Legal Profession: Behind Closed-Door

It is no coincidence that the legal profession is considered one of the noble professions of society. With its own characteristics, the legal profession, particularly being a lawyer, requires having both insightful and broad knowledge, skills, quick improvisation, and extensive experience. Especially, it demands a high standard of morale and dedication; which is also the result of the constant efforts from the lawyers themselves in the journey of perfecting their skills and professionalism, establishing prestige and professional ethics.

The economic integration creates opportunities for the lawyer career to develop constantly. The young generation is currently leaning towards being a lawyer more and more because of the shining aureole and noble cause of this profession. But behind the good things to be seen, this profession brings about odd circumstances, sadness, and the dark corner of one’s life and fate that few outsiders can understand. The hidden side of the legal profession – allow me to walk you through this journey today.

The unique particularities of the lawyer profession

Every profession has its own characteristics, but being a lawyer is not similar to other ordinary occupations, it has its own unique aspects. The three particularities of the lawyer profession are:

A specialty of a profession: There is nothing wrong with saying that a lawyer is a specific and specialized profession; since there are many other professions, even if you didn’t graduate from university in a major of your choosing, but have the blessing of good critical thinking or skills, you will still be able to find work in: Sales, human resources, media, etc. However, the works carried out by a lawyer is only for him/her to perform; i.e., you must have a bachelor’s degree in law and get through a lawyer training course to obtain a practice certificate, to be able to practice the law. This profession is specialized in both its nature and expertise as it requires a strong foundation of legal knowledge, skills and ethics.

However, on the contrary, lawyers are still capable to work outside their specialties or work in related jobs, and it is a fundamental feature of the legal profession. If you didn’t study to be a lawyer, you couldn’t become a lawyer; but there are people who already have their practice certificate, but they don’t practice the law as a lawyer. Lawyers may have many choices for their career path, and then the practice certificate works as a useful means for such purposes. There are many lawyers working in enterprises and large companies as in-house staff, legal experts, or working in the legal departments of banks, etc. 

The lawyer profession is a relatively unrestrained profession: Lawyers are independent in their practice and are responsible for their own professional activities. Due to the liberal nature of the profession, the state’s management of lawyers also has distinct properties compared to other fields of commercial or service. In reality, the number of lawyers who are licensed to practice over-crowded the number of lawyers who actually practice and earn their living by being a lawyer. As a result, the professional supply from this profession does not meet the demand of society, although every year, there are plenty of new law bachelors and the number of bachelors who complete the lawyer training courses is not so little.

Lawyers provide services:  Yes, being a lawyer is to provide legal services for clients. You will often encounter slogans or service objectives of organizations and law firms such as: “Our law firm is a pioneer in providing legal services, including legal counseling and dispute settlement. Please contact us if you have legal issues…” The services provided by lawyers vary among many fields, such as: Civil, Corporate Law, Marriage and Family, Labor Law, etc. and in a variety of forms: legal advice, document drafting, contract review consulting, authorized representatives, etc.

The hidden side of the of the lawyer profession

Surely each profession has its ups and downs, it’s not something that is exclusive to this profession. Nonetheless, the struggles of a lawyer are very distinctive.

The lawyer profession often piques the interest of the press and social media.

Being a lawyer is considered a noble profession, as it is respected by the community and society; but at the same time, the community and society also hold very strict requirements on the ethical qualities of lawyers. Therefore, any news regarding lawyers failing to maintain their professional ethical standards or when lawyers are involved in certain controversial cases, they are likely to be put under constant surveillance by the community and society.

Society often has a stricter view on lawyers.

Stemming from the natural characteristics of the work of lawyers, which are related to the law, community and society often hold a stricter view on lawyers than in other normal occupations. In communication as well as on social media, lawyers must present proper attitude and language, their personal opinions must be formed on a reasonable basis and lawyers shouldn’t be too casual in their appearance to avoid risking the image of a professional, always composed and serious at work. In addition, as a person with extensive legal knowledge, a lawyer also needs to strictly comply with the law because should he/she, for whatever reason, violates the law, in addition to having to bear the proper legal consequences, the community and society always have harsher opinions on lawyers than normal people, in similar situations.

Being a lawyer is an extremely difficult and dangerous job.

Lawyers are representatives of justice, so it is inevitable that they will encounter life-threatening dangers from criminals and such. On their journey of finding justice, lawyers must put in an enormous amount of time and effort; and sometimes, it is possible to encounter obstruction from public agencies and authorities, making it even more difficult and troublesome to resolve an issue. There have been radical cases where lawyers were killed for the purpose of disposing evidence.

Lawyers don’t have a fixed working schedule.

Due to the particularities of the profession, the work of the lawyer will arise at any time depending on the request of the client from time to time, which consequently will rarely have a fixed time frame to work on any particular day. Clearly, lawyers cannot request their clients, especially foreign clients in a different time zone, to contact only during business hours of Vietnam like most other services. Therefore, in practice, sometimes there are not much to do, but sometimes it will become very busy and rushing with many continuous phone calls coming in from the clients. A frequently changing work schedule will consequently affect personal schedules as well as family time; so, when choosing this career path, a lawyer must always be ready for unexpected situations such as being unable to maintain appointments with family and friends, as well as having to abruptly decline important events of friends and relatives when work calls.

Having to be involved in legal works that you don’t want to do.

There are some dilemmas that even though they don’t wish to be caught between, lawyers still have to proceed to fulfill their responsibilities and professional ethics. A typical example is when lawyers are forced to argue against the opposing party’s attorneys, who are their friends, to protect the interest of the clients. In such cases, bearing their professional responsibility, the lawyers must utilize all reasonable methods within the boundaries of the law in order to win the case or at least to gain certain advantages for their clients in negotiations; and this can lead to irreconcilable cracks in relationships between close colleagues. Or when encountering bad clients who view lawyers as their servant, or encounter certain unwanted legal cases, such as: raping case, debt evasion, murder, divorce, child custody disputes, etc. With the responsibility towards their profession, lawyers are forced to defend such clients even though they are not at all enthusiastic about it or even want to turn down those works.

Not only that, in some cases, even though the lawyer is aware of their client’s acts which violate the law, they still don’t advise the client to terminate such actions, or refuse to stop providing legal services to such client while still supporting them, which pose a very plausible risk of being considered an accomplice to the client once he/she is held accountable before the law.

Being a lawyer is not easy to make a living.

In fact, the number of law graduates every year from universities is not a small number, but that does not mean everyone can practice the law. After a period of studying and training in accordance with the requirements of the industry, through time and countless difficulties, many people gave up, the number of remaining people was very few. Objectively, due to economic circumstances, the needs to acquire legal services is limited, so people do not appreciate the role of lawyers. The legal corridor for lawyers is not quite clear, so that it hasn’t enabled lawyers to develop the profession. The process of practicing as a lawyer encounters many difficulties from the proceeding authorities and competent agencies with disorientation tactics and causing annoyances; sometimes there is a present obstacle within the law because the regulations are still unclear and lack feasibility, so the number of professional lawyers only takes up a small percentage. Due to these objective reasons, not to mention subjective ones, that cause great struggling for lawyers who want to make a living with this career. On the other hand, the number of successful lawyers, who’ve gotten rich by working as a lawyer is very few. This fact shows that the lawyer career is not easy to live on.

Being a lawyer is always stressful due to pressure, which leads to negative consequences.

Perhaps it will be exaggerated when someone thinks that the work pressure of a lawyer can lead to stress, depression, alcoholism, smoking, and even divorce. Nonetheless, to become professional lawyers, their main objective is to assist clients to overcome legal problems; in general, the lawyers take on a lot of their clients’ legal troubles unto themselves, at the same time. Lawyers not only have to find a way to advise clients so that they understand the legal issues and its consequences, but also have to research and come up with solutions to solve the client’s legal troubles, so the work will not be easy. In fact, there are many complex legal issues of clients that lawyers pursue for many years, making countless amounts of effort to effectively protect the interests of clients. In addition, although lawyers always keep a cool head and a warm heart in any difficult situation, the client’s affair isn’t always only about the legal issues, but also has to deal with other issues regarding ethics and human morality, which lawyers cannot ignore.

In addition, other issues also cause stress for lawyers, such as commitments to complete urgent task for clients, the pressure to work enough hours to charge standard clients fee monthly, quarterly, and yearly, at the request of the law firm; the high demands of the client change so quickly that the lawyer must constantly keeping up with, the pressure to compete with fellow colleagues within the company, etc. Therefore, the lawyer career is also a profession with a higher suicide rate than other occupations.

Above are a few basic hidden aspects of being a lawyer from the writer’s point of view. Hopefully the article will be useful for those who want to learn about this profession, as well as for those who intend to follow the profession. If you want to learn more, contact us for more detailed instructions at: info@letranlaw.com.