Should you pursue a career in law?

Being a lawyer is one of those high profile jobs that has been popularised by TV and film media throughout the decades. At best society sees lawyers as well-off legal advocates and at worst sees them as morally bankrupt defenders of criminals.

While entrenched societal views on the profession should not affect your decision to pursue it, you should be clear on your reasons for wanting to pursue law. Law is one of the hardest academic subjects to pass and is not exactly a cushy job once you graduate.

Therefore people who wish to study and practise law need to be sure they are ready for the commitment they will need to make. Let’s take a look at whether or not you should pursue a legal career.

Are you a people person?

While lawyers aren’t comedians or talk show hosts, they need to have communication skills in order to interact with their clients. When people come to you seeking legal counsel, they are relying on you as a professional to communicate with them using layman’s terms.

This means you need to be able to disseminate large amounts of legal information and translate it in a way that makes clients feel confident in your abilities. Often your communication skills will be required to help a client understand their legal situation and what their realistic options are.

As a lawyer you may also be required to collaborate with other legal professionals and this will require you to be able to share a workload with someone else.

Are you a good rhetorician?

This skill is especially important in criminal and family law matters where you will advocate on behalf of your client in front of a judge, magistrate or jury. You should be able to persuasively communicate your client’s case in a court of law where it will be heavily scrutinised by the judge and opposition.

Are you a good researcher?

The bread and butter of legal work is studying precedent and jurisdictional rules so that you can create an actionable case. If you don’t have good research skills it can be easy to get bogged down in this line of work.

As you career advances and you become a more bankable lawyer, you will likely hire a team of paralegals who can perform the bulk of research that you need for a case. This is necessary because at high levels you will be dealing with too many complex cases for you to manage without a support team.


How does family law work in Australia?

Family law in Australia is the legal umbrella under which issues relating to the breakdown of a relationship are governed. It is one of the most frequently heard issues in the legal profession and there are many reputable family lawyers all around the country.

Family law does not deal with any criminal issues, although some criminal issues may affect outcomes in family law. For example; a parent found guilty of criminal child abuse would not receive custody of children in a family law dispute.

Above all, the family law system in Australia is designed to protect the emotional and economic well-being of any children under the relationship. The rights of disputing parents are considered secondary to the rights of the child.

This is why classic examples of parents manipulating their children to pick a side in custody disputes are dealt with harshly by judges. The family law system has no patience for individuals who attempt to manipulate the process by coercing impressionable children.

Despite the focus on the well-being of children, this does not always mean their wishes are listened to. Children who are considered too young to make a rational choice on who to stay with do not have their opinions taken into consideration when determining custody disputes.

However, a child who is older (usually teenagers) is hard to force a decision on, so their choices are given more importance in deciding on custody issues.

Most of the time family law disputes are settled out of court via mediation sessions between disputing parties. This is preferred by the court system as decisions that are mediated rather than arbitrated by a judge are longer lasting and more agreeable to each party.

This ultimately helps to prevent family law disputes from dragging out over long periods of time, causing more emotional turmoil the longer they remain unresolved. For this reasons the best family lawyers are usually accredited with alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

High profile family lawyers have usually practised for several decades and have seen a wide variety of different cases with similar circumstances. This gives them a lot of past precedent to work from and they usually don’t need to perform as much research as other types of lawyers.

Australian family law also has a concept known as “no fault divorce”. This means that there is no legal mechanism that acknowledges which party was at fault for the divorce, such as issues of infidelity.

What to look for in a criminal defence lawyer?

Criminal charges are a significant offense that could change the course of the life of those involved. If you are faced with criminal charges it is crucial to seek a criminal defence lawyer at your earliest convenience.

Due to the stakes of these cases it is important to choose the right criminal defence lawyer for you. If you are charged or arrested with criminal offence claims, it is important to act quickly to get you the right representation as early as possible.

When you are looking for a criminal defence lawyer, here are some things that you should look for.

They are available and accessible

Criminal charges can end you up in jail at any time of the day or night. Since your jail time isn’t limited to normal working hours, your criminal defence lawyer shouldn’t be either.

Following an arrest can leave you scared and confused on what your next course of action should be. It’s important the attorney that you choose is there for you and able to guide you at all times.

They can apply effective communication

Facing criminal charges can be a daunting experience especially due to the implications that are at hand. Due to your fate resting upon this case it is important to understand what is going on and the procedures that are involved.

Your attorney should talk to you in a legal jargon-free way to ensure that you fully understand what is going on. If you don’t understand what is happening or are left in the dark, it will only escalate the stress and worry that you feel.


They understand the context of your situation

With a lot of criminal charges it is strongly recommended that you don’t ask your attorney if they believe you or not. Regardless of their stance on the situation, a good criminal defence lawyer should be able to obtain the facts that are necessary to get you the best result possible.

False rulings and allegations have happened in the past and can potentially tarnish an innocent person’s future. All criminal defence lawyers should understand that your life is on the line and will do everything in their power to provide the assistance and representation that you need.

Their form of pricing

An important factor for any legal case is the pricing that goes along with your criminal defence lawyer. Typically an experienced attorney will cost significantly more than a student that is fresh out of university.

You want to have a look at the pricing procedures that different firms implement and get a rough average for these types of services. If you really like the look of one place but notice that their fee is higher than the average, don’t be afraid to ask. With these types of things sometimes spending more money will help your chances.

Have a look at their track record

Experience in dealing with criminal cases is essential when you are selecting a criminal defence lawyer. You want to be sure that your representation has done cases in the past that are similar to yours to ensure that attorney is proficient in their field.

Past cases that have been successful and unsuccessful can be used as a foundation to create a strategy and implementing things that did work while also avoiding things that didn’t.

Criminal charges can be very scary even before you go to trial. To give yourself the best opportunity for a better deal it is important that you find a criminal defence lawyer that is able to work effectively with and for you. When you are making your choice, be sure to look for the past things mentioned to get you on the right track.