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What type of careers should i explore if i want to become a lawyer when i grow up ?

I am a sophomore and i´m looking for career options for lawyers and what college classes do i have to complete . Also how many years of college do i have to complete to become a lawyer .
#lawyer #attorney #career-options #lawyers #business-lawyer #future

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Jenna’s Answer

In the US, you need to complete high school, then you'll need an undergraduate degree, which traditionally takes about 4 years, then law school itself, which is another 3 years. I recommend concentrating on getting good grades and challenging yourself in high school classes and focusing on your undergraduate qualifications. If there is a debate club or other extracurricular activity that involves writing or logic or something like that, it would also be worth getting involved in, to practice those skills. While you are in undergrad, focus on getting good grades, and you can meet with your guidance counselor to help select your major and your classes, and let him or her know you are interested in law school.

Being an attorney provides lots of options- you can always be a litigator and go to court, or work for a big firm, but there are plenty of attorneys (like myself) who never go to court. You can work for a small firm, or for yourself, as in-house counsel at a company, or as a judge or a governmental position. Then there's teaching and research, and of course, things that don't have to do with traditional law practice, but having the credential and the experience will definitely give you a lot of options outside of the traditional scope that most people think of when they think "lawyer." You've got some time to make these decisions, though, so get good grades, try different things, and be flexible as you learn more. Good luck!

Thanks :) I really appreciate the advice you´ve given me Quaterya T.

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Charles’s Answer

Hi Quaterya,

Generally, you will need to graduate from a four-year college or the equivalent (2 years of junior college or community college and 2 years in college). You don't need to study in any particular field to be a lawyer, although many majored in political science, history, English, philosophy or economics. Those with a strong science, math and engineering background might find a place in patent law, since this type of attorney needs to understand how machines and products are made in order to apply for and defend the company's patent. If you love to debate and write persuasive essays, then you could make a career as a litigator. If you are more numbers oriented, tax, corporate or finance law would be an excellent choice.

Lawyers can work for themselves in a solo practice, hire on with a law firm where the goal is to become a partner, or work for the government or a company, as I do (Managing Attorney for an insurance company). Many graduates of law school go on to teach law or other subjects, or work in businesses in a non-legal position where knowledge of the law is a plus (negotiating contracts, conducting real estate transactions, working in finance, etc.)

My general advice to potential litigators is to have an open mind, think critically, anticipate opposing arguments and responses to those arguments, and to have a thick enough skin that you don't take professional arguments too personally. You should take college courses that require you to critically evaluate positions, write papers, answer essay questions (rather than multiple choice or true/false), and justify your positions. The field of law is interdisciplinary. For example, a litigator needs to have an excellent command of English, good speaking and writing skills, and an understanding of basic human psychology to discern the motives and often hidden objectives of the opposing party, It is helpful to have a common sense approach to dispute resolution. In my opinion, all litigators should keep in mind what Abraham Lincoln counseled:

"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a
real loser---in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will
still be business enough."

Good luck and best wishes as you finish school and discern whether to enter the legal profession.

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DENNIS’s Answer

Hi Quaterya: Jenna's answer pretty much nailed it. Get good grades, follow your own passions and get involved in extra curricular activities. You will need to finish high school and then go to college to get into Law School. Keep your grades up so that it will be easier to get accepted to law school. Unlike Jenna, I was a litigator and in court almost everyday in New York City. The good part of that was I had to learn a ton of different stuff all the time. I had to learn about construction practices, auto accidents, malpractice, and medical issues. You are learning all the time. Plus you need to write a ton of things for court. The path yu follow as a lawyer will depend on the person you are. Some people love sports and become sports agents. Some love research and get involved working with different groups where researching assorted legal issues are a major ite. Others work in the Court system helping administering justice. So follow your own passions at this point in life. Following your own passions will help you grow as a person and help define the type of lawyer you want to be later in life! Good luck. Keep your nose clean and enjoy the journey!

Thanks . I really appreciate your response Quaterya T.

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Sharool’s Answer

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