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How long does it take to become an immigration lawyer?

I am fifteen years old and want to know how to get into law school to become an immigration lawyer to help out others. #lawyer #law-school

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Subject: Career question for you

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Desiree’s Answer

In the US, assume minimum of 7 years of schooling to become a lawyer: 4 years (typical) undergrad + 3 years (typical) law school. No matter what type of law you want to practice* you need law school and it's core courses to sit for the Bar Exam. During law school, you will be able to select elective courses in immigration law and, depending on the law school, perhaps get additional certification in immigration law.

*There is an exception for engineers/scientist who sit for the Patent Bar Exam and practice as Patent Agents/Patent Attorneys.

Desiree recommends the following next steps:

research law school in general
research law schools with focus on immigration law & determine their admission criteria so you can plan your undergradulate degree courses
research law school costs and scholarships (or loan forgiveness programs) for which you might be eligible
research immigration attorney salaries to best be able to budget for law school and loan repayment
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charles’s Answer

In general, it should take no longer to become an immigration lawyer than any other type of attorney. I practice law in California, so I don’t know what the requirements are in Massachusetts, or any other states. Here are the general requirements to become an attorney (at least in California):
• Generally, a college 4-year undergraduate degree is required, with excellent grades and letters of recommendation
• Some states have an alternate requirement to study under the sponsorship of another lawyer. However, this is extremely rare.
• Completion of three years of law school
• If you enroll in an ABA-unaccredited law school (again, at least in CA), you are required to take and pass what is known as the “Baby Bar” – a State Bar-type test that covers material studied in the first year of law school (generally the required basic courses, such as Torts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Contracts and Property Law).
• Pass the State Bar in the state or states where you want to be licensed to practice law. (Some states allow for reciprocity; others, like CA don’t – except for one State, Georgia). The CA State Bar exam has historically been held over three days, six hours each day; with 6 1-hour essay questions; 2 one-half day practical exercises (draft a pleading or petition or Legal Memorandum); broken up by the full-day Multi-State multiple-choice exam.
• Pass a background check, that includes references, running fingerprints, etc.
• Attend a swearing-in ceremony
In California, attorneys can obtain a Certified Specialist designation in eleven different practice areas, including Immigration Law. To maintain this certification, you must:
• Take 36-hours of qualifying Legal Specialist training over a 3-year period
• Re-certify in this field every 5 years

The advantage of obtaining a Certified Specialist designation in the field of Immigration includes the ability to advertise or hold yourself out as having attained this distinction, which should, at least in theory, bring in more clients.
I hope this answers your question, Juliana, at least generally; since I don’t know in which State you want to practice law. Good luck to you as you consider your options, which include the potential of studying to be an attorney at law in the field of immigration
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