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PUBLIC INTEREST LAWYER: Law Can Be Used To Change People's Lives

About this video 

Linnea, a public interest lawyer, works with homeless people and people who have severe mental health problems in order to get them public benefits. She spends her typical day trying to track down her clients and helping them get health care. She tells us that law isn't boring, it can be used to change people's lives.

Job Title: Public Interest Lawyer

Job Summary: Lawyers

Job Description

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, or government agencies on legal issues or disputes. Lawyers, also called attorneys, act as both advocates and advisors. As advocates, they represent one of the parties in criminal and civil trials by presenting evidence and arguing in court to support their client. As advisors, lawyers counsel their clients about their legal rights and obligations and suggest courses of action in business and personal matters. All attorneys research the intent of laws and judicial decisions and apply the laws to the specific circumstances that their clients face.

On-the-Job Training


Additional Info

Becoming licensed as a lawyer is called being "admitted to the bar" and licensing exams are called "bar exams."

To practice law in any state, a person must be admitted to its bar under rules established by the jurisdiction’s highest court. The requirements vary by individual states and jurisdictions.

Most states require that applicants graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, pass one or more written bar exams, and be found by an admitting board to have the character to represent and advise others. Lawyers who want to practice in more than one state must often take separate bar exams in each state.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
$55,000 - $170,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
10 to 20 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time, Long hours
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Military, Indoor, Office
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Analytical skills, Problem solving skills, Public speaking ability, Verbal communication skills, Written communication skills, People skills, Detail oriented

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m='15170'>working</span> <span m='15450'>with</span> <span m='15600'>people</span> <span m='16050'>who</span> <span m='16320'>have</span> <span m='16720'>a</span> <span m='16810'>lot</span> <span m='17010'>of</span> <span m='17080'>severe</span> <span m='17570'>mental</span> <span m='17620'>health</span> <span m='18090'>problems.</span> <span m='19040'>So</span> <span m='19400'>I'm</span> <span m='20370'>usually</span> <span m='20760'>talking</span> <span m='21450'>with</span> <span m='21620'>clients</span> <span m='21970'>a</span> <span m='22020'>lot</span> <span m='22350'>and</span> <span m='22680'>helping them</span> <span m='23110'>to</span> <span m='23180'>get</span> <span m='23390'>on</span> <span m='23660'>public</span> <span m='23740'>benefits</span> <span m='24330'>and</span> <span m='24730'>on social</span> <span m='25040'>securities.</span> <span m='26960'>So</span> <span m='27220'>I'm also</span> <span m='27765'>filling</span> <span m='28050'>out</span> <span m='28150'>a</span> <span m='28220'>lot</span> <span m='28390'>of</span> <span m='28480'>paperwork,</span> <span m='29390'>but</span> <span m='29870'>I</span> <span m='30060'>also</span> <span m='30330'>get</span> <span m='30480'>to</span> <span m='30620'>work</span> <span m='31070'>with</span> <span m='31250'>people</span> <span m='31410'>in the community.</span> </p><p><span m='33010'>So a</span> <span m='33290'>typical</span> <span m='33580'>day would</span> <span m='33750'>probably</span> <span m='34480'>be</span> <span m='36610'>getting</span> <span m='36840'>in</span> <span m='36950'>contact</span> <span m='37280'>with</span> <span m='37410'>a</span> <span m='37470'>lot</span> <span m='37630'>of</span> <span m='37680'>my</span> <span m='37800'>clients.</span> <span m='39240'>A</span> <span m='39370'>lot</span> <span m='39560'>of</span> <span m='39650'>them</span> <span m='39980'>are</span> <span m='40630'>homeless</span> <span m='41370'>or</span> <span m='42490'>extra</span> <span m='42760'>hard to</span> <span m='42870'>find,</span> <span m='43460'>so</span> <span m='43610'>I</span> <span m='43900'>spend a</span> <span m='44390'>lot of time</span> <span m='44530'>trying</span> <span m='44840'>to</span> <span m='45505'>look</span> <span m='45890'>for people to</span> <span m='46120'>talk</span> <span m='46290'>to.</span> <span m='47660'>I'm</span> <span m='47870'>also</span> <span m='48890'>talking</span> <span m='49180'>a</span> <span m='49530'>lot</span> <span m='49780'>to</span> <span m='51330'>social</span> <span m='51630'>services</span> <span m='52490'>in</span> <span m='52560'>the</span> <span m='52720'>social</span> <span m='53220'>security</span> <span m='53720'>office</span> <span m='54105'>and</span> <span m='54490'>talking</span> <span m='55100'>to</span> <span m='56420'>other</span> <span m='56940'>mental</span> <span m='57220'>health</span> <span m='57680'>and</span> <span m='57770'>medical</span> <span m='58090'>providers</span> <span m='58860'>to</span> <span m='59030'>try</span> <span m='59260'>and</span> <span m='59380'>get</span> <span m='59520'>my</span> <span m='59640'>clients</span> <span m='60160'>set</span> <span m='60280'>up</span> <span m='60450'>with</span> <span m='61840'>the</span> <span m='62300'>health</span> <span m='62630'>care</span> <span m='63350'>and</span> <span m='63640'>the</span> <span m='64959'>public</span> <span m='65319'>benefits</span> <span m='65780'>that</span> <span m='65850'>they</span> <span m='66080'>need</span> <span m='66360'>to help</span> <span m='66710'>stabilize</span> <span m='67150'>their life.</span> </p><p><span m='67710'>I</span> <span m='68300'>got</span> <span m='68420'>here</span> <span m='69050'>through</span> <span m='69360'>doing</span> <span m='70110'>social</span> <span m='70430'>work,</span> <span m='71570'>so</span> <span m='71770'>I</span> <span m='71920'>worked</span> <span m='72190'>a</span> <span m='72230'>lot</span> <span m='72430'>with</span> <span m='72500'>victims</span> <span m='72980'>of violence.</span> <span m='73940'>A</span> <span m='74420'>lot</span> <span m='74690'>of the</span> <span m='74830'>people</span> <span m='75080'>I worked</span> <span m='75470'>with</span> <span m='75890'>were</span> <span m='76100'>also</span> <span m='76380'>dealing</span> <span m='76660'>with</span> <span m='76995'>issues</span> <span m='77330'>of</span> <span m='77450'>poverty.</span> <span m='79005'>And</span> <span m='79440'>so</span> <span m='79560'>that</span> <span m='79840'>led</span> <span m='80120'>me to</span> <span m='82010'>doing</span> <span m='82270'>more</span> <span m='82430'>public</span> <span m='82775'>interest</span> <span m='83120'>and poverty</span> <span m='83530'>law.</span> <span m='84000'>And</span> <span m='84280'>working</span> <span m='84670'>with</span> <span m='84830'>people</span> <span m='85200'>who</span> <span m='85710'>needed</span> <span m='86430'>additional</span> <span m='86840'>assistance,</span> <span m='87333'>which</span> <span m='87826'>includes</span> <span m='89300'>people who</span> <span m='89760'>are homeless</span> <span m='90200'>and who are</span> <span m='90540'>dealing with</span> <span m='90880'>a lot of</span> <span m='91060'>severe</span> <span m='91120'>mental</span> <span m='91385'>health</span> <span m='91650'>issues.</span> <span m='93120'>I</span> <span m='93510'>think that</span> <span m='94150'>people</span> <span m='94240'>have</span> <span m='94460'>the</span> <span m='94630'>idea</span> <span m='94920'>that</span> <span m='95070'>law</span> <span m='95290'>can</span> <span m='95545'>be</span> <span m='96720'>maybe</span> <span m='97180'>kind</span> <span m='97400'>of</span> <span m='99130'>boring</span> <span m='99950'>or</span> <span m='102480'>very</span> <span m='103160'>business</span> <span m='103570'>oriented.</span> <span m='103860'>I</span> <span m='104180'>think</span> <span m='104560'>law</span> <span m='104860'>can</span> <span m='105050'>actually</span> <span m='105550'>be</span> <span m='106050'>used</span> <span m='106420'>to</span> <span m='106460'>help</span> <span m='107950'>people</span> <span m='108220'>and</span> <span m='108370'>to</span> <span m='108450'>help</span> <span m='108720'>raise</span> <span m='109130'>up</span> <span m='109240'>our</span> <span m='109450'>community,</span> <span m='110020'>so</span> <span m='110760'>that's</span> <span m='110920'>probably</span> <span m='111300'>the</span> <span m='111910'>one</span> <span m='112150'>thing</span> <span m='112380'>I've</span> <span m='112530'>learned</span> <span m='112610'>the most</span> <span m='113020'>out</span> <span m='113200'>of</span> <span m='113780'>going</span> <span m='114030'>to</span> <span m='114120'>law</span> <span m='114310'>school</span> <span m='114640'>and</span> <span m='114970'>meeting</span> <span m='115250'>different</span> <span m='115530'>public</span> <span m='115790'>interest</span> <span m='116105'>lawyers.</span> <span m='116420'>That</span> <span m='116600'>it</span> <span m='116830'>can really</span> <span m='117190'>be</span> <span m='117330'>something</span> <span m='117680'>that</span> <span m='117950'>you</span> <span m='118170'>can</span> <span m='118350'>use to</span> <span m='118500'>change</span> <span m='118800'>people's</span> <span m='119100'>lives.</span> </p>","file":{"id":356956,"video_id":"3217378881001","name":"2038-Linnea-p-Attorney","duration":120210,"thumbnail_url":null}});