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What specific requirements does it take to become a lawyer?

I always admired lawyers and people of such since elementary school and have always wanted to pursue that as my career, but I always wanted to know what it all takes to become one so I won’t get lost and confused in the future. #lawyer #law #college #business

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Jenna’s Answer

Don't worry about getting lost or confused- that's part of the process. You can still admire lawyers but decide to go into a different career field, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of different types of lawyers and career paths out there, so it's more important to determine what you admire about attorneys- do you want to work in an office? Do you like the idea of research? Do you want to work directly with clients or for a company? Once you identify what about lawyers attracts you, then you can have a better idea about if you want to be a lawyer, or what kind, or if there is something else you want to do that captures these qualities.

The most important thing, especially if you do want to be a lawyer, is to get good grades in undergraduate, and in law school. It also helps to be able to look at the same issue from many different viewpoints, and what are the strengths and weaknesses of each position, and being able to state that in an easy to understand way.

You have a lot of time to make a final decision about your career choice, so focus on school, and make an appointment with your guidance or career counselor and they can help you make some decisions about classes and other academic things that will influence your ability to be a lawyer in the future. Good luck!
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Autumn’s Answer

Hi, Jaida! From one Detroiter to another, it's really exciting to to get and answer this one!

Being a lawyer can be a fun and rewarding career. No matter what you do with your degree (and there is a TON you can do career wise), it all requires a few things. Some are:

1-Patience: I commend you for already knowing that you want to practice as that's a really important step. With that decision out of the way, be ready to be patient with regard to the next steps. It will take time to decide the right school, the right concentration, the right mentor, whether you want to sit for the bar, etc., not to mention the classes, papers and exams that await you for the 3 years of law school. Which brings me to my next one...

2-Persistence: as you go through the process, from applying to law school while in college to getting in, there may be moments of doubt, frustration and even times times you consider quitting. If this is truly the career path for you, stay the course. We all have had disappointments: bombing an exam, not getting into your top school, a tough schedule. I failed the bar exam the 1st time I took it. As disappointed as I was, I knew this was what I wanted to do. In those tough times, let out your anger/frustrations (I used to do yoga and vent to friends back home), don't wallow in them and KEEP PUSHING.

3-Flexibility: it's very tempting to think that everything will happen according to your plan or how you dreamed it. During the times when you experience a detour, be flexible enough to embrace it. Just because it doesn't happen the way you thought or wanted doesn't mean it isn't going to work out. It may even be better for you. Also, should you happen to go to law school and determine that it isn't for you, don't be afraid or ashamed to go discover what is. You are allowed to change your mind.

4-Creativity: one of the most appealing parts about getting your JD (juris doctorate) is how useful it is. You don't have to practice law in the traditional sense. You can be a teacher, negotiate contracts on behalf of big companies, be a sports agent, write legislation or help non-profit organizations understand the legal framework of their industries. Additionally, there is no one path to success for lawyers. Plenty of people who never interned at the big firm or even knew what they wanted to do were able to figure it out by staying open and thinking outside of the box.

I'm so excited for you as you start this journey. You're already off to a great start so I know the sky is the limit for you. Best of luck!

Autumn recommends the following next steps:

Keep learning as much as you can about law school, like LSAT prep, the different programs offered at different schools, etc.
Tap into any resources. See if you can get in touch with any attorneys through family, church, career orgs.
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Jane’s Answer

To become a lawyer, you will need to complete several specific requirements. Here are the general steps to become a lawyer in the United States: To be eligible to attend law school, you must first have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. You will need to take the LSAT to be considered for admission to law school. The LSAT is a standardized test that measures your critical thinking, reading comprehension, and analytical skills. After completing your undergraduate degree and passing the LSAT, you will need to attend an accredited law school. A law degree typically takes three years to complete. After you graduate from law school, you will need to pass a bar exam in the state where you want to practice law. The bar exam is a comprehensive test that covers a wide range of legal topics. Each state has its own specific requirements for becoming a lawyer, so you will need to check with the state bar association for any additional requirements. These may include completing a certain number of hours of continuing legal education, undergoing a background check, and/or passing an ethics exam. After you have met all the requirements, you will be granted a license to practice law in that state.
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Jan’s Answer

Hi Jaida: I'm from Detroit too! I graduated from Wayne State University and University of Detroit School of Law. Currently, I live in Northern Virginia near Washington DC. In response to your question, in order to become a lawyer, you must have a high school diploma, a college degree in any discipline and a law degree. Before you apply to law school you will probably have to take an entrance exam referred to as the LSAT. There are courses that you can take to help you prepare for the LSAT. Law school is typically a 3 or 4 year commitment. I attended law school for 4 years because I worked during the day and attended law classes at night. It was very rigorous and at times exhausting but that investment of time and energy was worth it. Your undergraduate degree can be in any field. I was always interested in criminal justice so my undergraduate degree is in criminal justice. More important than the type of classes you take is your commitment to working hard and getting good grades. This will help you to get into a good law school. Once you graduate from law school, in order to practice law, you will have to take a bar exam in whatever state you wish to practice. There are courses you can take and study guides to help you prepare for the bar exam which is very lengthy and difficult to pass. While pursuing a legal career is a long, challenging process, if you are sure that you want to become a lawyer, then work hard and study hard and I am confident that you will achieve your goal.
Best of luck!!
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Becky’s Answer

Hi Jaida, I'd agree with what Jenna has said in that you have plenty of time to decide what you really want to do. I didn't decide that I wanted to become a lawyer until I was in my twenties. Things may be a little different here in the UK, in that I read History at university and then did a one-year law conversion, but I think having a broad education has really helped me.

Work experience is a really good way to see what day-to-day life as a lawyer is like, and the more you can get the better because law firms / corporates can vary so much. You may also be able to sit in at some public courts / tribunals, which gives you another perspective.

Good luck, it is a very rewarding career :)
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Kim’s Answer

Jaida,

The basic path to becoming a lawyer is:
1. graduate HS
2. get a 4 year degree, in just about any subject. Choose one you'd like to work in if you DON'T become a lawyer; or, choose one in a field of law you'd like to specialize in ( for example, if you want to specialize in medical malpractice, you may get your bachelor's degree in a healthcare related field). Get good grades in college
3. Pass the LSAT with good scores - Law School Admissions Test, normally taken while still in College. It is not an easy test. There are special classes you can take to prepare yourself for the test.
4. Go to Law School - 3 years, full-time. Some schools do not allow you to have jobs while going.
5. Pass the Bar Exam for the state(s) you want to practice in
6. Find a job. It is common to intern over the summer while in law school, with hopes the firm will hire you once you pass the bar. Finding a job is pretty competitive, so you may end up working your first job as a lawyer in a field that really doesn't interest you. Do well, find another job.

Along the way, you want to challenge yourself academically and acquire good study skills - you will need them in law school! Take writing, grammar, debate, Latin vocabulary, logic, speech. Develop strong critical thinking skills. Develop good working relations with HS teachers and college professors, both of whom you may need for letters of recommendation.

What is it about law that interests you the most?

Wishing you success!

Kim
Thank you comment icon I am really grateful you took the time to answer this question. ansley
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