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published June 15, 2009
The first thing you're going to need to do is get a bachelor's degree from a university or college. A four-year degree is required; you can't just get an associate's degree if you'd like to get into law school. The type of major you choose isn't terribly important, but political science and similar choices are relatively common.
Your background can affect your specialization when you go into law. For instance, people who would like to go into medical-related fields may benefit from choosing a biology focus or a similar type of major. What will be very important is your grade point average. The higher it is, the better your chances will be of getting into a competitive school.
Next you'll need to take the LSAT: Law School Admissions Test. This is a lot like the SAT or ACT, but is geared towards figuring out if you have what it takes to perform effectively in law school. It takes half a day to take the test, and both essay and multiple choice questions are included. It's extremely important to do well on this test if you want to attain employment as an attorney.
Many people choose to buy study materials for this test, including taking practice tests and an LSAT preparation course. That way, they'll have a better chance of scoring well on the exam. Once the exam has been taken and passed, applications to law schools can be submitted. Take care when putting them together, since you will want to make a good impression.
Remember that this can be extremely competitive, and you may have to get a minimum LSAT score and GPA to even be considered. Lower-tier schools will be easier to get into, but if you want to enter a field like medical law or look for employment with a prestigious firm, you'll need to enter the best school you can. Competition for employment with the best firms can be pretty stiff, so you need every advantage you can get.
The next step in getting employment as an attorney is to make it through law school. This can be difficult, as this kind of schooling is pretty grueling. Many students drop out due to heavy workloads and stressful conditions. Competition for class ranking remains stiff, and you'll need to work hard in order to graduate from law school with a good GPA.
You'll be in law school for a minimum of three years before you can take your exit exams. These exams will be in essay format and will require specific things. You need a good knowledge of the topic, as well as the format for answering. You’ll do best if you learn the system early on.
Once you graduate from law school, there are still a few things that have to happen before you can get employment as a medical lawyer, divorce lawyer, or any other kind of attorney. You'll need to study for the bar exam in your state, for one. Don’t make the mistake of believing that law school has made you ready for the bar!
You're going to need to study hard. Many people take a course to review the bar exam and help them get ready for this exceedingly difficult test. Remember, the cost of a review course is nothing compared to what you've spent going through law school, so don't feel like you shouldn't enter into one.
Taking the bar exam will vary from state to state, but there are a few things that most have in common. Most states use materials provided by the National Council of Bar Examiners. Once you've passed this test, you'll need to pass an evaluation of your character and fitness for employment as an attorney. It's an old joke that lawyers are unethical, and it's one that's proven to be false by the rigorous evaluation that they have to go through. This is an extensive evaluation that will go through your entire past.
Pass this evaluation and you're ready to submit your resume to law firms and begin practicing as an attorney. You may need to apply to a number of different firms in order to be accepted to one, and you can expect your duties as a junior attorney to be difficult. You'll be doing a lot of work and will probably need to work long hours. Monetary compensation and benefits are high, in order to make up for the schedule and stress that attorneys have to deal with. However, if being a lawyer is something you really want to do, you'll find that it's worth it in the long run.
How to Prepare for the Bar Exam