Becoming a lawyer is one of the most challenging efforts to undertake as a student and young professional, and as many people in the legal profession say, it is a decision not to be taken lightly. You will need to sacrifice a lot of hours and days for years before you get your license to practice law and set your foot on the courtroom floor.
However, that effort pays off, eventually. Lawyers are well-positioned to make a six-figure salary in the U.S. The median annual wage of lawyers in the U.S. in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor, was $126,930, or $61.03 per working hour. The lowest 10% earned less than $61,490, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.
So, if you’re interested in becoming a lawyer, you’re at the right place. Still, before giving you the essential steps to becoming a lawyer, let’s see what lawyers actually do professionally.
What Do Lawyers Do?
In a few words, lawyers provide assistance to individuals and corporations throughout legal proceedings. They draft legal papers, testify in hearings and trial cases, and put together cases. Dealing with legal and criminal justice specialists, as well as taking notes, are all additional responsibilities.
There is a slight difference between being a lawyer and being an attorney. Attorneys are also lawyers, but lawyers are not attorneys. To become an attorney and represent someone legally, you need to pass the bar exam after finishing law school.
Step 1: Earn A Bachelor's Degree And Get Prepared For The LSAT
Getting into a good college is very useful in the path to becoming a lawyer, as it’s the time when you get acquainted with fields connected to the law as a system. For that reason, it is useful to choose an undergraduate major such as political science, economics, English, or philosophy, as in this way you will spend your undergraduate time in a way that gets you attuned to what lies ahead in law school.
Choosing the right BA degree is also beneficial to your preparation for the LSAT. All ABA-accredited law schools in the United States and Canada accept the LSAT as a single exam as a necessity for admission. Although some institutions accept GRE results in place of an LSAT score, a strong LSAT score is typically regarded as the most crucial component of a law school application. It is also valued as the main prediction for the performance of law students in the future. It is not an easy test to take, so it is advisable to hire the help of professional online tutors in the field to maximize your chances of passing and getting a good score.
Step 2: Get Into A Good Law School And Earn A J.D.
A high-ranked law school will enable you to get the best possible education to become a good lawyer. A good lawyer is also a well-paid lawyer. Once you have passed the LSAT it is time to get the applications rolling.
A private school is obviously the best choice, but you need to consider your financial situation and the ability to take up a significant student loan. According to Penn State University, tuition and fees at a private law school cost an average of $49,312 per year in 2019. However, private schools can even cost up to $70,000 or more. Tuition and fees at public law schools averaged $41,628 per year for out-of-state students. In-state public university students paid an average of $28,186 per year.
During the first two years of your J.D. studies, you will be directed to general studies. However, in the last year, you can choose a more specific field such as constitutional law, or international law, or choose a more practical field such as trots, and open up your own personal injury law office like Rush Injury Law. After finishing law school and obtaining your Juris Doctor degree, it is time for the bar exam.
Step 3: Pass The Bar Exam And Obtain A License
All lawyers want to become attorneys and pass the bar exam. It is the natural way of professional advancement, and it gives you the right and ability to represent someone legally in court. The U.S.-recognized standardized bar exam is the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) and it was designed by The National Conference of Bar Examiners. It is intended to assess the information and abilities that every lawyer should possess prior to obtaining a law license. Getting well prepared for such a test is extremely important, it will set the tone for your future work, given the fact that a good lawyer and attorney must be a good scholar.
After you pass the bar you can obtain your license for practicing law, at which point you have become a lawyer with the right to practice law.
Accomplishing the feat of becoming a licensed lawyer is a strenuous effort that requires years and years of work, but it is definitely going to pay off for you financially and professionally since it is a prestigious occupation. Moreover, lawyers are also naturally well-positioned to enter politics at some point, which is proven by many successful lawyers that have held the highest public offices, including the President of the United States.