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How many degrees and years of school are needed to become an immigration lawyer?

I want to know what requirements I must achieve in order to live my dream of helping unite families and bring peace to immigrants

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Mitchell’s Answer

It doesn't take any longer or more education to become an immigration lawyer than to become any other kind of attorney. You must go to a college or university and complete a four year degree, take the LSAT and get into a law school. Normally, law school takes 3 years. Then you take the bar exam, and if you pass it, you can get admitted to the bar of some state. To be an immigration lawyer you'll want to be admitted to the federal bar in one or more states, but that's easy to do at the same time you are admitted to the state bar.
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Salma
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Joseph’s Answer

Courses in immigration law might include topics such as:
Immigration law.
International human rights law.
Refugee and asylum law.
Labor law.
Racial justice and law.


For most people planning to practice law, including immigration law, the JD is the standard degree. But some law school graduates go on to pursue other degrees or credentials requiring additional study, such as the Master of Laws (LLM) or the Doctor of Science of Law/Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD or SJD)
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Salma !

It's fantastic that you are acquiring information about becoming a lawyer and I can share some information that I hope you find useful.

To become an Attorney in the State of California, you obtain a Bachelors Degree, preferably in Political Science or anything related to law or government. You will than take the Law School Admission Test (the LSAT exam). You then apply to and enroll in Law School. You then receive your J.D. Degree (Juris Doctor). The process is a seven year duration and I do not recommend cutting corners or taking a fast track with this study. There's a lot to learn and many people you will meet in those seven years that will be beneficial to your career. You then take the California Bar exam which is a two day exam.

Once you pass the California Bar Exam, you will apply for admission to the state Bar. There is an admission fee and you will need to show them that you've passed the Bar exam by giving them a copy of your results. There is also a moral character application involved in applying for admission to the Bar.

It's great that you want to specialize in Immigration, but try to keep an open mind about the type of Law to practice because you never know which realm will be offered to you after you become an attorney. You will learn in law school that every American has a right to an attorney and that will leave it wide open to the type of cases you will have opportunities for and the amount of people that you can help. If you want to specialize in Immigration Law, it helps to be bilingual and to know the current immigration laws, both Federal and State as they have changed. Keep up with any further changes that happen. It would also help to take some sociology courses in undergraduate school, too. There may be some online courses that would help and be informative, too.

There is a free Immigration Law course online that will give you an overview and I have left the link for it below. Do a search on Coursera to find and consider additional introduction classes you may take. Ask your guidance counselor at your school or a teacher if there is any group that you can join that does simulated trials. That would be great experience for you. Also apply for work study for your undergraduate years and seek work study jobs in the political science department or an office or program related to Law. These are all things that will prepare you with experience. As for requirements, the Law School that you apply to will let you know all the requirements. If you know which Law School you might attend, read their admissions requirements so you will know. Then go back to their website closer to the time you will graduate from undergrad school. Information sometimes changes and requirements are specific at various colleges. Finding out the requirement now will help you decide which classes in high school to take and which courses in undergrad college to take.

I hope that this is helpful and I wish you all the best !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

IMMIGRATION LAW ONLINE COURSE https://www.coursera.org/learn/us-immigration-law
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Michelle for the advice. Salma
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome, Salma ! Michelle M.
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Karissa’s Answer

A Bachelors degree is 4 years then law school is 3 years. This is a total of 7 years after high school. If you take AP classes in high school you could reduce it to 6 years.

Karissa recommends the following next steps:

Take AP Government
Take AP Psychology
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the help. Salma
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