Attorney Career Profile
Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
Anne E. WinansTell us about your work---what do you do? I am an attorney for a municipal water supplier. I represent the water department in acquiring rights to water, defending our current water rights, compliance with environmental laws, and reviewing and enforcing contracts . What skills are needed? To be a good attorney, one needs to have very good research , writing , and analytical skills. Good communication , time management , and dedication are other skills that are also helpful in making the job easier and more fulfilling, and they particularly help to maintain a professional attorney/client relationship. What was your major? I majored in Environmental Science and minored in Biology How did you get started in your career? I got started in my career by, first, going to law school. Throughout law school I took classes that were relevant to my interests in environmental and water law. I also got experience through jobs and internships where I worked with various firms, agencies, and organizations in these areas of law. What experience do you need in this job? To be a lawyer you need a law school degree ( J.D .) and a license to practice in the state(s) where you wish to work. It helps to have experience from internships and other jobs related to the field of law in which you will practice, but these experiences are not necessary to actually become an attorney. Describe your "typical" workday: A typical day usually involves meeting with other divisions in the water department (usually engineers); discussions with other attorneys to resolve matters, plan strategy, or get updates on current projects; reviewing contracts; researching/reading laws and court cases; and communications with a client to explain, ask questions, or update each other. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Prioritizing urgent matters and finding enough time in a day when there are multiple jobs on my desk that need attention is one of the hardest things I have experienced in this job. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Being able to work on projects that not only spark my interest but that also feel like "the right thing to do" makes this job rewarding. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? The biggest step to take to become a lawyer is the commitment and dedication required of a law student. After school, this profession can be looked at as being a professional student even still. A lawyer has to be learning all the time, reading all the time, and writing and communicating a lot of the time. For someone who is considering this profession, it is important to enjoy these things since they make up a large part of every workday. While a lawyer will be in court some of the time, a majority of the work is performed at the desk. It really helps to work with someone in the legal field to help you decide if you want to be a lawyer because you get to see and experience what the job is really like. I would suggest getting a job or internship in any capacity in a legal atmosphere (in a firm, a court, a legal section in an agency or company) either before or during law school to help make this career choice.