A lawyer is very high profile job with lots of options for you to choose from. You can operate your own practice, work for a firm or land a job with the local, state or federal government. There are many different specific areas of law that you can enter into, including criminal, civil, litigation, tax and many more. You can choose whichever area of the law which interests you and the type of law you want to study and defend. Becoming a lawyer is not easy to do and require an immense amount of schooling and you must be able to successfully pass the bar exam. You should have a lot of determination and a good memory since you will be required to remember many different laws and court cases. If you are interested in becoming a lawyer, you should start early in your life, even high school if possible.
There are some classes in high school you can take that will help you out further in life. They include history, English, economics, communication, political science, and psychology. AP classes can help because it will show you what a college class is like and count toward college credit to help you get your degree faster. College classes are rigorous and hard and AP classes are set up to show you just how hard college can be. Lawyers deal a lot with critical and analytical thinking, so any classes that can help out with this in high school would help. This will also give you a chance to see if you would like this type of work and if in fact becoming a lawyer is a career you would like to pursue in the future.
Debate is also a good thing to undergo in high school. Many people have a fear of talking in front of an audience. However, starting debate in high school can help you to overcome this fear while you are still young and give you an immense amount of experience. Lawyers debate back and forth all the time and need compelling arguments in order to win a case. Debate and speech classes help students to debate issues back and forth among each other. Students need to have compelling arguments in order win a debate as do lawyers. Therefore, debate and speech can help you succeed in your road to becoming a lawyer.
Lawyers think critically, logically, and analytically, so taking classes in college that deal with these areas can help you become a better lawyer. In college you do not need to have a specific major in order to become a lawyer, you can choose any field for your undergraduate degree. Your advisor and counselor can advise you to study a certain field that will help you in your career as a lawyer. Criminal Justice, political science, history, English, economics and government are all subjects that can be your undergraduate degree field of study and help you to become a better lawyer. In order to gain admittance into a law school you only need a bachelor’s degree of undergraduate study.
It is important to keep your grades up because law schools look at undergraduate grades before admittance. Study groups and study plans can help students to keep up their GPA’s. Disciplining yourself through college and studying hard will also help you with your transition to law school where you will be given massive amounts of school work that you are excepted to stay on top of. Almost all colleges have a debate team and if you want to be a lawyer, you must join one of these teams at the college level. This will give you more experience speaking in front of others and you will get to debate other students many of who also want to become a lawyer. This will be good experience to get you ready for the courtroom.
The Law School Administration Test (LSAT) is a test students must take before they can enter law school. The test should be taken a year before students apply to law school. This test measures logic and analytical reasoning as well as reading and writing abilities. It will take students a half-day to finish and can be taken up to four times a year. The test consists of five 35-minute sections of multiple choice questions. Out of the five sections only four are graded and count towards your score. Getting a good score on this test is an essential part of getting into law school.
Many colleges and universities have ways to prepare for this test. They have courses students can take and study groups. There are also libraries full of books that students can sign out that deal with LSAT testing and public libraries also have these books. It is vital that you take this test very seriously, even if you are permitted to take it several times. You will greatly increase you chance of be admitted to a great law school if you scores are high enough.
In order to become a practicing lawyer you need to obtain a Juris Degree (J.D.), which is obtained by going to law school. Law schools choose students based on their LSAT scores, GPA’s from undergraduate schools, and submission essays. Law school applications can be very expensive so make a list of the schools you are thinking of before applying. Choose an ABA-accredited law school because they are the best and will provide you with better opportunities for your future.
Law school takes around three years to complete. This will be one of the hardest times of your life because law school is hard to get through. Many schools have study groups, which are good to join because not only will you have people to help you study but you will meet other students who want to become lawyers as well. In your spare time it would be good to read and study cases, research law and write briefs. These are good ways to prepare you for life as a lawyer. Libraries are open any time for students to go and study and have peace and quiet.
Bar Exam and Finding a Job
The bar exam is usually taken the summer after you complete law school. First, you must apply to take the test in each state and jurisdiction you plan to practice but it is recommended that you focus on only one state at a time. Each state gives their own test, with their own requirements basically because different states have different laws set in place. It is good to study and prepare yourself for this test and most students take time off of work for a few weeks prior to the test so that they can dedicate their time to studying. Take some books out of the library and come up with a strategy for studying and a strategy for taking the test. Also part of the bar exam is a character and fitness evaluation that everyone must take. After passing the bar exam, you officially become a practicing lawyer and can work anywhere within the states you took the bar exam in. Many people decide to work for the government, service agencies, private firms, and some also make their own practices.