Requirements to become a lawyer
There are a number of steps to take to become a lawyer in the United States. Overall the process will take you at least seven years after graduating from high school. Students need to receive an undergraduate degree, take the LSAT (law school admissions test), receive their Juris Doctor (J.D.) from an accredited law school in the United States, pass the bar exam in the state they wish to practice In, undergo a character evaluation, take an oath, and finally receive his or her law license. This article will walk readers through these steps in greater detail.
The Path to Law School
Students must receive an undergraduate degree in order to apply to a graduate law school. It is impossible to be a lawyer in in the United States without attending a graduate law program. Law school admissions is competitive and is largely based on a student's undergraduate GPA and their LSAT score. The most competitive law schools admit students with GPA over 3.75 (meaning they mainly received As their entire four years of college. The average accepted GPA at Yale Law School for instance, is 3.90!
After getting excellent grades as an undergraduate, students need to register and take the dreaded law school admissions tests, otherwise known as the LSATS. The LSATs consist of five 35-minute sections. Students spend weeks, if not months, preparing to take this exam as it can be the be all or end all of admission to law school. The test tests your logical reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical reading skills. Test scores range from 120 to 180. Most decent law schools require you to have a LSAT scores above 150. Again, your GPA and your LSAT score are the most important factors in a students' admission to law school
Earning your J.D.
Law school in the United States is three years full-time. At the end of your studies you will receive a juris doctor. Law school is universally known as one of the most challenging graduate programs a student in the United States can undertake. Students should be prepare to spend three years of their lives life running on little sleep and coffee. First year students will be exposed to many new ideas and a new way of thinking like a lawyer. They will learn to scrutinize previous judicial opinions and examine case methods. They will also get a background in the basic types of law such as constitutional law, torts, property law, and criminal law.
Surprisingly enough, the second year of law school is often considered to be the busiest year of law school as professors assume you have a level of knowledge coming into their classes. More detailed, complicated legal theory will be introduced. Many second year law students will try to join various clubs, organizations, and journals to make themselves more competitive applicants in the job markets. Securing internships and clerkships are very important during the second year.
The third and final year of law school can be stressful because many students do not know the path that looms ahead and are worried about passing the bar exam. However, bar exam pass rates are generally high at the best institutions. Students should definitely start studying for the bar exam while they are in their third year. They should also start thinking about employment opportunities.
The Bar Exam and Final Steps
The path to becoming a lawyer does not end when you graduate from law school and earn your juris doctor. On the contrary, law school graduates must register and pass the bar exam in the state they intend to practice in. Bar exams vary state by state. The bar exam is overseen by the American Bar Association. The exam takes two to three days to complete, has 200 questions, and covers six different areas of law. In addition to passing the bar, students must also pass the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination, It is a test to examine a new lawyer's understanding of professional standards. All states but three require lawyers to take this exam which is available three times per year.
If a individual passes the bar and the standards examination then they are able to take their oath to protect the U.S. Constitution and start practicing law. Of course, they will need to find a job first. The job market for lawyers is somewhat saturated. Attending a reputable law school and standing out with a busy extracurricular life and a high GPA will help new lawyers find a job in the market.