Lawyers

(NOC 4112)

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

Lawyers advise clients on legal matters, represent clients before boards and write legal documents like contracts and wills. Lawyers plead cases, represent clients before tribunals and oversee prosecutions in court. Lawyers work for law firms, prosecutor's offices, federal, provincial and city and town governments, and businesses or they may be self-employed. Articling students are included in this group.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 250 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

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

  • Estimate 770 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 4115 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

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. Lawyers and Quebec Notaries most commonly work full-time hours. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 71% of Lawyers and Quebec Notaries who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $102,134. 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

N/A

Minimum

N/A

Median

N/A

Maximum

Annual Pay

$35,224

Minimum

$104,920

Median

$167,952

Maximum

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

Hourly Pay

$14.74

Minimum

$33.28

Median

$46.76

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 boards and write legal documents like contracts and wills. Lawyers plead cases, represent clients before tribunals and oversee prosecutions in court. Lawyers work for law firms, prosecutor's offices, federal, provincial and city and town governments, and businesses or they may be self-employed. Articling students are included in this group.

Job duties

Lawyers:

  • Tell clients about their legal rights and all matters related to law.
  • Research legal precedents and gather evidence.
  • Plead clients' cases before courts, tribunals and boards.
  • Draw up legal documents like real estate transactions, wills, divorces and contracts, and prepare statements of legal opinions.
  • Negotiate settlements of civil disputes.
  • Carry out 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 like criminal law, 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.

Sample job titles

  • articling law student
  • corporate counsel
  • crown attorney
  • defence counsel
  • judicial assistant - Supreme Court
  • law partner
  • lawyer
  • legal advisor
  • legislative counsel
  • prosecutor
  • solicitor

Skills

You should enjoy challenge and competition. A high degree of accuracy and concentration are necessary. You must be convincing, concise, able to think quickly under pressure, and able to express your ideas clearly. You should have a strong understanding 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

  • Two to three years of undergraduate studies and a bachelor's degree from a recognized law school.
  • Successful completion of the bar examination and completion of a period of articling are required.
  • Licensing by the provincial law society is required.

Other considerations

Self-employment is common for lawyers. Many lawyers work 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 irregular hours. Most of the work of lawyers is done in offices or law libraries. Lawyers wishing to practise in another province or territory may be required to pass examinations set by the provincial or territorial law society.

By the numbers

Quick look

2,020

employed in 2016

92.8%

employed full-time

38.5%

self employed

39.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
60.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
47.8

median age

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

55,420

employed in 2016

76.4%

employed full-time

6.6%

self employed

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

median age

Where will I likely work?

67.7%

Halifax

10.9%

North Shore

8.4%

Cape Breton

7.9%

Annapolis Valley

5.2%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

77.7%

Professional, scientific and technical services

14.1%

Public administration

2.1%

Finance and insurance

1.3%

Other services (except public administration)

1.0%

Manufacturing

What is the age of Employment?

24.0%

45-54

22.0%

35-44

21.0%

55-64

21.0%

25-34

11.0%

65+

1.0%

15-24

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

24.2%

35-44

22.7%

45-54

21.4%

25-34

17.2%

55-64

8.4%

15-24

Top levels of education

60.0%

Bachelor

$94,664 median annual income
18.3%

Master

$81,713 median annual income
17.0%

Diploma Above Bachelor

$74,216 median annual income
3.5%

Doctorate

$71,114 median annual income
0.7%

Diploma Below Bachelor

N/A

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

28.9%

Bachelor

$45,929 median annual income
21.2%

College Diploma

$35,398 median annual income
16.8%

Master

$71,043 median annual income
14.6%

High school

$29,055 median annual income
4.6%

Doctorate

$100,443 median annual income

Education & training

Law (LLB, JD, BCL)

University Program

These programs prepare students 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. They 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

Halifax, NS

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 legally do this work.

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
Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Department of Justice, Correctional Services Division
Halifax, NS
Canadian Criminal Justice Association
Ottawa, ON

Additional resources