You have landed on this page because you want to find out how to become a lawyer. Becoming a lawyer can seem daunting, and that’s why we put together this comprehensive guide to help you through the entire process. From studying for the LSAT to studying for your state’s bar exam, from applying to law schools to applying to your state bar association, we have you covered. You will also find some awesome tips and pointers from previous law students who have figured out what it takes to be a successful law student. We hope to outline the steps you need to take on your path to becoming a lawyer in your state. Pursuing a career in law can be a very exciting – albeit, grueling – process. LawPracticeHQ.com is here to help you survive the cutthroat competition and become a lawyer.
State By State Requirements To Become A Lawyer
As you might guess, every state in the United States of America has different requirements for becoming a lawyer. Although the general procedure is similar between all states, each ones varies slightly from one to the next. That can make it a little tricky to figure out what to do! To help you out, we’ve compiled a database of information from every state where you can learn about the general requirements to become a lawyer, as well as the more specific regulations that change state by state. Click on your state on the map below to find out more about your individual states’ requirements for becoming a lawyer, or continue reading below to make sure you have the basics down.
Click your state below.
How To Become A Lawyer: A General Overview
In most states the process to become a licensed lawyer is fairly similar. Though each state has varying requirements which may allow you to apply to the bar without law school, forfeit taking the bar exam, or take other “short cuts”, the majority of states have a similar process in place.
In most states, you will need to:
- Earn an undergraduate degree
- Take the LSAT
- Apply to your favorite law school
- Graduate from law school
- Take your state’s bar exam
- Swear the oath of attorney
To learn more about each step in the process of becoming a lawyer, continue reading the rest of this page.
Most high schools won’t offer classes that are specifically related to law; however, there are certain classes you can take that will look good on your college application, as well as classes that will help give you a strong background as you continue your education and begin to shift your attention towards law. Colleges and universities look for well rounded students, so your best bet is to expand your horizons, with an emphasis on classes that give you an understanding of history, psychology, social studies, and debate. Take as many AP courses as you can – not only will this increase your chances of acceptance into the undergraduate program of your choice, but they will help prepare you for the workload that you will be experiencing in college and later on, in law school.
Note: It is crucial that you earn the best grades that you are capable of. As mentioned above, this will not be important when you apply to law school, but having a good high school GPA will help you out immensely when you apply to college. Further, developing a good work ethic will go a long way in helping you out in your future career in law.
The next step is to complete your undergraduate career by earning a bachelor’s degree. While it isn’t absolutely imperative that you select a certain major, it may be useful to you if you pick a major that can somehow help you out on your journey to become a lawyer. Think about what might help you understand the United States’ legal system better, or the way people think and conduct themselves. Once again, your major is not all that important, but you should select something that you think will be useful to your future career, and something that you will enjoy studying. Above all else, it is highly important that you maintain a high GPA. This is what will help you out the most when applying to law schools. Keep up with your studies, and build relationships with the faculty and professors – you’ll need advice and reference letters when it comes to choosing the right law school. Towards the end of your time at college you are going to need to begin thinking about the LSAT. Some students take the LSAT during their last year; others take it after they have graduated. Whatever you do, just make sure that you are as prepared as possible. While you can take the LSAT more than once, it always looks better on law school applications when you have only taken it one time and received an awesome score.
Studying for the LSAT
The next step to become a lawyer is to pass your Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) – a law school prerequisite that you just can’t avoid! Just like in high school with the SAT or ACT, this test is very important for your admission into law school. This exam is made up of several 35 minute segments, including multiple-choice style questions and an essay at the end.
You’ll definitely want to be prepared for this, so you may want to look into taking LSAT practice exams, purchase LSAT study materials, or even find personal coaching to help you pass the LSAT. You can find more information of how to prepare for the LSAT at LSAC.org.
Remember: the LSAT and your undergraduate GPA are among the most important factors that admission boards look at when you apply to law school. Many law schools – like colleges and universities – have an unofficial minimum for these scores. It might be worth your while to check out what other students have to say about the law schools you are applying to.
Apply To And Graduate From Law School
The next step in becoming a lawyer is to graduate law school. Be sure to take the time to go over the law school requirements for each institution you are interested in attending. You will probably notice a big difference between your undergraduate studies and law school. The competition among students is much more intense, you will put forth more effort and achieve less, and sometimes your professors won’t even be able to pinpoint exactly what you did wrong on an exam. With a great work ethic and attention to detail, however, you will be able to figure out a formula for getting through law school and earning good grades. Be sure to take notes on everything, and always assume that if you don’t go above and beyond the requirements, you will fail. Work hard to find a formula for success in law school during your first year; it will be a great asset in your career.
Pass the Bar Exam
After you have graduated from law school, you must pass the bar exam. This will be a similar process to completing the other steps, in that you must study for hours upon hours in order to increase the chances of passing the exam. It is incredibly important that you pass this exam. Fortunately, this is not a one-shot-chance in most cases; most of the time you are able to take the Bar Exam additional times if you do not do well the first time. At this point, you are getting really close to finally becoming a lawyer – but you’re not quite there yet!
The Character Evaluation
The final step in becoming a lawyer is to undergo a thorough examination upon your character. This is known as the Character and Fitness examination, and it is a painstaking evaluation of your character and is used to determine whether you are of suitable moral character to be a lawyer. This evaluation takes into account many things, such as your criminal history, credit, medical history, and more.
Once you’ve passed all these exams, you’re all set to start developing your career as a lawyer! Now that you know how to become a lawyer, it’s time for you to hit the books, furiously scribble down notes, and do work! Click here to access all our articles on how to become a lawyer, and please get in touch with us on our contact form if there is anything we can do to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
What do lawyers do?
Lawyers are both advocates and advisors. They help solve–or prevent–legal problems for others. For example, a lawyer might:
Lawyers can do a lot of things. For instance, they:
- Represent clients in court
- Help clients sue when the client is mistreated
- Oversee the legal aspect of business operations
- Draft wills
- Teach others about law
Not all lawyers end up working in a courtroom representing clients. Sometimes, chose who have chosen to become a lawyer decide to work as a legal advisor to corporations, do behind-the-scenes work for big cases, and more. You can apply your skills as a lawyer to virtually any field of work you are interested in!
How do I prepare for law school?
The real work begins once you graduate (or shortly before) from your undergraduate studies. Although there are no requirements for which courses you should take while at undergrad, try your best to develop your abilities to:
- Write clearly, concisely, and logically
- Apply critical analysis to find solutions to problems
- Clearly evaluate an argument and argue your point logically
- Absorb, organize, and recall information
- Work well together with groups of people, and people who are very different from you
While there are no courses you must take to prepare for law school, it is wise to take courses that you believe will help you in these areas.
Before you apply to law school, you must also take the LSAT. This is a standardized test that is meant to assess your ability for a career in law. You must register several months in advance before attending law school; to register for the LSAT, visit www.lsac.org.
The LSAT is incredibly difficult, and requires no small amount of preparation. Many students opt to take an LSAT prep course or enlist the help of an LSAT tutor. You can browse LSAT tutors in your state here.
What is the LSAT?
The Law School Admission test (LSAT) is a law school entrance exam administered four times a year at hundreds of locations. This half-day test provides a standard measure of reading and verbal reasoning skills. Law schools use the LSAT score as one of several factors in assessing law school applicants. Many would-be law students take preparatory courses to help prepare for the test.
The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is a half-day entrance exam that law schools use to help determine who they will select for admission to their institution.
How long does it take to become a lawyer?
This is – in part – totally dependent on where you are at in your career. Generally, you can assume it would take about 7 to 8 years: 4 years to earn your graduate degree, maybe a year off between college and law school, and then 3 years in law school. Learn more here.
Which high school/college classes should I take to become a lawyer?
There really is not a definitive answer on this.Few, if any, law schools actually require certain courses to be taken.
You can find a more thorough answer to your question below:
High School Classes For Lawyers
College Classes For Lawyers