If you have decided to be a lawyer by profession, we will congratulate you for a superb career choice. An inherent desire to argue for your point of view is absolutely essential in this trade, along with a fierce determination to see justice being done. A career in law requires a subtle mind that can understand and employ the intricacies of law, analyze evidence, and make an airtight legal argument to uphold justice.
If you are the kind of person who places truth, justice, and fairness above everything else, then this a career for you. If you want to know what it takes to become a lawyer, it’s necessary to understand the process of dispensing justice and learning the role played by a lawyer in the process. Learning the process of litigation and filing lawsuits is no child’s play as the justice system forms the backbone of every government and civilized society. To uphold freedom and ensure lasting peace in society, we need lawyers who can fight for justice.
Requirements to Achieve the Goal
Even though the road is long and tough, requiring years of hard work and patience, the only thing that can help you in through the journey is your passion for the profression.
Step 1: Work Hard in High School
Considering the long winding path of education that needs to be taken, the earlier you get into the process, the better it will be. If you are in high school, study hard and maintain good grades throughout. It’s good if you work hard on math and science as they will help in developing your analytical mind. Read as much as you can on various subjects.
Participate in debating and extempore speech competitions. This will build your confidence in public speaking and develop your ability to logically and methodically argue on a point. Good grades along with an exceptional SAT scores will guarantee you recommendations, which in turn will ensure that you get into a good college.
Step 2: Obtain a Four-Year Degree
Next step after high school is obtaining a degree in a subject with top class grades. You do not need to choose any specific major at the degree level. A degree with a major in any subject, of course, with excellent GPA, is necessary in order to be eligible for law school! In college too, participate in debating teams and develop your writing skills on various issues. Keep your eyes open for new developments and court cases. Go and attend the court when cases are being argued.
Step 3: Appear for LSAT
You need give the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) after graduating college. LSAT is similar to SAT, but specifically designed to evaluate your aptitude for law school. It is a half-day test consisting of multiple choice and essay questions. The test requires considerable preparation and is no way an easy exam to clear. Get study material for SAT and start preparing as early as possible. Practice writing essays on various issues that matter. This test will gauge whether you have it in you, to survive graduate level law school. You will be given an admission into a law school, based on your GPA and LSAT scores.
Step 4: Graduate Law School
What follows is three years of grueling law school which will introduce and train you in every aspect of law. You will need to study various subjects of law that will test your mettle. Exams at law school are mostly about writing essay questions and you need to master the technique if you hope to graduate from law school. Besides learning the details and structure of law, there will be actual court trials and past cases to study.
Step 5: Study and Pass the Bar Exam
After graduating from law school, you need to clear the bar exam. This exam will test what all you learned in your three years of law school.
The bar exam pattern and rules vary from state to state in the United States. You generally need to clear four exams set by the ‘National council of Bar Examiners’ which are as follows:
– Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
– Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)
– Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)
– Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
Once you clear all four, you need to appear for another test, which is called the ‘Character and Fitness Evaluation’. If the bar exams test your brains, this will test your ethical and moral foundation. As a part of the evaluation test, your entire background and medical record is checked. This evaluation may seem a bit offending but it is necessary and is part of the process. This ends your formal legal education and you are formally a lawyer after this. However the real education in law starts after this. You are free to practice law now.
What are Your Options After the Bar Exam
You can either start your own law practice or join a legal firm. The second option is better as you can gain some much-needed experience from working with lawyers in such firms. So if you ask me how long does it take to become a lawyer, it’s seven years. It takes at least five more years to establish yourself as a lawyer. You can go for specialized practice by becoming a divorce lawyer, a criminal defense lawyer or a bankruptcy lawyer. There are many more specialized practices that you could opt for.
Furthermore you should read Harper Lee’s timeless classic, ‘To kill a Mocking Bird’. The character Atticus Finch symbolizes what it really means to be a lawyer and to be just! We wish you all the best for your career as a defender of justice. Hope you enjoy the process of dispensing justice and being a part of this great process.