Requirements to Become a Lawyer

Law School

There are a number of requirements to become a lawyer and they are variable from state-to-state across the nation. Lawyers function as both advocates and advisors, assisting individuals, groups, businesses and corporations on solving or preventing legal problems. It is important to read the description of a lawyer.

What Do Lawyers Do?

Lawyers have a number of functions such as:

  • Drafting Wills
  • Drafting legal Consent for Cremation documents
  • Representing clients in Family Law matters
  • Prosecuting a Criminal Law matter
  • Advising in a Landlord / Tenant dispute
  • Memorializing a document or a site

Requirements to Become a Lawyer

The requirements to become a lawyer and for admission to practice law in most states of the nation are very similar, in general an individual must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Obtain a Bachelors Degree in History, English or Business (4 years)
  • Take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
  • Graduate from an accredited law school with a Juris Doctrate Degree (3 years)
  • Take the Baby Bar Examination in the first year of law school
  • Undergo a character review
  • Undergo a criminal background check
  • Take the Bar Examination

Law School

Admission into law school is extremely competitive with several thousand individuals competing for only hundreds of slots in various law schools across the nation. The coursework in law school is rigorous and requires taking instruction in classes such as:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Tort Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Tax Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Estate Law
  • Labor Law
  • Mediation

Elective classes can include:

  • International Law
  • Entertainment Law
  • Sports Law

There are also practical classes and programs such as "Moot Court" where law students get the opportunity to practice defending and prosecuting cases with their peers in a courtroom environment. There is quite a lot of practical application in working as a team in law school because students are expected to work with other classmates in study-groups and as teams in the defense or prosecution roles of assessing case law. The reason for this practical training is because Attorneys work in teams such as this when they are employed by law firms.

Bar Examination

After the completion of law school, prospective lawyers take the bar examination, which is typically a two-day examination offered twice per year. On the first day, applicants take a national multiple-choice examination. The second day consists of 12 essay questions reviewed by the states Board of Bar Examiners. Upon passing the examination the lawyer becomes a member of the Bar Association and receives a license to practice in their state. Continued Legal Education (CLE) is required throughout the career of the attorney in order to ensure that he or she remains up-to-speed on changes and modifications of the legal legislation and statutes regarding their state of practice.

Becoming an Attorney without Law School

The requirements to become a lawyer are also available without attending law school in seven of the United States.

States That Do Not Require Law School
California Maine New York Vermont Virginia Washington Wyoming

Each of these states has a program that enables an individual to study for four-years with a Judge or an Attorney, take the Baby Bar Examination in the first year and take the Bar examination after the four years is completed.

Non-Educational Requirements to Become a Lawyer

In addition to obtaining the academic requirements for becoming a lawyer, a number of personal questions should be asked before committing to such a rigorous program. For example, individuals need to ask themselves if they:

  • Truly believe that a person has a right to a defense even if that person is guilty of what they are being accused of
  • Are able to investigate facts and see both sides of a story and how both sides could be arguably won by virtue of facts and data
  • Ar able to remain unemotional even in an adversarial situation involving many other individuals who disagree with their opinion
  • Have a mind dedicated to seeking facts and over-turning every stone and overcoming any obstacle to find the facts and vigorously defend or prosecute any individual

The Cost of Obtaining a Law Degree

The costs of obtaining a law degree are variable depending on what schools you choose for the Bachelors Degree and the Juris Doctrate Degree. Between both institutions it is reasonable to expect that the costs could run anywhere between 50,000 and 200,000 dollars.

  • Written by Sherry Ferrar>o
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