How to Become a Paralegal

The process of dispensing justice is complex, and it takes many hands and heads to ensure that justice is done. Right from the law enforcement agencies, to lawyers, judges, courts, and the support staff that makes this possible, all play an important role in the process. If you are the kind of person who believes in the ideas of fairness and justice, who enjoys researching and analyzing information, you may have it in you, what it takes to become a paralegal. These professionals assist a lawyer, in his research and lay all the groundwork for the case being argued, under his supervision.

Are you the kind of person who follows John Grisham novels? Do you enjoy watching and following courtroom dramas? Were you interested in being a part of the high school debating team but rather than arguing, you enjoyed being the researcher? Are you the kind of person who, instead of dashing into the limelight, prefers being in the background and doing your job thoroughly? Then, you should think about becoming a paralegal.

Job Description
Although, a paralegal is a legal assistant to a lawyer, he has no right to independently advise anybody on legal matters. An experienced legal assistant is like a lawyer’s shadow. He does a range of tasks, which primarily include the following:

– Handling of client interviews
– Contacting and following up with clients
– Conducting case investigation and witnessing interviews under a lawyer’s supervision
– Perform case background research and investigate facts
– Work on preparation of legal arguments
– Drafting legal arguments
– Organizing the entire documentation of case proceedings, research, and other paperwork
– Courtroom assistance to the lawyer during trial

These professionals are hired by law firms and individual lawyers, either as freshers or for their expertise in specific backgrounds. An experienced professional may decide to become a freelancer and work on a contract basis, for specific cases, with different lawyers. Employment opportunities exist in government offices, corporate companies, and even consumer organizations. This is definitely a great career for a person, who is willing to devote himself to acquiring expertise in legal assistance and applying it to streamline the procedure, for preparing a case.

Steps To Become One
Let us know about the educational background and certification, as well as the skill set, that you need to acquire. Here are some guidelines.

To become a certified paralegal, one needs to get a degree or certificate from a course conducted by any accredited educational institution, approved by the American Bar Association. It is good to go for such a course, after acquiring a bachelor’s degree, as most legal firms require it.

You require a maximum of four years of education, if you go for a degree course and two years for a certificate course. Cost to become one, will depend on the kind of institution and type of course you opt for. Some paralegals are chosen by companies or law firms, for their expertise in specialized fields of law and are later trained on the job.

One of the most essential skills required, is having an eye for minor details, understanding of legal procedures, and an ability to work hard. Skilled lawyers will never be short of work and neither will paralegals.

How to Become a Patent Lawyer

Patent law is a challenging field of work and a great choice for people with a strong sense of technology and impeccable verbal skills. Patent lawyers represent their clients and are responsible for filing the patents for them. They also provide legal advice to manufacturers and investors on patents. Becoming a patent lawyer takes a formidable education and training. Let us know more about how to become a patent lawyer.

Educational Requirements and Training
An aspiring candidate should have a bachelor’s degree in the field of science or engineering. Some of the bachelor degrees that one can take up before joining the law school are

– Biology
– Biochemistry
– Microbiology
– Electrical engineering
– Communication technology
– Civil engineering
– Mechanical engineering
– Chemical engineering

As you can see, all these degrees are in the science and technology fields. Candidates who have earned their bachelor’s degrees in other fields and still aspire to be a patent lawyer, provided they have earned specific number of credits. Depending upon your bachelor’s degree, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) puts you under three categories; A, B and C.

After completing the bachelor’s degree, a candidate has to clear the law entrance examination. One needs to get good ratings in this examination as it is very crucial for getting a good recommendation to specific law schools. Most of the law schools have three-year courses and in the first year, the students are taught constitutional law, civil procedure and property laws. In the second year, the students can choose their own legal interests. Students who are interested in becoming a patent lawyer study entertainment law, intellectual property law, copyright law, trademark law, antitrust law etc.

Students can also get a real experience of patent law cases by applying for internships at the US court of Appeals. Students can also take up advanced courses in the patent law field to enhance their prospects while applying for jobs. There are certain law schools in the United States which attract millions of applications every year, but unfortunately as the seats are quite limited, only some thousand students are able to make the cut. Let us take a look at some of the best law schools in America.

1. Yale Law School
2. Harvard Law School
3. Stanford Law School
4. Columbia University School of Law
5. University of Chicago Law School
6. New York University School of Law
7. University of Pennsylvania Law School
8. The University of Michigan Law School
9. University of California-Berkeley Law School
10. University of Virginia School of Law

Students who are interested in being a patent lawyer should know that perseverance and determination are the qualities to ensure success in this field. We hope that this article helps you in getting a brief idea about how to become a patent lawyer.

How to Become a Lawyer

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.