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What would be expected of someone who wants to become a lawyer?

What should I be be expected to know emotionally & educationally?

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Kong’s Answer

The first and foremost thing is that it is a LOT of reading. And it is really dense legal jargon. Depending on where you are in your schooling, you might want to take a job as a law clerk at a nearby law firm, or try to intern at the District Attorney's office. That will give you some insight as to how the job will be after you get your law degree and pass your state's bar exam.

You will need to obtain your undergraduate degree. Depending on what type of law you want to eventually practice, your bachelor's degree can actually help. That is, if you want to practice patent law, then having a bachelor's degree in a science is EXTREMELY helpful (i.e., biology, chemistry, even engineering).

Once you have your bachelor's degree, you will need to study and take the LSAT. The high score is 180, so the closer you get to that, the better your opportunities are with being accepted into a higher tiered law school (that is, Tier 1 includes Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc.; Tier 2 is like UC Hastings - San Francisco; and Tier 3 is almost all lesser known law schools). You can take the LSAT as many times as you want, but the scores will be averaged, and of course, you don't want to have to take it TOO many times. But rest assured, as long as you score over 150, any Tier 3 school will take you. To note, there are also online law schools now.

Once you get into law school, the first year is all the general law subjects all schools conform to no matter where you go (i.e., Contracts, Property, Crimes/Criminal Procedure, Torts, Evidence, Constitutional Law). The second year is where you start to take more elective requirements like Corporations, Community Property, Wills and Trusts, etc., that all combine to prepare you for the bar exam after graduation. Your 3rd year is pretty much any other electives you want to take to fulfill your credits requirements for graduation.

After your first year, the school makes its rankings of students and based on those rankings you will either be invited to participate in the school's law journal, or not. If you rank in the top 10%, usually you will be automatically on the law journal (this is a very coveted position for anyone who attends law school). Typically the next 11-30% have an opportunity to "write-on" and/or try-out to be on the law journal. You want to take every opportunity to do so as this is looks great on your resume. Otherwise, your school will have other groups such as Moot Court (simulating appellate court brief writing and oral arguments), and Trial Advocacy (simulating actual trials). Any and all of those will help your resume.

Also during your 2nd year, you want to get into some legal intern position that your school should be able to provide some recommendations. This internship could potentially lay the groundwork for a post-graduation, post-bar exam passage, full-time job.

Then after the long 3 years (or 4 years if you decide to do a part-time program), you graduate and study day and night for the bar exam which is typically a 2-day exam (depending on the state you live-in and/or want to get licensed). One day should be all essay questions, and the other day is all multiple choice (called the Multistate Bar Exam, or MBE). You may not pass the first time, but it's ok, a lot of people take it multiple times.

Logistically, this is what to expect. EMOTIONALLY, it is definitely a lot to handle. Law school is very intense and can be very ego-destructive. In other words, if you did well in undergrad and thought it was a breeze, be prepared to handle the onslaught of law school as it can be very unforgiving. The biggest thing to remember is, all the materials are completely learnable. Just focus on your work, don't get too caught up in what everyone else in your class is doing, and just work hard and ask for help from your professors whenever you need it. No matter how nasty they can potentially be in class, all professors were there at one point so they know what you are going through.

As for your personal relationships during law school, you probably will not have many friends outside of people you know from school. It takes very understanding friends to still be there for you when you keep telling them you have to study. Just know that if you are on that path, and you know what your goal is, just keep at it and the friends who are true will never leave you. Same goes for your family.

Do your research, lay out a path for where you want to be at the end of law school/passing the bar, and stick to it.

If you need any other advice, I am happy to walk you through.

Good luck.
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Maria’s Answer

Kong’s answer is great and already shared a lot of detailed info. I fully echo his comment about what area you want to focus/ develop after law school. Keep that in mind to see which undergrad can help you better later on. He shared biology if your path is for a patent attorney (also engineer degrees are a good option). If you like political - diplomatic approach, think of history or political science. If you want to be an in-house attorney (the one that works on exclusive basis for a company), a business degree will be extremely helpful. If you would like to work abroad or
with people from other places, learn additional languages. In terms of soft skills, emotional intelligence, negotiation techniques, public speaking, …
Anything you learn will be helpful and sooner or later you will use it ;)
Wish you the very best!
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