Even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment opportunities for lawyers to grow by only 10 percent by the year 2020, occupational prospects are more resourceful in California. The state currently employs the second largest number of law practitioners in the nation, behind New York.
As more law school graduates enter the profession, analysts expect competition for enviable positions to become more vigorous. The top industries seeking qualified candidates to handle criminal or civil litigation and other proceedings include health care, legal services and all levels of government.
“We have one of the largest criminal justice systems in the country,” said Joel C. Koury, a trial attorney at Law Offices of Joel C. Koury. “The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office are the largest offices of their kind in the nation. The volume and complexity of the cases we see in this city are really second to none.”
Atty. Koury dedicated two decades of his life defending the rights of others, both locally and federally, prior to launching his own practice. At the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, he directed legal teams that were handling serious felonies. He also oversaw and evaluated the performances of more than 100 first-year attorneys.
The laudable UCLA alumnus, lecturer and teacher said his decision to enter the criminal justice system was motivated by an obligation to public service.
“My concern was with those people who are among the poorest economically and poorest educated members of our society, because they are more likely to find themselves caught up in the criminal justice system,” said Atty. Koury, who earned his law degree from Loyola Law School. “If they find themselves wrongfully incarcerated, money may help ease their transition back into society, but no amount of money can ever completely compensate them for the time that has been stolen from them.”
He added that becoming an in-demand trial attorney stems beyond possessing the proficiency to craft legal documents or manage clients and transactions.
“If you are committed to giving your heart and soul to helping others, it is not just a job,” Atty. Koury said. “In some way, we are the legal equivalent to emergency doctors working in an urban trauma center.”
“The best lawyers serve as the backbone of the criminal justice system. They are the ones that cut their teeth at the agencies where they observed, encountered and applied valuable skills,” said Atty. Koury.
“There is no substitute for experience. If you were looking for a surgeon, would you prefer the one that has done a similar surgery 200 times or the one that’s only done the surgery six times?”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.