Judges and Lawyers

(NOC 4111, 4112)

in All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

Lawyers advise clients on legal matters, represent clients before administration boards and draw up legal documents such as contracts and wills. Lawyers are employed by federal, provincial and municipal governments and various business establishments or they may be self-employed. Articling students are included in this group. Judges adjudicate civil and criminal cases and administer justice in courts of law. Judges preside over federal and provincial courts.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 240 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 4880 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Judges and Lawyers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 73% of Judges and Lawyers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $106,358. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$19.60

Minimum

$35.10

Median

$68.75

Maximum

Annual Pay

$16,354

Minimum

$92,227

Median

$197,716

Maximum

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

Hourly Pay

$14.00

Minimum

$26.88

Median

$46.15

Maximum

Annual Pay

$5,616

Minimum

$44,335

Median

$92,599

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Lawyers advise clients on legal matters, represent clients before administration boards and draw up legal documents such as contracts and wills. Lawyers are employed by federal, provincial and municipal governments and various business establishments or they may be self-employed. Articling students are included in this group. Judges adjudicate civil and criminal cases and administer justice in courts of law. Judges preside over federal and provincial courts.

Job duties

Lawyers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Advise clients of their legal rights and all matters related to law.
  • Research legal precedents and gather evidence.
  • Plead clients' cases before courts of law, tribunals and boards (lawyers only).
  • Draw up legal documents such as real estate transactions, wills, divorces and contracts, and prepare statements of legal opinions.
  • Negotiate settlements of civil disputes (lawyers only).
  • Perform administrative and management functions related to the practice of law.
  • May act as mediator, conciliator or arbitrator.
  • May act as executor, trustee or guardian in estate and family law matters. // Lawyers may specialize in specific areas of the law such as criminal law (lawyers only), corporate law, contract law, taxation law, administrative law, international law, commercial law, real estate law, family and estate law, intellectual property law and labour law.

Judges perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Preside over courts of law, interpret and enforce rules of procedure and make rulings regarding the admissibility of evidence.
  • Instruct the jury on laws that are applicable to the case.
  • Weigh and consider evidence in non-jury trials and decide legal guilt or innocence or degree of liability of the accused or defendant.
  • Pass sentence on persons convicted in criminal cases and determine damages or other appropriate remedy in civil cases.
  • Grant divorces and divide assets between spouses.
  • Determine custody of children between contesting parents and other guardians.
  • Enforce court orders for access or support.
  • Supervise other judges and court officers. // Judges may specialize in particular areas of law such as civil, criminal or family law.

Sample job titles

  • articling law student
  • attorney
  • barrister and solicitor
  • family court judge
  • federal court justice
  • judge
  • lawyer
  • legal advisor
  • litigator
  • prosecutor
  • provincial supreme court justice

Skills

To work in this field you should enjoy challenge and competition. Office-style work requires a high degree of accuracy and concentration. Excellent oral communication skills are important for courtroom-style work. You must be convincing, concise, able to think quickly under pressure, and able to express your ideas clearly. You should have a strong command of language and the ability to think logically and analytically. Patience, tact, and an understanding of human nature would be helpful in dealing with the public.

Job requirements

Lawyers:

  • Two to three years of undergraduate studies and a bachelor's degree from a recognized law school are required.
  • Successful completion of the bar examination and completion of a period of articling are required.
  • Licensing by the provincial or territorial law society is required.
  • Lawyers wishing to practice in another province or territory may be required to pass examinations set by the provincial or territorial law society.

Judges:

  • Judges usually require extensive experience as a lawyer or as a professor of law with continuous membership in the bar association.
  • Membership in good standing with a provincial or territorial law society or bar association is required for judges.

Other considerations

Self-employment is common for lawyers. Many lawyers work fairly regular hours, but this is usually confined to lawyers who are employed by government offices or corporations. Lawyers in private practice, for the most part, work longer and fairly irregular hours. Most of the work of lawyers is done in offices or law libraries. Judges tend to work fairly regular business hours. Judges are appointed by federal or provincial cabinets.

By the numbers

Quick look

2,010

employed in 2016

95.1%

employed full-time

36.3%

self employed

39.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
61%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
48.4

median age

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

55,420

employed in 2016

79.3%

employed full-time

6.5%

self employed

64.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
36%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

67.1%

Halifax

11.4%

Northern

8.6%

Cape Breton

7.5%

Annapolis Valley

5.6%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

73.3%

Professional Business Services

18.6%

Public Administration

2.0%

Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Leasing

1.0%

Other Services

0.7%

Health Care and Social Assistance

What is the age of Employment?

27.1%

45-54

24.1%

35-44

21.7%

55-64

18.1%

25-34

9.0%

65+

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

36.6%

35-44

29.3%

45-54

24.4%

55-64

4.9%

25-34

4.9%

65+

Top levels of education

60.5%

Bachelor's degree

$58,787 median annual income
18.7%

Doctorate

$70,867 median annual income
16.1%

University advanced certificate or diploma

$65,048 median annual income
3.1%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

N/A
0.8%

University certificate or diploma

$47,418 median annual income

Compared to: All Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

29.2%

Bachelor's degree

$43,533 median annual income
21.5%

College certificate or diploma

$28,183 median annual income
17.2%

Master's degree

$35,978 median annual income
14.3%

High school

$25,801 median annual income
4.6%

Doctorate

$60,991 median annual income

Education & training

Law (LLB, JD, BCL)

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of common or civil law, for becoming a Quebec notary, for taking bar examinations, and for advanced research in jurisprudence. These programs include courses in the theory and practice of the legal system, including the statutory, administrative, and judicial components of civil and criminal law.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Lawyer

Right to Practice: This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Barristers' Society
800-2000 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3K1
(902) 422-1491
(902) 429-4869

Contacts

Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia
5523 B Young Street
Halifax, NS B3K 1Z7
Tel: (902) 454-2198
Fax: (902) 455-3105
Nova Scotia Department of Justice, Correctional Services Division
P.O. Box 7
Halifax, NS B3J 2L6
Tel: (902) 424-7640
Fax: (902) 424-0693
Canadian Criminal Justice Association
320 Parkdale Avenue, Suite 101
Ottawa, ON K1Y 4X9
Tel: (613) 725-3715
Fax: (613) 725-3720

Additional resources

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