Becoming a lawyer takes a lot of time and effort, so it begs the question of whether it’s worth it to become a lawyer? It takes years to finish law school and pass the bar, and the cost of law school is extremely high. To be a practicing lawyer, you must also deal with all types of clients who may or may not cooperate with you. Nevertheless, once you pass the bar, all the exertion would be worth it.
A lot of years of determination is required as it is one of the hardest professions to get into. It needs years of challenging education and a lot of demands. Furthermore, becoming a lawyer is a difficult task as there are not many law schools that are cheap and accredited by the ABA. The law schools that are available only select some of the best students with a high GPA. Even after that, the struggle does not end. Some requirements include excessive reading, quick intuition and precise problem-solving skills.
The primary conditions include:
- A bachelor’s degree
- Good score on the LSAT
- Earning a Juris Doctor degree
- Passing the bar exam
Process of Becoming a Lawyer
1/ The first step to reach your goal is to complete a bachelor’s degree. The American Bar Association (ABA) does not focus on a single major as a requirement to complete your bachelor’s in. The ABA welcomes all fields ranging from mathematics and economics to psychology, social sciences, liberal arts and English.
2/ The second step is to complete the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). The test features five questions in the multiple-choice category, and it also features a writing sample which is not scored. It is essential to get a good score on the LSAT as this will serve as a significant assessment method in the law school admission process.
3/ The LSAT exam functions as the judging criteria to measure your skills in areas of reading, problem-solving, critical thinking, reasoning, investigation, information management and argumentative techniques. It displays your potential to become a good lawyer.
Along with the LSAT scores and an undergraduate degree, you must have prior community service experience and recommendation letters from legal professionals or educators. This helps get into a good law school which is ascribed by the American Bar Association.
4/ The next step is to earn a Juris Doctor degree (JD). This is a degree recognized all over the United States and allows you to practice law in the country. This provides options for choosing curriculums in the area you are interested in. For instance, you can get a Juris Doctor degree in practicing family law, criminal law, divorce law or real estate law.
After getting a JD, it is required to pass the bar examination to get your license to practice as a lawyer. The testing guidelines for each state are different. The bar examination takes two days:
- The first day requires candidates to complete the Multistate Bar Examination.
- The second day necessitates a writing exam which focuses on a variety of legal matters.
Along with the result of the bar exams, the candidate’s character, background information, education and ability to practice law are also weighed.
5/ The final step is to start your career. This can range from starting small as paralegals in firms and working for the district attorney to working as an associate or shadowing a known lawyer in their firm.
Becoming a Lawyer with a Felony
As passing the bar exam involves background and character checks, most people perceive that a criminal background will stand in the way of becoming a lawyer. However, this is untrue.
According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements 2015 (1), only three states in the United States along with the Northern Mariana Islands restrict a convicted felon from practicing law. These states are Kansas, Mississippi, and Texas.
When it comes to the background check stage, it is crucial for you to give all your personal information with full honesty as it shows character development and identifies that you have learned from your mistakes and are now willing to give back to the society.
For a convicted felon, it is necessary to choose the state in which you want to practice law. Before registering for the bar exam, you must provide the bar counsel with full information of your conviction. It is recommended to give them a pardon evidence for the felony verdict.
Further evidence for the improvement of your character should also be provided so that they can assess whether you are ready to be on the right side of the law.
After looking at all the evidence to judge the fitness of one’s character, the bar counsel will approve your registration, deny it or put it on hold for some time.
Good Colleges for People Who Want to Be Lawyers
There are several great colleges to choose from to study law.
Top Ranked Ivy League Universities
- Yale University (which has been given the first position as the best law school in 2009-2013 and fourth position in 2012)
- Harvard University
- Stanford University
- University of Chicago
- Columbia University
Good Academic Universities at a Low Price Range
- University of Alabama
- Georgia State University
- Louisiana State University
- University of Nebraska
- University of Georgia
The Easiest States to Become a Lawyer
- South Dakota is rated to be the easiest state to pass the bar exam as it has a passing rate of 94%. (2)
- Although California has a passing rate of only 50%, it has the minimum requirements for being eligible to apply for a bar exam. It does not require an ABA-accredited law school education, but an education from an online course or a non-accredited law school is given importance.
- Indiana, Minnesota, and Nevada are the most forgiving states regarding allowing convicted felons to register for a bar exam.
- Connecticut allows you to get admission on motion. It also permits for your motion to show that you practiced law in the last five of the total ten years as compared to other states’ rule of practicing law in the last five of seven years. Connecticut also counts teaching law, working for the government and being in the military as practicing.
Hopefully, the post has answered some of your questions. If you do not achieve the desired result for some reason, there are other opportunities out there for you.
(1) – Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements 2015
(2) – National Data for 2016 MBE and MPRE Administrations