Many civil lawyers, also known as attorneys, are also considered advocates because of their job duties which require them to present evidence and argue in civil court to support their clients. Civil lawyers differ from criminal lawyers in that criminal lawyers defend the defendant against criminal charges while a civil lawyer handles non-criminal litigation.
Civil Law vs. Criminal Law
According to the website of lawyer/consultant Ronald B. Standler, civil law involves a private party, which could be an individual or company, that wishes to file a lawsuit against another party and therefore becomes the plaintiff. The burden of proof fails on the the plaintiff. Contrary to criminal law, a defendant in civil matter is never incarcerated and never executed--most "losses" are usually in regard to money or property.
What is a Lawyer
Lawyers serve as advocates and advisers. Lawyers, in general, speak for clients and advise clients how to answer questions, when to talk, when to keep quiet and generally lead them through the court process. Lawyers counsel clients on the rights they have and also obligations they have.
A civil lawyer focuses on cases involving wills, trusts, divorce, child custody, litigation, contracts, mortgages, titles, leases and damage suits, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Lawyers work long hours to finish all of their duties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hours are often sporadic due to the nature of the work to be completed, such as researching at a library, traveling to meet clients, preparing briefs, gathering evidence and appearing before courts. Many of the said duties occur during non-business hours. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 37 percent work 50 hours or more each week.
Education for Civil Lawyer
A bachelor's degree is required for entrance into law schools. There is no pre-law program specifically, but a student should concentrate on writing, communication and researching to help with logical thinking.
Once the student has a four-year degree, she may apply to law schools and must take an entrance exam. Law schools are very competitive and will last for three additional years. When becoming a civil lawyer, the student will choose to concentrate on civil law during law school.
Once the student has graduated, she must take the bar exam to be licensed to practice law.
The average salary for lawyers in 2006 was approximately $102,470, and the middle half earned between $69,900 and $145,600, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lawyers who open their own practice should expect to make less than those who are partners in a law firm. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says lawyers who start their own practice will likely have to find a way to supplement their income until they become well-established.