Attorneys at Law
There is hardly a professional group about which there are so many clichés in circulation as there are lawyers. This for example: lawyer traits, these are the suit-wearers with the black briefcase who represent the rich and make a lot of money. No offense, but this myth belongs in the realm of fantasy.
In fact, the profession is one of the most varied job profiles, but in reality it is far less glamorous than the media or relevant television series would have us believe. There are some who make it into high society, but far more lawyers live a good bourgeois life.
Lawyers are committed to the law and justice from their professional paths. That’s right. But anyone who adheres to the misconception that the client always describes the true course of events to his defender is wrong. Often the opposite is the case.
Then the lawyer’s question in criminal proceedings is: “In view of the evidence, are there reasonable doubts as to whether the accused is the perpetrator? Here lawyers often have to show courage in their strategy.
In addition, many routine activities are part of the lawyer’s job profile: Checking e-mails, making telephone calls, answering mail, searching for files and processing them. In between are court appointments and client discussions.
Depending on the size of a case, lawyers bear considerable responsibility. Especially when it comes to litigation of a relevant magnitude for society, politics or business. This requires a sure instinct. Because the tactics of a lawyer are always regarded as a signboard for the moral understanding of a society.
In short, the work-life balance: one of the major disadvantages of the profession is working hours, which can take on extreme proportions, especially in large international law firms. However, the pay there is not from bad parents either. The labour market for prospective lawyers is good, but not very good. Due to the continuously large number of law students, the market has always been well saturated.
How to become a lawyer ?
The way into the profession leads in principle over a law study and is thus bound to the acquisition of the university entrance qualification. The study of law is divided into four semesters of basic studies and five semesters of advanced studies, in which prospective lawyers specialise in a particular area.
Depending on the federal state and the university, the course of studies may vary. The contents of the basic studies cover the following areas in every law course:
Possible focal points in the main studies can be:
Cultural and Canon Law
As a rule, the basic study period ends with an intermediate examination consisting of several written and oral examinations. The main study period ends with the first legal examination. It comprises a compulsory subject examination and a focus area examination. The first exam examines the contents of the undergraduate studies, while the focus area exam contains knowledge of the selected focus of the undergraduate studies.
The studies are followed by a two-year practical phase, the legal clerkship, which ends with the “second state examination”. During the legal clerkship, prospective lawyers take part in courses. At the same time, they gain practical experience in various legal fields.
The legal clerkship is divided into different stations:
Civil internship: at a district court or district court
Criminal station: at a public prosecutor’s office or a criminal court
Administrative station: An administrative court or a public authority
Legal internship: In a law firm
Lawyers can work in various fields. Many lawyers follow the call of self-employment and open a law firm alone or with partners. Others work for a smaller or larger law firm on a permanent basis. Companies also employ lawyers. As corporate lawyers, they take care of the legal concerns of a company. If you would like to work as a public prosecutor, apply to a public prosecutor’s office.
Salary: What does a lawyer earn?
Depending on your career, lawyers can be among the top earners in Germany. But that certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. Because the salary of lawyers is not to be quantified completely clearly. It varies greatly depending on whether a lawyer works in legal consulting for a company, is self-employed, or is employed in a law firm. It also plays a role whether or not a lawyer assumes personnel responsibility. And last but not least, professional experience is crucial.
Pi times thumb can be said that the starting salary of employed lawyers in a law firm amounts to approximately 3,000 euros gross monthly. With a large law office however between 6,000 to 10,000 euro can flow gross monthly on the account. Freelancers, thus independent ones, earn usually clearly less. In the further career process the salary is open upward.
With the 2nd state examination, law graduates also hold the qualification for the office of judge. However, only the best are accepted. The places as judges are limited and desired at the same time.
Entry chances: The prospects for lawyers
As mentioned above, the labour market for lawyers is certainly not bad, but there is no shortage of skilled workers in this area. This means that candidates have to assert themselves against others in the application process. However, qualifications such as a master’s degree, doctorate or specialist knowledge of foreign languages can significantly improve career prospects.
What personal requirements should prospective lawyers fulfil for their future profession?
Enthusiasm for arguing and questioning facts and circumstances
Career: Development opportunities as a lawyer
Further training and specialisations are usually the key to a steep career. For attorneys at law, training as a specialist attorney with special knowledge and experience in a particular field of law is an ideal option. In principle, a lawyer may use a maximum of three specialist lawyer designations.