General Attorney

Public Sector
Last Updated:
September 12, 2023

Job Description Overview

Are you curious about what a General Attorney job description entails? In the Public Sector industry, a General Attorney plays a critical role in providing legal advice to government entities. This includes handling complex legal issues, drafting and reviewing contracts, representing government entities in court proceedings, and providing guidance on compliance with laws and regulations. They may also work closely with government officials to develop policies and regulations. 

To become a General Attorney, one typically needs to earn a Juris Doctor degree and obtain a license to practice law. Strong analytical and communication skills are also essential, as well as the ability to work independently and handle a large workload. Given the diverse nature of legal issues faced in the public sector, General Attorneys must stay current with changes in laws and regulations, and have a keen eye for detail. Pursuing a career as a General Attorney in the Public Sector can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Represent the government in legal matters, such as lawsuits and criminal cases.
  • Provide legal advice to government officials and employees.
  • Draft contracts, laws, and regulations.
  • Ensure compliance with government laws and regulations.
  • Participate in negotiations and settlement discussions.
  • Conduct legal research and analysis.
  • Attend hearings and trials on behalf of the government.
  • Draft legal briefs and memorandum.
  • Work with other attorneys, departments, and agencies to achieve legal goals.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a General Attorney in the Public Sector industry, you typically need to have a few things under your belt. First and foremost, you need a law degree from an accredited law school. This involves spending three years in law school, learning about things like legal writing, analysis, and advocacy.

In addition to a law degree, you'll also need to pass the Bar exam in the state where you want to work as an attorney. This exam tests your knowledge of the law, and you need to pass it to become licensed to practice in that state.

Finally, it's also important to have some experience under your belt. Many law firms or public sector agencies require attorneys to have experience working on cases or in a specific area of law. Throughout your law degree program, internships, or externships may provide valuable work experience and connections in the field.

Salary Range

General Attorney salary range in the Public Sector industry typically ranges from $50,000 to $170,000 per year in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for lawyers working in the government sector was $102,910 in May 2020, with the highest 10 percent of earners making more than $194,000.

In Canada, the average salary for a Senior Legal Counsel in the Public Sector is around CAD 148,500 per year, while in the United Kingdom, General Attorneys working in the government sector can earn an average of £44,000 to £90,000 per year.

Salaries vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and employer. Lawyers in large metropolitan areas tend to earn more than those in rural areas. Senior attorneys with many years of experience typically earn the highest salaries.


  • Bureau of Labor Statistics:
  • PayScale Canada:
  • Totaljobs UK:

Career Outlook

The career outlook for a General Attorney in the Public Sector industry over the next 5 years is good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of lawyers is projected to grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. General attorneys, who work in a variety of legal fields, are expected to see a steady demand for their services. Jobs in the public sector, including government agencies and non-profit organizations, provide job stability and steady salaries.

As government regulations and laws continue to be enforced, legal services are constantly needed in the public sector to help ensure that citizens' rights are protected. Thus, the demand for general attorneys in this sector is not expected to decrease. Those who are interested in becoming a general attorney in the public sector can expect to have good job prospects in the coming years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a General Attorney in the Public Sector do?

A: A General Attorney in the Public Sector provides legal advice and representation to government agencies and public officials. They handle a wide range of legal issues, such as constitutional law, administrative law, and contracts.

Q: What qualifications do I need to become a General Attorney in the Public Sector?

A: To become a General Attorney in the Public Sector, you need to have a law degree from an accredited law school and a license to practice law. You may also need to pass a background check and meet other eligibility requirements set by the government agency you're applying to.

Q: What skills are important to have as a General Attorney in the Public Sector?

A: It's important to have strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and excellent communication skills. The ability to work under pressure and handle multiple cases at once is also important.

Q: What is a typical day like for a General Attorney in the Public Sector?

A: A typical day involves researching legal issues, drafting legal documents, meeting with clients, and appearing in court or administrative proceedings. Attorneys may also attend meetings with government officials and work closely with other attorneys and support staff.

Q: What challenges do General Attorneys in the Public Sector face?

A: General Attorneys in the Public Sector may face challenges related to budget constraints, changing laws and regulations, and navigating complex legal issues. They may also work on cases that involve sensitive or controversial topics, which can be challenging.

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