So you’ve seen them on television and movies and read about them in books, and you were intrigued. You’ve done some research, and you’re interested. You’ve decided you want to be a lawyer—congratulations! But how do you become a lawyer?
Work Hard and Do Well in College
If you are sure you want to be a lawyer even in high school, you should choose a college or university that has a pre-law advisor and where you can choose a major that will prepare you for law school in the best way for you. There is no specific major required in order to attend law school, but it is necessary that you graduate with as high a GPA as you can manage—that will make your journey to become a lawyer much easier. Learn to study, learn how you learn, and continue to speak to the pre-law advisor at your school.
Between Your Junior and Senior Years of College, Study for and Take the LSAT
Statistically, most pre-law students take the LSAT in the summer or fall—the June or October exams. This is because the summer is the perfect time to dedicate to studying for the LSAT, which is a very unique and challenging exam. It also sets you up to have an LSAT score leading into application season and should allow you to submit applications well ahead of all of the school deadlines.
Apply to Law Schools
Once you have your LSAT scores, you should begin submitting applications to law schools. While there is no magic number of law schools that a person should apply to, it is recommended that you choose at least a couple of safety schools, a couple of good match schools, and a couple of reach schools. Make sure you do your research into the schools, especially if you are interested in a particular area of law—you want to make sure that each school you’re applying to has coursework in that area, or maybe even a specialization.
Work Hard and Do Well in Law School
You’re in law school! Now is the time to buckle down and really commit to your desire to be a lawyer. If you were admitted to a top tier law school, congratulations—your elite education will be recognized throughout the country, and you will be challenged daily in order to prove that you earned it. Law school will likely introduce you to the Socratic Method and will teach you not only about the intricacies of the law, but also how to think like a lawyer. Your grades will matter, especially if you’re trying to get summer internships, so work hard and study like crazy in the three years that you’re there. Need some help adjusting? There are plenty of resources to help you make the most of your time in law school.
Study for and Pass the Bar Exam
Once you’ve earned your JD, the next step is studying for and passing the state bar exam for the state you’d like to practice law in. The degree of difficulty of the bar exam varies by state, but no matter what, you definitely need to make studying a near-full-time job in order to practice the profession you spent three years learning about. Need some study assistance? While there are many standard bar exam study programs, it is better to find one that understands the state you’re testing in and that caters to you and your study needs.
Find a Law Job
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of the line—you can legally practice law! Now’s the time to throw yourself into the job hunt, if you weren’t already doing so while you were studying for the bar exam. Law firms have different requirements for hiring, but you should definitely make sure you interview well, so practice a little. Once you achieve this final step, you’ve done what you set out to do—you’re a lawyer!
A career in law is challenging, and requires a lot of education and even more hard work. If it’s what you truly want to do, though, it is definitely worth it. Good luck on your journey to becoming a lawyer!