What does a Lawyer do?
Activities of a lawyer
A lawyer acts as a legal adviser in all legal matters before authorities, courts or, for example, arbitration tribunals. As a lawyer, you have the task of helping your respective client or clients to achieve their legal rights by means of appropriate constitutional means. Therefore, lawyers can represent virtually any person or group of persons, as long as there are no prohibitions on representation. The professional characteristic of a lawyer is the party representation of interests.
In the context of a comprehensive consultation you inform the client about the case specific legal situation, the corresponding chances of success, the resulting costs, the possibilities with regard to the preservation of evidence as well as the cost risk connected with the case. The Federal Lawyers’ Act (BRAO), which applies to a lawyer, defines a lawyer as an “autonomous organ of the administration of justice” that acts as an independent representative and advisor in all legal matters. According to BRAO, a lawyer should assist his clients in shaping the law, arbitrating disputes and avoiding conflicts, protect against unconstitutional interference, protect against wrong decisions by the authorities and courts and protect against the state transgressing its power. Avoiding These Traits Can Get A Professional Lawyer In Big Trouble.
As a lawyer, it is important that you have the appropriate skills, such as above-average written and oral expression skills, logical thinking skills and the ability to abstract. Your goal is always to help your respective client to obtain his rights – by using all available legal means. Your tasks are complex in nature.Without the help of a lawyer, important legal transactions would be extremely complicated, especially in the business world, with regard, for example, to the drafting of contracts.
The following segments are usually part of your field of activity:
Legal structuring in business transactions, contracts or other cases.
Informing the parties seeking legal assistance about possible claims and counterclaims in detail.
Conclusion of corresponding out-of-court settlements.
Providing procedural assistance for litigation (legal execution, clarification of facts, etc.).
Performing explicit procedural acts (e.g. concluding settlements, raising objections, lodging appeals, etc.).
How do I become a lawyer?
Attorneys are admitted by the Bar Association, the prerequisite is in any case training to become a fully qualified lawyer: this means the completion of law studies with the first state examination and a subsequent legal clerkship, which is completed with the second state examination. You then apply for admission as a lawyer to the bar association for the district in which you wish to settle. A lawyer employed by a company is called “Syndikus”. However, he may not represent the company in court because he is bound by his employer’s instructions.
Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in law also qualify for legal work in a company, an authority or an association. The so-called “Master of Laws” is often a very international education and is also popular with fully qualified lawyers as a further qualification. There is a very wide range of legal courses on offer: you can study law on state examinations at all the major universities in the humanities and social sciences; business law is a course of study that has been introduced in large numbers at universities of applied sciences since the 1990s. Germany offers a total of about 200 courses of study in law and in-depth studies.
Where can I work as a lawyer?
As a lawyer you can start your own business and offer your services. For this you usually need an office. However, if you want to limit the rental costs in the beginning, you have the possibility to join with other lawyers within such designated office communities. You will then remain independent as a lawyer and only share the office with colleagues. Often, however, there is also a merger of lawyers to form so-called professional practice communities, known as law firms or partners. These partnerships also employ additional lawyers as salaried employees.
There are law firms that work supra-local and are therefore located in several places (supra-local law firms); the demand for competent lawyers is comparatively high with these supra-local law firms in particular. But you can also hire as a lawyer in the legal departments of companies and the public sector, where your specialisation often plays a role.
Career and salary of a lawyer
The average monthly income of a lawyer is difficult to determine due to numerous influencing factors. As a guide, you can assume a monthly income of around 3,000 to a maximum of 10,000 euros, whereby the majority of lawyers – according to the corresponding surveys – have a gross monthly salary of around 4,800 euros. Basis for these numbers are thereby the appropriate hourly rates for private clients (130 to 150 euro per hour) as well as for commercial clients (180 and 250 euro). Please note that there are striking regional differences.
In economically less strong regions, in small towns and in the countryside, these hourly rates are difficult to achieve. In addition, salaries vary greatly with regard to professional experience and the size of the firm; however, salaries can be described as gender-neutral. You have the best chances for a lucrative income if you focus on special fields as a specialist lawyer.
Specialist attorneys are particularly sought after in the areas of criminal law, tax law, medical law, labour law, family law, inheritance law, architectural law, social law, banking and capital law as well as copyright and medical law. Among the better earning lawyers are media, patent and tax lawyers. Since the competition and competitive pressure in this sector is relatively intense, it is not always easy for university graduates to find a well-paid job in a law firm. However, if you succeed in jumping into a top law firm, you can expect a comparatively high income; then an annual salary of over 100,000 euros is quite possible.