How to Become a Lawyer
Before you can become a lawyer, you must first get a JD. The American Bar Association accredits 204 law schools, including Ivy League and middle-tier schools, as well as some proprietary schools. In terms of career prospects, you should attend the top-rated school. The higher the school’s ranking, the better, because it increases your chances of getting a job as a lawyer.
Law school is a three-year program
The first year of law school is filled with a rigorous course schedule. Most classes are graded on a single exam. Grades are very important in the first year, because they determine who gets a clerkship for a judge or a position at a prestigious law firm. Furthermore, many prominent law firms recruit from the top 20% of the student body. Similarly, law reviews select their staff from the best first-year students.
Although most applicants to law school do not pursue this option, it is possible to finish a JD degree in two years. Often called a “fast track” program, this option involves a special course of study based on an accelerated learning schedule. A typical accelerated law program consists of 33 credit hours. A full-time program will take four or five years, while a standard program will take three years. Alternatively, a joint degree program allows you to earn your undergraduate degree and law degree in six years.
Getting good grades
Obtaining high grades in law school is essential for a number of reasons. While many top law firms prefer attorneys with academic honors and prestige, it’s not impossible to break into such a firm without a stellar GPA. Law school grades are a proxy for potential; employers can determine whether an applicant will be a good fit for the firm based on his or her past work performance. However, if you have no prior experience or are unsure about your abilities, it is best to obtain high grades in your undergraduate courses.
Students who want to attend Harvard Law School should work hard in their undergraduate courses. In particular, they should aim to earn A grades in every subject they take. If they don’t, they should seek out help from a tutor. They should build relationships with their professors. Although a high GPA is not mandatory for admission to Harvard Law School, students who are already juniors or seniors should aim to maintain a strong GPA. Moreover, if a particular course doesn’t yield stellar grades, students should try retaking it.
Taking the bar exam
Taking the bar exam is a very important step if you want to practice law. There are different types of bar exams, and they can take as long as six hours. The MPRE is a two-hour test with 60 multiple-choice questions. This test evaluates your knowledge of judicial and legal standards, as well as your skills as a lawyer. The MPRE is typically taken during your second year of law school. There are three tests administered each year, including the Multistate Bar Examination. Each state sets the passing score for the MPRE, so it is important to read the bar admission guide for the specific state.
After you have completed the bar exam, you can practice law. There are different types of exams, and you will have to decide which one suits you best. Most states allow you to practice law in the state in which you were born and raised. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may decide to take the exam in a state that has fewer regulations regarding law practice. If you choose to study at a university, you’ll have a better chance of passing the test.
Job opportunities as a lawyer
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for lawyers will grow in the future. Growth in population and in general business activity will create a need for legal services, but large accounting firms and paralegals are also able to perform some of the same functions. As a result, lawyers are finding themselves in nontraditional roles. For example, many attorneys are now consulting with businesses or advising individuals, so their job may not involve the same degree of responsibility as a traditional lawyer.
While the economic climate has weakened demand for attorneys, job opportunities remain good for those with experience and those looking for lateral moves. Although the market is weak, demand for attorney jobs in New York is still high, especially in litigation-oriented areas and litigation-oriented matters. In addition, demand for attorneys in anti-trust, employment, and patent law fields has grown modestly. Intellectual property is one area that continues to grow, with opportunities in trademark law and pharmaceutical licensing.