Lawyer Vs. Engineer

Lawyers offer legal advice to individuals and groups, while engineers generally design, build, and/or maintain aspects of production. This article explains the similarities and differences between lawyers and engineers.

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Comparing Lawyers to Engineers

Lawyers and engineers are both high-paying occupations. Lawyers seek to master the principles of law, while engineers generally focus and specialize on the principles of mathematics and physics.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary* Job Growth*
Lawyer Doctoral or Professional Degree $118,160 (2016) 8% (2016-2026)
Engineer Bachelor's Degree $90,060 (2015) 4% (2014-2024)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Lawyers vs. Engineers

Although lawyers and engineers are both highly recognizable professions, they are quite different. Lawyers tend to work more directly with clients to help them with issues of the law. Engineers may also work directly with clients, but often are behind the scenes designing equipment, tools, buildings, etc.

Lawyer

Lawyers can be asked to do a variety of tasks involving jurisprudence. They often are asked to find out how laws will apply to specific situations in which the law is general or ambiguous. Lawyers can specialize in different areas and can be employed to represent governments or be paid for by the government to represent others. On the other hand, those who want to practice in the private sector may be employed by corporations, non-profit organizations, or law firms. Specialized areas of law include patent law, tax law, and criminal law. The majority of lawyers get a bachelor's degree and then obtain a law degree from a law school and pass the bar examination, although a handful of states allow prospective lawyers to take the bar exam without a law degree.

Job responsibilities of a lawyer include:

  • decipher the meanings and intents of laws
  • draft convincing and persuasive arguments
  • speak for clients in the courtroom or other legal proceedings
  • prepare complex legal documents on behalf of the client
  • learn the differences between laws in different levels of government and different jurisdictions

Engineer

Engineers work in a variety of fields that usually focus on physics. Some of the most well-known types of engineers include mechanical, electrical, chemical, and civil engineers. But you may also find engineers working in less common fields such as the petroleum industry and their contributions are just as valuable. Engineers' work greatly varies by specialization, but generally, those who are interested in this field can expect to frequently encounter designing, testing, and construction as part of their daily routines. Most engineers obtain a bachelor's degree in a field of engineering to start their careers. But some of them also complete graduate studies to learn more specific and specialized techniques as well as advance in their profession.

Job responsibilities of an engineer include:

  • design equipment and tools to complete tasks
  • oversee the creation of products, buildings, chemicals, etc.
  • evaluate technical problems and create solutions
  • increase the efficiency of production
  • test equipment and processes for effectiveness

Related Careers

If you are interested in the job of a lawyer, becoming a judge may also interest you, as both careers require interpretation of the law. Those interested in becoming engineers may be interested in the job of a physicist, as physicists also study science and mathematics.

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