure, and institutional lender contractual requirements.
Attorney Traits
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.
Interpersonal skills involves being able to communicate efficiently with multiple people regarding your thoughts, ideas and feedback.
Problem-solving skills is the way that one is able to effectively solve a problem in a timely manner.

Attorney Job Description

When it comes to understanding what an attorney does, you may be wondering, "should I become an attorney?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, attorneys have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 6% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of attorney opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 50,100.

An attorney annual salary averages $108,074, which breaks down to $51.96 an hour. However, attorneys can earn anywhere from upwards of $59,000 to $197,000 a year. This means that the top-earning attorneys make $138,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become an attorney. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a law clerk, lawyer, housing counselor, and legal consultant.

Attorney Jobs You Might Like

Attorney Resume Examples

Attorney Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 30% of Attorneys are proficient in Legal Advice, Law Firm, and Legal Documents. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Interpersonal skills, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Attorneys that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Legal Advice, 30%

    Counseled clients on legal issues including government regulations, contract administration and enforcement, and their day-to-day operations.

  • Law Firm, 11%

    Solo practitioner law firm primarily offering commercial and residential real estate related legal services - Responsible for all aspects of firm operation

  • Legal Documents, 5%

    Structured, negotiated, drafted and executed transportation agreements, confidentiality agreements, non-disclosure agreements and other miscellaneous legal documents.

  • Civil Litigation, 4%

    Work on several e-discovery projects for large-scale civil litigation in various areas of law including pharmaceutical, medical device and anti-trust regulations

  • Criminal Cases, 3%

    Researched case law on immigration consequences of criminal cases, juvenile immigration matters and removal proceedings.

  • Document Review, 3%

    Managed global litigation, discovery and document review, and contract management, administration, and negotiating and preparation of contracts.

Some of the skills we found on attorney resumes included "legal advice," "law firm," and "legal documents." We have detailed the most important attorney responsibilities below.

  • The most important skills for an attorney to have in this position are analytical skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a attorney resume, you'll understand why: "lawyers help their clients resolve problems and issues" According to resumes we found, analytical skills can be used by a attorney in order to "reviewed, analyzed, and audited over 5000 invoices submitted by defense counsel for compliance w/guidelines. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling attorney duties is interpersonal skills. According to a attorney resume, "lawyers must win the respect and confidence of their clients by building a trusting relationship so that clients feel comfortable enough to share personal information related to their case." Here's an example of how attorneys are able to utilize interpersonal skills: "demonstrated effective interpersonal skills through working closely with office of general counsel and administrative appeals judges. "
  • Attorneys are also known for problem-solving skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a attorney resume: "lawyers must separate their emotions and prejudice from their clients’ problems and objectively evaluate the relevant applicable information" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "supervised and responsible for active client files from complaint to resolution. "
  • A thorough review of lots of resumes revealed to us that "research skills" is important to completing attorney responsibilities. This resume example shows just one way attorneys use this skill: "lawyers need to be able to find those laws and regulations which apply to a specific matter, in order to provide the appropriate legal advice for their clients." Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical attorney tasks: "organize and review client files and conduct legal research. "
  • Yet another important skill that an attorney must demonstrate is "speaking skills." Lawyers must be able to clearly present and explain their case to arbitrators, mediators, opposing parties, judges, or juries, because they are speaking on behalf of their clients. This is clearly demonstrated in this example from an attorney who stated: "trained as a cja appointed defense counsel and represented criminal defendants in federal court. "
  • While "writing skills" is listed last on this skills list, don't underestimate its importance to attorney responsibilities. The skill is described by this resume snippet, "lawyers need to be precise and specific when preparing documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney." Here is an example of how this skill is used, "drafted appellate briefs, motions and other writings submitted to state and federal courts. "
  • See the full list of attorney skills.

    Before becoming an attorney, 39.6% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 5.4% attorneys went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be impossible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most attorneys have a college degree. But about one out of every nine attorneys didn't attend college at all.

    Those attorneys who do attend college, typically earn either a law degree or a political science degree. Less commonly earned degrees for attorneys include a business degree or a legal research and advanced professional studies degree.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become an attorney. We've found that most attorney resumes include experience from Robert Half International, Deloitte, and State of Florida. Of recent, Robert Half International had 123 positions open for attorneys. Meanwhile, there are 25 job openings at Deloitte and 18 at State of Florida.

    If you're interested in companies where attorneys make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at The Dewey, Kirby, and Goodwin Procter. We found that at The Dewey, the average attorney salary is $341,829. Whereas at Kirby, attorneys earn roughly $250,053. And at Goodwin Procter, they make an average salary of $229,944.

    View more details on attorney salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire attorneys from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include Private Practice, LAW Offices, and Legal Aid Society.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious attorneys are:

      What Law Clerks Do

      Law clerks are employees in a legal firm who handle clerical tasks for the office. They handle the office's official phone lines, answering incoming calls, and making outgoing calls. They also field office correspondence, often receiving incoming mail and distributing them to their addressees. They manage office documents and ensure that they are correctly filed and labeled in their respective storage bins. Law clerks help make office life more comfortable because they make sure that the office is running well. They also manage appointments and office calendars.

      In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take law clerk for example. On average, the law clerks annual salary is $46,356 lower than what attorneys make on average every year.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between attorneys and law clerks are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like legal advice, law firm, and legal documents.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. An attorney responsibility is more likely to require skills like "trial preparation," "family law matters," "due diligence," and "practice areas." Whereas a law clerk requires skills like "discovery responses," "legal memos," "counsel," and "client intake." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      Law clerks tend to reach similar levels of education than attorneys. In fact, law clerks are 4.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 6.6% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Lawyer?

      A lawyer is a legal practitioner who specializes in understanding and interpreting laws and other legal matters. Their responsibilities revolve around providing legal counseling and advice, representing clients in different kinds of court proceedings, conducting research, collecting evidence, and coordinating with various experts. A lawyer must also manage and oversee the performance of assistants, paralegals, and other team members. Furthermore, there are instances when a lawyer must draft or manage documents such as contracts, trusts, deeds, and wills, assisting clients as needed.

      Next up, we have the lawyer profession to look over. This career brings along a higher average salary when compared to an attorney annual salary. In fact, lawyers salary difference is $8,126 higher than the salary of attorneys per year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Attorneys and lawyers both include similar skills like "legal advice," "law firm," and "legal documents" on their resumes.

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that attorney responsibilities requires skills like "document review," "family law matters," "defense counsel," and "settlement agreements." But a lawyer might use skills, such as, "counsel," "financial institutions," "contract law," and "labor law."

      When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, lawyers tend to reach higher levels of education than attorneys. In fact, they're 17.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 6.6% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent for Attorneys in the next 3-5 years?

      Ryan Brown

      Student, Pepperdine University

      As more universities and companies are conducting business virtually, it will be increasingly important to master a broad spectrum of videoconferencing services. Show more

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent for Attorneys in the next 3-5 years?

      Brendan Holt

      Mediator, Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Parenting Coordinator and Guardian Ad Litem, Holt Law

      Wow, technology changes so quickly, that looking out that far is ambiguous. But I think that ultimately, for this field, exciting technology will likely be systems that streamline the processing of large amounts of data and written communications, like contracts or email threads, for example, and help identify patterns and specific issues. The job of actually using empathy and deep listening to help people in conflict better understand and hear one another, and better communicate overlapping interests will probably remain a human skillset. But I think that technology that allows dispute resolution professionals, like mediators, to discover past communication pitfalls and patterns more quickly, will let them get to the work of fostering human communication and connection more readily. Show more

      How a Housing Counselor Compares

      A Housing Counselor works directly with clients and organizations to support moderate and low-income clients in overcoming barriers to housing and financial stability. They represent the homeowner in interventions and/or mediation proceedings with the mortgage servicer, lender, and/or other stakeholders.

      The third profession we take a look at is housing counselor. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than attorneys. In fact, they make a $21,755 lower salary per year.

      Using attorneys and housing counselors resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "legal advice," "legal documents," and "civil litigation," but the other skills required are very different.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, an attorney is likely to be skilled in "law firm," "criminal cases," "document review," and "federal courts," while a typical housing counselor is skilled in "counsel," "crisis intervention," "independent living," and "rental assistance."

      When it comes to education, housing counselors tend to earn higher education levels than attorneys. In fact, they're 7.9% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 30.5% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Legal Consultant

      A legal consultant uses legal practice knowledge to enhance a law company's efficiency and profitability. Besides advising on the right solutions for customer productivity, marketing and development strategies, legal consultants also actively manage risks by consulting on program and legal-related issues. They help the parent law firm meet its objectives by analyzing problems and developing solutions. Other than negotiating, drafting, and reviewing legal documents, legal consultants also conduct legal research and analyze the right securities, insurance, and retirement plans.

      Now, we'll look at legal consultants, who generally average a lower pay when compared to attorneys annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $35,630 per year.

      While their salaries may vary, attorneys and legal consultants both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "legal advice," "law firm," and "legal documents. "

      Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, an attorney might have more use for skills like "federal courts," "bankruptcy," "social security," and "family law matters." Meanwhile, some legal consultants might include skills like "legal department," "counsel," "financial statements," and "client relationships" on their resume.

      In general, legal consultants reach higher levels of education when compared to attorneys resumes. Legal consultants are 13.0% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 19.2% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.