Want to Become a Lawyer? Here’s How

Differences Between Attorney and Lawyer

There are many career choices available and each has its pros and cons. Your skills, personality, and interests play a vital role in choosing the right profession. You may have decided to become a lawyer and would like to know the steps involved in reaching that goal.

Attorneys are an essential part of a functional society. They advise and oversee business dealings, wills, land purchases, divorces, and many other life events. The criminal justice system could not work effectively without defense attorneys and prosecutors. It takes a considerable amount of education to become a lawyer.

Skills a Lawyer Must Have

Before embarking on a path geared toward landing at a law firm such as Tully Rinckey, you should assess your skill set to make sure you have the necessary attributes to succeed as an attorney.

The most essential skills for a lawyer include:

  • The ability to solve problems
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • A logical and analytical mind
  • The ability to conduct thorough research

Your education will enhance these skills and teach you others but it will be difficult to succeed if you don’t have them to begin with.

A Bachelor’s Degree

Before you can begin law school, you must earn a bachelor’s degree. As an undergraduate, you can pursue a pre-law degree. However, this is not necessary. There are other majors for prospective lawyers and when choosing, consider which type of law you would like to practice. For example, a degree in business would be helpful if you plan to go into corporate law. Your courses should include those that build communication, research, and problem-solving skills. Philosophy classes are excellent electives for future attorneys.

Take the LSAT

Most law programs require that you take and pass the Law School Admissions Test. This exam assesses whether or not you are ready for the rigors of law school. In recent years, a new exam, the Graduate Recognitions Exam has become accepted as an alternative to the LSAT by many law schools.

It was first accepted by Arizona State University in 2016 and Harvard the following year. Many ABA-accredited law schools including Columbia, Cornell, and Yale also accept the GRE. A law school personal statement is also required as part of your application.

Earn Your JD

A law school program usually runs for three years. Successful completion will earn you a juris doctor. Your education will prepare you to pass the bar exam. Most states require a JD and it is the most traditional path to becoming an attorney.

There are states that allow you to take the bar exam after taking a specific number of hours of law courses or by apprenticing with an experienced attorney or judge. Check the specifics of your state for details.

The Bar Exam

Upon completion of law school, you must take the bar exam for the state in which you hope to practice. This test has multiple parts and is long and challenging. You may have to take it more than once to pass but this is common.

When taking the exam, you will be asked questions to determine whether you have the character and mental fitness to be an attorney.

Oath and License

After passing the bar exam, you take an oath in which you swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and carry out your duties with integrity.  You can then receive a license to practice law in your state. At this point, you can begin to apply for positions with firms such as Tully Rinckey Law.

The path to becoming an attorney is long and challenging. It is well worth the pursuit as being a lawyer is a vital and honorable profession that also pays well.

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Want to Become a Lawyer? Here’s How
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