Why Practice Personal Injury Law?

Why Practice Personal Injury Law?

Why Practice Personal Injury Law?


Movies and television portray personal injury lawyers in two basic ways: either as heroic figures who risk all to bring justice to their clients, or as seedy ambulance chasers. Like so many stereotypes, these fail to stand up to scrutiny. There are as many different types of personal injury lawyers as there are doctors, teachers, or carpenters. People who work as personal injury lawyers are drawn to this type of law for a variety reasons. Some like the excitement of doing battle on behalf of their clients, fighting to get them what they deserve. Many personal injury lawyers speak about how they feel satisfaction knowing that they are providing vulnerable people with necessary support. Some lawyers choose to work in this area after trying other branches of the law, because, unlike many legal professionals, personal injury lawyers really get to know their clients’ stories, and are able to make a meaningful difference in their lives.


Most times, a personal injury lawyer enters his or her client’s life when they are at a low point. Usually they’ve suffered serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident, a work accident, a slip and fall incident, or other mishap. They may be in a hospital or a rehabilitation facility. They may need 24-hour care, be undergoing physiotherapy, or be in pain. Very often a client is in financial straits due to his/her inability to work. Sometimes he or she has just learned that they may never walk again, or see again. In the most tragic cases, the lawyer’s client is the grieving family of the accident victim, who has died due to his/her injuries. It takes a special kind of person to be able to work with people under these types of difficult circumstances. It also takes time: the best personal injury lawyers are willing to spend many hours with clients getting to know everything they can about their clients and their situations. Fighting for compensation – and some measure of justice – following an accident is not only an emotional journey for the client, but also for the lawyer who works on the client’s behalf.


Personal injury lawyers are “people persons,” but they’re usually good at taking care of details, too. Paperwork in these cases is onerous and very exacting. Numerous forms must be filled out completely and accurately, and many types of supporting material must be submitted as well. Experienced personal injury lawyers are skilled at knowing which documents are required, and at meeting deadlines, but each case is unique; every injury is unique, and every client is unique. 



Becoming a Lawyer


In Canada, there are generally two criteria that law schools use for selection: your undergraduate marks, and your LSAT test scores. The majority of law school entrants have an undergraduate degree in a discipline such as history, political science, or English. The expectation is that your average should be 80% or greater. The LSAT is a lengthy standardized test that evaluates logical and verbal reasoning and reading comprehension. The test is made up of many multiple choice questions and is timed. You will receive a score out of 180 and a percentile score that lets you know the percentage of people who scored lower than you did. Your percentile score should also be greater than 80.


Most law schools also have special entry programs for people who may not meet the first two criteria, but who have life experience that may prove valuable. These individuals often do better than their younger counterparts. Law requires a certain amount of maturity.

There are twenty law schools in Canada. It’s not necessary to attend law school in the province where you intend to practice, but if you want to practice in Canada, you should attend a Canadian university. Each school has its own criteria, and its own “selling points.” The University of Windsor, for example, offers a dual Canadian/American law degree. The U Vic program features three co-op work placements. Law school is very demanding, with a high workload, and competitive students. Most law schools mark on a bell curve, meaning that few people in your classes will receive A’s.


After you graduate from law school, you must complete your articling program, a ten-month full time placement with an Articling Principal. Articling is meant to provide students with an orientation to the actual practice of law, an understanding of the role of lawyers, guidance on the ethical responsibilities that lawyers must address, networking and mentor opportunities, and some knowledge of law as a business. Once you finish articling, you can write the bar exam.



Choosing a Personal Injury Firm


Many new lawyers choose to work in a large firm. Conventional wisdom holds that having one of the big firms on your resume will help you to get jobs later on. However, if you’re interested in personal injury law, you’ll want to look at smaller firms. The advantage of smaller law offices is that you will likely be given more responsibility, and more opportunity to try out your legal skills.


Becoming a personal injury lawyer can be a satisfying and rewarding career choice. Learn more about how you can fight for justice for injury victims.