An entry-level attorney is a law professional who has completed law school and passed the applicable bar exams. There are many different entry-level attorney jobs available in different fields; these positions provide a great opportunity to start a professional career and begin crafting a good reputation. Some entry-level attorney jobs require experience in a specific field of law; internships and assistant jobs undertaken during law school can help pave the way to an entry-level job in a particular field.
While passing the state or regional bar exam may be a requirement for entry-level attorney jobs, a newly minted attorney does not usually need to wait until they have official documentation of their acceptance to the bar to begin working. Since receiving the actual official confirmation can take some time, it is usually acceptable to start applying as soon as initial notification of bar acceptance is given. On a resume, this is usually indicated as “bar admission pending.”
Most entry-level attorney jobs will involve a wide variety of tasks that help assist more advanced attorneys in their work. While fully qualified, new attorneys are generally considered too inexperienced to head cases or serve as primary legal counsel for a client. The first few years of a professional law career are akin to an apprenticeship; instead of learning mostly through books and tests, new lawyers have the opportunity to gain experience by working with masters and put their acquired skills to practical use.
Some entry-level attorney jobs focus on research, brief preparation, drafting letters and statements, and assisting with cases. While these may not be glamorous tasks, they do give a new attorney a chance to participate in real cases on a day-to-day basis. Entry-level attorney jobs give new lawyers the opportunity to prove their capabilities both as lawyers and team members. For those looking to move up the ranks at a particular firm, the amount of talent and dedication displayed at an entry-level job may dictate future opportunities for promotion.
Not all entry-level attorney jobs mean hours of wallowing through stacks of documents or researching case precedents. In some fields, a lack of qualified attorneys may mean that new lawyers are given greater responsibility early on in their careers. Public defenders, for instance, may have to start taking on cases immediately upon hire, though cases may be limited to less critical issues at first. Though some specialties do allow for more hands-on involvement, most legal organizations still have a hierarchy that allows new attorneys time to learn the practical aspects of the trade.