There are many TV shows and films that make lawyers out to be gods among men, American TV shows such as Suits show lawyers in high rise, glass, contemporary offices with $2000 suits, attractive assistants and simply walking around New York talking to clients and doing hard negotiating face to face. Unfortunately, the reality is very different for most people (of course some of the worlds best lawyers will live a lifestyle similar to this but 99% will not).
The road from entering the legal profession straight out of university is very long, tiring and arduous and to make it to the very top you will need some luck along the way. To it’s credit, Suits does actually do a good job of showing what life is like for graduates in the ‘bull pen’, you will work VERY long hours, be asked to all of the jobs the partners and senior partners don’t want to do and spend most of your life under a pile of paperwork. To some extent you will be a glorified paralegal writing the paperwork required by more senior people within the firm for them to get the job done and you will be expected to do this with no mistakes. One mistake can make a big difference to your future at a law practice no matter how tired and worn out you may be. The rewards if you get it right though are huge.
Once you move out of being the new guy, you will then move on handling some of your own case work, these will often be lower risk cases with lots of litigation involved. A large part of being a lawyer is actually dispute resolution, depending upon the area of law you are specialising in, this could be the majority of your job. For example, if you are working at a dispute resolution solicitors in Manchester within family law, the majority of your time will be spent doing this. It can at times be tedious but it is important to remember the impact your actions will have on a persons life, no matter how mundane it may seem to you.
Overall a lawyers life is very good compared to most peoples, you will earn well above the average wage and will only go on to earn more with the more experience you get. You then have options to work for larger, more corporate firms or go and set your own practice up if you prefer a more relaxed lifestyle. Just remember though, if you are aiming for the Suits lifestyle you will need to be one of the 1% so don’t base any career decision on this.