5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Lawyer

Did you know there are 1.3 million lawyers in the United States? If you want to become a lawyer, it’ll take a lot of hard work and determination. But it can be well worth the effort.

Popular crime dramas like the Law & Order franchise might have triggered an interest in the profession. While you shouldn’t base your entire perception of what it’s like to become a lawyer on made-for-television programs, the intense courtroom battles, cut-throat law firm politics, and personal stories of the main characters might be part of the allure of getting into the profession.

But TV programs and movies won’t show you how to become a lawyer in the first place. Continue reading to see how to realize your dream of entering the legal profession.

1. Complete an Undergraduate Program

After high school, you’ll need to complete an undergraduate degree — typically four years — and three years of law school. You must be prepared to invest seven years to achieve your goal. While you don’t have to complete any specific bachelor’s degree program, many people who apply to law school do so after earning an undergraduate degree in journalism, English, or business. The sky’s the limit since you can get whatever bachelor’s degree you want.

2. Take and Pass the LSAT

In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree, you have to take and pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Your score will factor into whether or not you get an acceptance letter or a rejection letter. Since the LSAT is essential to your law career goals, you’ll want to put in the required study time. The better you do, the better your odds of enrolling in the law school of your choice.

3. Apply to Law School

The next step in the process is to enroll in law school. Ensure the school is accredited by the American Bar Association. Admission committees at these law schools will look at various factors to determine whether or not you get accepted into their programs. For instance, they’ll examine your grade point average, LSAT score, recommendation letters, and community service.

4. Earn a Juris Doctor Degree

You also need to earn a Juris Doctor degree. It’s an undergraduate degree you’ll need to work as a lawyer in the U.S. or Canada. Law school will, as was mentioned above, take three years to complete. As you pursue your Juris Doctor, you can focus on the area of law you’re most interested in — such as real estate law, family law, criminal law, or some other area of law.

5. Pass the Bar Exam

Before doing the bar examination, you must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. It’s a two-hour exam with 60 multiple-choice questions.

You next need to take and pass the state bar examination. You must take the state bar exam before getting the go-ahead to practice law in that state. Different states have different guidelines for their bar examinations, so you’ll want to understand all the applicable requirements.

State bar examiners will, in addition to considering the bar exam results, assess your education, skill, character, and other things before determining whether to grant you a license to practice law.

After getting approval to practice law in the state of your choice, you’ll be on your way toward achieving your dream of being a practicing lawyer. It’s a good idea to get a job at a law firm even before you take the bar exam. 

For instance, you can become a law clerk to get your foot in the door. After being admitted to the bar, you can potentially get a job as a lawyer at the same law firm where you’re doing your clerkship. 

Now that you know what it takes to become a lawyer, are you still interested? It can be a rewarding career that pays well and offers the opportunity to make a difference. But it pays to know what goes into achieving this goal to see if you’re up for the challenge. 

Featured Photo by Sora Shimazaki: https://www.pexels.com/