There are many things to consider when deciding whether or not to become a lawyer. In this guide, we will outline the basic steps for becoming a lawyer in the United States. While every state has different requirements, there are some commonalities that all aspiring lawyers should be aware of. So, whether you are just starting out your legal education or are already practicing law, read on to learn more about what it takes to become a lawyer in the United States.
Why become a lawyer?
Lawyers are in high demand. Lawyers are responsible for representing, advising, and arguing cases on behalf of their employer or client. They write contracts, review legal documents, prepare legal briefs, represent clients in court hearings, develop creative solutions to complex problems, and more.
A good lawyer can make six-figure salary graduates with law degrees are needed in all types of organizations. Lawyers are involved in business, finance, entertainment, education, publishing, public service/government agencies, nonprofit organizations, religious institutions, and many other fields.
Now you know why the law is such a good career path, let’s see what it takes to become one.
Get the right education
In order to become a lawyer, you need to get a law degree from an accredited law school. There are 200 ABA-approved law schools in the United States, including online and hybrid programs. Many institutions offer full-time day or part-time evening division programs.
Once you’ve applied to law school (and hopefully been accepted), you’ll need to fulfill your school’s practical training requirement in order for your degree to be valid. Practical training may require you to gain three months to one year of full-time legal experience under the supervision of an attorney (usually unpaid).
To become licensed, you will need to pass a state bar exam. To prepare for the exam, most law schools require students to take courses in professional responsibility and ethics, as well as U.S. legal system and western legal tradition.
For example, the American Bar Association requires that all applicants take a course in professional responsibility and complete at least one credit in legal ethics.
Find your niche
The next step, once you have become a licensed attorney, is to narrow down your focus. You can specialize in a particular area of the law. These days, there are countless specialist practices. You could be interested in medical law and malpractice and choose to focus on being a birth asphyxia lawyer. These are in high demand right now. Or, you could specialize in family law, or even sports law.
Some people choose to become general practitioners who are proficient in many areas of the law. General practitioners will argue cases in court on behalf of their client and may take on criminal defense work or file civil litigation on behalf of their client.
Get some experience
More and more new lawyers are practicing as junior associates for a few years before going out on their own. This provides an opportunity to gain experience under the supervision of an experienced lawyer or firm, learn about your clients’ needs, hone your skills under pressure, and develop a network of contacts. In addition, you will have access to mentors who can teach you the skills and industry secrets of becoming a successful lawyer.