What do lawyers do

How do I become a lawyer?

Whether it's a lawsuit for damages, a maintenance claim or a murder charge - as a lawyer, you represent the interests of your clients and try to influence the judge's judgment in their favor. If you want to become a lawyer, you first have to study law for around 9 semesters, which you complete with the first state examination. You then complete the 2-year preparatory service, also known as legal clerkship, until you pass your second state examination. You then register with the respective bar association in whose district you want to work in the future. You also take an oath and finally receive the certificate of approval to be able to advise clients as a lawyer on legal issues.

What does everyday work look like?

The following sample daily routine shows you what your day-to-day work as a licensed lawyer could look like:

09:00 a.m.

You enter the office where you work with several other lawyers. On your desk are notes from the secretary about missed calls, legal notices, and other mail that you look through.

09:55 am

You then leave your workplace and drive to the local court for an appointment. There you will meet your client who has been demanding maintenance payments from her divorced husband for the past year and a half. In the negotiation you come to an agreement with the opposing party. Since the defendant has been unemployed for a long time, he should only pay half the amount and in future transfer a significantly lower monthly rate to his ex-wife.

11:50 a.m.

When you get back to the office, you speak the results of the court hearing into your dictation machine and have the oral text written down using software on your computer. You attach the finished report in the appropriate folder and also send a copy to your client.

2:10 p.m.

After lunch, you will work on a file that contains a complaint from the competent court. In this, the plaintiff accuses one of your clients that he stole several garden tools from the shed. In your written answer to the allegations, you credibly demonstrate that the accused received the equipment from his neighbor as a gift.

3:30 p.m.

Another client will then appear in your law firm as agreed. He was the victim of a traffic accident and is now entitled to compensation for pain and suffering as well as additional payments for his lost earnings. You explain to him in detail his financial claims and finally give him an outlook on the further course of the procedure.

4:25 pm

You use the remaining working time to further prepare for an upcoming process. Since you appear there as a criminal defense lawyer in a murder case, you work meticulously on your plea with which you want to exonerate the accused.

6:10 p.m.

You say goodbye to your colleagues and make your way home.

requirements

  • General University Entrance Qualification
  • Persuasiveness
  • negotiation skills
  • Reasoning skills
  • empathy
  • Good knowledge of people

What does a lawyer do?

If there is a main hearing in a dispute, you stand up for your client in court. On the basis of the applicable laws, you usually try to enforce their claims, such as the payment of compensation for pain and suffering or an inheritance amount. In a criminal case, on the other hand, you act as the defendant's defense, while the public prosecutor's office takes over the indictment. If you are convicted, you face a penalty that you want to prevent or at least mitigate if possible.
In addition to the organizational and administrative tasks at your desk, you also regularly receive clients in your office. In a personal conversation you will advise them on various legal issues, describe the further course of the proceedings or explain once again what exactly the judge's judgment means for them.
Between court appointments, you work on the files of your legal cases. You check legal deadlines, which, for example, stipulate the latest by when you can submit a response to a lawsuit. In addition, you prepare various documents in which you, for example, inform your client about the latest developments or make a well-founded claim to the opposing litigation party.

What are the job prospects?

In the legal industry, good grades are very important for entry and further careers. Specifically, this means that as an applicant with at least 9 points in one or, best of all, two state exams, you have a significantly higher chance of getting a job. If you do not find work in a law firm, you can also set up your own and become self-employed. However, this is a difficult undertaking, especially for young professionals, as you do not yet have a network of clients that will enable you to make a secure living.

What qualities should I have?

    What specializations are there?

    As a law graduate, you can further improve your professional qualifications with a specialist lawyer training course. As part of a course lasting several months, you will deepen yourself in one of over 20 specialist areas of law such as social, tax or medical law. In addition, a 3-year professional practice as a lawyer and a certain number of processed cases in the desired legal area are mandatory for you. Once you have finally acquired the relevant title, you must continue to train for at least 10 hours per year.
    As the name suggests, this is where all conflict cases end up on your desk that happen when moving on streets and footpaths or that are related to them in a broader sense. You deal with accidents of all kinds and help assert your client's claims, such as compensation for a damaged car.
    As a lawyer specializing in inheritance, your work is divided into two parts. On the one hand, you advise inheriting clients on how to draw up a will and regulate their inheritance contractually. On the other hand, you explain to the bereaved how you can accept the estate of their loved one or reject it in the case of inherited debts.
    For example, if a musician discovers that a company is using one of their songs in an advertisement without permission, they'll come to you. With warnings or injunctions, you ensure that the artist's copyrights are preserved. In addition, you are responsible for many different media areas in which so-called intellectual property such as brands and logos are used without permission.
    In this sector, you usually work on legal cases in which a client requests certain benefits from his health, home contents or other insurance. If, for example, a tenant finds mold in his apartment, it is questionable whether the responsible liability insurance will cover the damage without further ado.
    In some federal states such as Baden-Württemberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Berlin or Hesse, you have the opportunity to work as a notary in addition to your work as a lawyer. You will be admitted to the so-called lawyer notary if you have at least 5 years of legal experience and pass the notarial examination. In addition, practical training in a notary office of at least 160 hours is mandatory for you. In this profession, you work as a neutral and independent consultant who notarizes various legal transactions such as real estate purchases, wills or marriage contracts.

    particularities

    • Germany-wide branch at your own convenience
    • Professional approval from the respective district chamber required
    • Freelance work in own law firm possible
    • High starting salaries for graduates with top grades

    Did you already know, that ...

    • ... in Germany hiking groups are not allowed to march in lockstep over a bridge?
    • ... in Hessen the death penalty is still in the statute book?
    • ... a prison break is unpunished because the legislature recognizes the human urge for freedom?

    These celebrities are also lawyers

    Ingo Lenßen

    Ingo Lenßen studied law in Konstanz in the early 1980s before specializing in criminal law as a specialist lawyer. He gained fame primarily through his own television program “Lenßen und Partner”. In addition, he can currently be seen on TV in other formats in which he offers legal advice. (Image: © JCS / License: CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL (via Wikimedia Commons))

    Gerard Butler - actor

    Before Gerard Butler started acting, the profession of lawyer was his goal in life. He studied law for 10 semesters in Glasgow and worked for another 2 years in a respected law firm before his supervisor dismissed him because he was absent too often. (Image: © Josh Jensen / CC BY-SA 2.0 (via Wikimedia Commons))

    Starting salary as a lawyer

    What you earn at the beginning of your professional career primarily depends on whether you work for a law firm or set up your own business. Because as a freelancer, your income depends largely on the order situation and the number of your clients.

    As an employee of a small to medium-sized law firm, you can expect around € 2,500 ¹ to € 4,000 ¹ gross per month. Top salaries of up to € 8,000 ¹ are possible for highly qualified applicants in large law firms right from the start.

    • Lawyer2.500 €¹
    • Prosecutor3.800 €¹

    Salary based on work experience

    Various factors make it difficult to predict your future income as a lawyer. As with the starting salaries, your earning potential in the further years depends on your employer or the size of the law firm. The area of ​​law in which you specialize also has a major impact on your monthly bill. On average, you can expect a gross monthly income of around € 3,600 ¹ for the first 5 years. After 10 years it will be around € 4,400¹.

    Salary based on work experience

    Various factors make it difficult to predict your future income as a lawyer. As with the starting salaries, your earning potential in the further years depends on your employer or the size of the law firm. The area of ​​law in which you specialize also has a major impact on your monthly bill. On average, you can expect a gross monthly income of around € 3,600 ¹ for the first 5 years. After 10 years it will be around € 4,400¹.