Before you start practising as a lawyer, there are specific steps you need to take. You will have first to complete your undergraduate and graduate degree programs then you need to go through the licensing process. Before you take up this profession, you need to ask yourself why you are choosing this profession and if you are willing to put yourself through years of studying law.
If you are sure that you want to become a lawyer the following are some of the guidelines to help you begin your career:
Bachelor’s degree program:
You need to have a bachelor’s degree to get admitted to a law school. You can come from any background and area of study. You can do an undergraduate program in law, but you can also choose political science, English, business philosophy, economics etc.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT):
After completing your undergraduate degree, you need to focus on clearing the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Getting good scores in LSAT is one of the main components of the law school admission process. The schools use the LSAT scores to measure the student’s knowledge. The exam measures the candidates in areas such as legal work, information management, critical thinking, reading comprehension, argumentation and reasoning.
Identifying law schools:
There are many law schools, and you need to make sure that you identify the good one. Make sure that the American Bar Association accredits the law school. Apart from your GPAs, LSAT scores, coursework, and other academic work some of the factors for the admission process include organisational affiliations, community service, recommendation letters etc.
Juris Doctor (JD):
Once you complete the Juris Doctor (JD) degree, you will be allowed to practise law in the United States of America. You need to be aware of the curriculum, faculty and the area of study before applying for this degree. You need to choose your area of expertise and the area in which you are going to practise law. Some of the options available are criminal, tax, family, property, environmental, real estate law etc.
Most of the states require students who are accredited by an ABA-approved law school. They also should have cleared the bar examination to practise law in that particular state. You have to spend two days to complete your bar examination. In the first day you have to do your Multistate Bar Examination, and the second day you will have to take up a writing exam which deals with legal matters. Some of the other factors such as competence, educational background, ability to represent others, educational background are all considered before issuing a licence.
Advancing in your career:
As a lawyer, you have many opportunities to improve your career. As a fresher, you will be working as associates with the seasoned lawyers and after some time many attorneys may rise to become partners in a firm, or they will choose to start their own law office.