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What kind of things/classes should I be taking if I want to be a lawyer?

Hi! My name is Sabrina! I am currently a 9th grader! I want to be a lawyer when I finish high school! #futurelaywer


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John’s Answer

Sabrina, If you interested in learning about the process of becoming a lawyer. Aspiring lawyer you must first complete bachelor's degree before applying for law school which typically takes three years to earn a Juris Doctor degree.

FOUR STEPS TO PREPARE TO BE LAWER IN HIGH SCHOOL

Even before you start looking into colleges, however, there are a number of things you can do in high school to make yourself a good law school candidate and a better eventual lawyer. These steps will also improve your college admissions chances and prepare you for doing well in undergraduate classes.

STEP 1.) HANDS ON EXPERIENCE – Even as a high school student, you might be able to gain hands-on experience in the legal profession. Whether it’s a summer job or an internship for course credit (or even just an informational interview with a friend’s lawyer parent), learn all you can about what lawyers do and how the profession operates. It will place you ahead of the typical law school applicant who’s never seen a legal brief or visited a courtroom. And it will help you figure out if you should go to law school.

STEP 2.) ADVANCED PLACEMENT CLASSES – College is difficult, and law school is even harder. Taking challenging courses in high school will help prepare you for the demands of maintaining a high GPA as an undergraduate, which is one of the most important factors for maximizing your chances of law school admission.

STEP 3.) STUDY FOR YOUR LSAT – is one of the most challenging standardized tests available is the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). It is also one of the most important factors that law schools consider in their admissions criteria. If you know you want to go to law school, give yourself ample time to prepare for the test. Familiarize yourself with the content and format. Do tons of realistic practice problems and questions from actual LSATs. Determine your content weaknesses, and then do enough studying and practice problems to improve your weaknesses.

STEP 4.) IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS – Communicating skillfully and clearly is important, both in applying to and succeeding in law school. Even in high school, you can start practicing these skills. Sign up for your school's speech and debate team or try out for a play to start practicing your public speaking. Take writing-heavy courses, such as challenging English and history classes, to improve your writing. If your high school has the option of writing a senior thesis or presenting a capstone project, this can help you work on communication skills as well as learn good research techniques, another important skill for undergraduate and law school.

FOUR STEPS TO BECOMING A LAWER

STEP 1.) BACHELOR'S DEGREE – Although the American Bar Association doesn't designate a particular path of study for prospective law students, some colleges and universities have pre-law programs that can supplement majors in political science, history or related fields. Students in these programs fulfill the requirements for their majors, as well as additional courses in constitutional law, legal research and related classes. Students wishing to specialize in a field like taxation may consider gaining undergraduate experience in accounting through a major, internship or employment. Students in these majors generally have numerous writing assignments and research projects which can prepare them to read legal briefs. Assignments may range from covering theoretical concepts in political science to making arguments in moot court, a seminar-like activity allowing students to play various roles in a trial.

STEP 2.) LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS TEST – In order to enter law school, applicants must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as undergraduates. Students then submit college transcripts, LSAT scores and completed applications. After reviewing applications, law schools notify candidates whether they are accepted or not.

STEP 3.) JURIS DOCTORATE (JD) DEGREE – Law school generally lasts three years and culminates with you receiving your JD degree. Programs begin by covering fundamental topics in civil procedure and constitutional law. This may be done through case-study and precedent analysis, which is when you read over previous cases in order to understand the arguments made by both sides and the final decision rendered. Once core requirements are complete, in your second and third years you'll take electives, such as bankruptcy or family law. These opportunities allow law students to help prepare cases, revise arguments and gain better understandings of day-to-day practices in law offices or courts.

STEP 4.) THE BAR EXAME – In order to practice law, attorneys must be licensed. Although some states practice reciprocity, allowing lawyers who have passed another state's bar to practice within their borders, each state has its own respective licensing exam. Additionally, some states may require graduates to take the Multi-state Performance Test, the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination, a local state bar exam or all three exams.

Sabrina, law school can be the most challenging and rewarding years of your life. However, admissions can be a difficult and stressful experience. Start your preparation early and you will improve your chances of attending the law school of your dreams.

Hope this was Helpful

John recommends the following next steps:

Research Undergraduate Schools – Many law schools, have close traditional relationships with some undergraduate universities.

Thank you so much!! This was very helpful! Sabrina E.

You are Welcome Sabrina, It was my Pleasure. The more we praise and celebrate life, the more there is in life to celebrate. John Frick

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Kuei-Ti’s Answer

John's answer was good, especially the step of researching undergraduate schools. Here are some additional things you can do:

1. Prepare for SAT or ACT if they're required for applying for the undergraduate school/program you want to attend.

2. Check what high school classes are required for applying for the undergraduate school/program you want to attend. Take those classes.

3. Consider taking an MOOC: https://www.classcentral.com/search?q=law

MOOCs are usually free and self-paced, so there's little pressure.

4. Learn the difference between evidence and proof. Not only is understanding their difference important in law, it's useful in other areas, such as physics, too. It can also help identify fake news.

5. Learn the difference between formal logic and informal logic as well as their roles in law.

6. Learn Boolean logic - it can be really useful for solving LSAT Logical Reasoning problems.

7. Learn a non-English language if you plan to have clients who can't speak English. Sometimes interpreters can help, but if time permits, it doesn't hurt to know another language. Just make sure you still work on making your English good.

8. Build solid foundations of STEM subjects such as physics, chemistry, engineering, etc. if you want to be a technology patent lawyer. While you won't need to be a scientist/engineer yourself, it's highly likely you'll have to communicate with scientists/engineers and avoid holes that might trap you if you know little about science/engineering/technology.

Kuei-Ti recommends the following next steps:

Prepare for SAT or ACT if they're required for applying for the undergraduate school/program you want to attend.
Check what high school classes are required for applying for the undergraduate school/program you want to attend. Take those classes.
Take MOOCs.
Learn the difference between evidence and proof, learn the difference between formal logic and informal logic as well as their roles in law, and learn Boolean logic.
Learn another language and/or build solid foundations of STEM subjects.

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Grace’s Answer

Hi Sabrina! I am a lawyer and I found that the top skills to succeed as a law student and as a lawyer are (1) reading, and (2) writing. You will read a LOT in law school and writing strong, persuasive, concise arguments is key to success. If you want to do work in the courtroom or as a litigator, public speaking is also very important. If you have opportunities to study debate or public speaking, that is a great foundation. One thing to keep in mind is that if you want to work in a technical area like patent law, it is necessary to have a science background in order to understand the complex subject matter. But other than something like patent law, a solid foundation in reading comprehension, analysis, writing, and public speaking will get you far!

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Keith’s Answer

Political Science
US Government
Debate/Forensics
English - composition writing

Best advice is to learn effective study habits. Without that, regardless of your coursework, your path will be more challenging.

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