Becoming a lawyer is a multi-step process that begins when you choose a bachelor’s degree to pursue. When you start law school, you have a lot of options regarding what kind of law degree you want to get. After that, you must pass your state’s bar test in order to practice law. The numerous educational requirements for becoming a lawyer, as well as the various degrees available, include possibilities if you wish to work in the legal industry without going to law school. When learning about case procedures in depth, law school provides an opportunity to develop critical thinking. It also prepares students for their state bar examinations. Networking opportunities and transferable skills are two more benefits of law school. The profession of law is in high demand these days. The demand for lawyers is increasing as a result of changing social and economic circumstances, as well as the government’s ever-increasing regulatory role. In addition to being financially lucrative, practicing law is an adventurous and fascinating professional option, in addition to being financially lucrative.
How Much Schooling Do You Need?
Typically, it takes seven years of education to become a lawyer. Students spend the first four years of their education in an undergraduate program and the final three years of their education in law school. For individuals who want to learn more, education can continue after law school and can take up to seven years, depending on the depth of that education.
The Best College Majors for Prospective Lawyers
You must earn a bachelor’s degree before applying to law school. While potential lawyers may not have specific college majors, they prefer to concentrate on anything that requires writing, problem-solving, research, and oral communication. The following are some of the most common majors chosen by future lawyers:
If you’re interested in corporate law and have an entrepreneurial spirit, a business degree might be a good fit for you. Before applying to law school, students who study Business complete courses in communication, economics, management, and marketing.
It majors in the study of how the criminal justice system works while taking classes in criminal law, climatology, statistics, and the United States court system. These courses and lines of study will provide you with a solid grasp of crime and law once you acquire your legal degree and will be useful at hearings, dealing with police, and negotiating with opposing counsel.
You’ll strengthen your analytical and critical thinking skills as an economics major, which are crucial for anyone entering law school. Math, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and statistics will be common classes.
If you want to go to law school, consider majoring in English so you can hone your persuasive writing skills and increase your grasp of the English language. Because all lawyers must be able to read and write well, an English degree is a popular choice.
History is a wonderful choice if you’re thinking about going to law school because you’ll study how laws are made. You’ll learn about governing cultures, growing political systems, famous trials, treaties, and even some international law history as a history major.
Philosophy majors study logic, ethics, and morality, as well as courses in epistemology (knowledge theory), metaphysics, and moral and political philosophy. This major can help you prepare for law school by teaching you how to debate, present arguments, and do research to support a case.
A political science degree will give you a good grasp of how government works, how laws work, and who has authority, all of these things, all of which are useful skills to have when applying to law school.
Most reputable schools and universities offer pre-law as a specialization rather than a major. Pre-law does not have a set curriculum, but classes in law, society, and justice may be included. When applying to law schools, students with a bachelor’s degree in one of the aforementioned majors with an emphasis in pre-law as well as the other admission requirements may have an edge.
What Are the Various Types of Law Degrees Available?
If you want to work as a lawyer, you can choose from a variety of law degrees. The following are the various sorts of law degrees available, including for those who desire to work in the field without becoming lawyers;
Master’s Degree in Legal Studies (MLS)
A Master of Legal Studies is a master’s degree given by some law schools for people interested in studying law but not becoming an attorney. This degree, also known as a Master of Science and Law (MSL), Juris Master (JM), and Master of Jurisprudence, is relatively recent (MJ). A Master of Legal Studies is excellent for those who engage with lawyers on a daily basis as part of their profession or who wish to learn more about the law. Law enforcement, for example, is a popular field. Human resources, Business, and work in the social sector are also possible career options. A Master of Legal Studies degree takes 16-18 months to complete and includes courses in criminal law and processes, constitutional law and policy, and other legal-related areas.
Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR)
A Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) is a master’s degree program that teaches students how to resolve conflicts and negotiate. Conflict resolution, arbitration practice, negotiation, and meditation theory are all covered in this degree. A Master of Dispute Resolution degree, which takes 16-28 months to finish, is useful for people who want to resolve disputes between parties and manage workplace difficulties but don’t want to practice law. These professionals frequently work in health care, human resources, and education, in addition to the legal field. Graduates are most likely to work in the following fields: negotiators, facilitators, or mediators.
Doctor of Laws (JD)
This degree is required for anyone wishing to pursue a career as a lawyer. A JD is a law degree that focuses on civil procedures, contracts, constitutional law, criminal law, property law, and administrative or regulatory law. Courses cover how to do case research, prosecute or defend cases, argue on behalf of individuals and organizations, and study for the state bar exam after passing the state bar test. In addition to conventional application materials, applicants for a JD generally submit scores from the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Typically, the curriculum takes three years to complete.
A Master of Laws is a postgraduate degree that allows you to concentrate on a certain field of law and expand your legal expertise. This degree is for those who have a bachelor’s degree in law, a professional legal degree, or a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Copyright law, environmental law, business law, international law, human rights law, and tax law are among the electives available to LLM students. Graduates with a JD continue to work as lawyers, but their areas of specialty allow them to serve more specialized clients. A Master of Laws degree normally takes one to two years to complete, depending on whether a student is pursuing full-time or part-time classes.
Doctor of Jurisprudence (SJD)
The most advanced law-related degree is a Doctor of Juridical Science. Doctor of the Science of Law, Scientiae Juridicae Doctor (SJD), or Juridicae Scientiae Doctor is some of the other names for this degree (JSD). This degree is for those who want to further their legal education and participate in a long-term research project. A Doctor of Jurisprudence Science concentrates on research rather than coursework. In one-on-one meetings with their lecturers, students undertake legal research and participate in seminars. Graduates of this program go on to work as law professors or researchers after graduation. It normally takes three to five years to finish the program.
What Is the Best Way to Choose the Perfect Degree for You?
Here are three pointers to consider while deciding which degree is best for you:
Decide What Type of Legal Position Appeals to You.
Your legal education will be determined by the type of career you want to pursue. It may be beneficial to plan on acquiring a JD if you know you intend to practice law. A master’s program may be beneficial if you don’t want to practice law but want to grow in the legal industry.
Think About Your Priorities.
Consider what is most essential to you while choosing a degree: obtaining as much knowledge as possible or gaining experience right away. When evaluating how well each choice corresponds with your career goals, consider the time and financial requirements for each degree.
Determine the Amount of Schooling That Is Appropriate for You
Because many professionals in the legal field have multiple degrees, consider going back to school if you want to change occupations or expand your knowledge. Some people opt to gather experience before returning to school for a second degree.
To Become a Lawyer, You’ll Need the Following Qualifications:
The body of law is vast and complex. If you wish to practice law as an attorney, you’ll need to complete additional study, demonstrate your ability to give competent legal assistance to others, and stay current on legal changes throughout your career so that your clients receive the best and most up-to-date legal advice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, would-be lawyers must first receive a bachelor’s degree, then attend law school and then sit for the bar exam, which is required to obtain a license to practice.
Fulfill Pre-Law Requirements
A bachelor’s degree is the initial requirement for becoming a lawyer. According to the American Bar Association, which accredits law schools and creates ethical guidelines for attorneys, the major is unimportant. According to the American Bar Association, students traditionally major in history, political science, and English. Rather than striving to pick the “perfect” major, the ABA recommends that students take rigorous classes that emphasize critical reading and analysis, projects, organization, writing, and research.
Complete Your Legal Education
Attorneys must graduate from law school after earning a bachelor’s degree in order to practice law. Students must pass the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, to be admitted. The LSAT analyses a student’s potential for law school. The schooling required to become a lawyer is extensive and costly for those who pass. Aspiring lawyers study for three years to obtain the required degree, a Juris doctor, or J.D. In 2020, the average cost of attending one of the top 20 law schools in the United States, such as Harvard or the University of Minnesota, is $45,569 per year, or $136,707 for a law degree, according to a Good Financial Cents report. The second tier of 20 ABA-approved schools charges $38,308 per year in tuition or $114,924 for a J.D.
Become an Expert in the Field of Law
Some job descriptions include training and experience in a certain area of law. For students who desire to focus on a specific field of law, such as international law, intellectual property, litigation, or business law, several schools offer specialization and certificate programs. A second, advanced degree, such as a JD/Ph.D., JD/MPH, or JD/MBA, is also available to students. According to the Association of American Law Schools, joint degree programs are becoming more popular and offered in most professions of law.
Pass the Bar Exam
The bar exam is a state-mandated test that assesses candidates’ legal knowledge. Each state has its own set of requirements, and individuals who wish to practice in more than one state must pass the bar in both. States often require a two-day exam, with the first day consisting of the Multistage Bar Examination, which consists of 200 questions covering six areas of law: torts, real property, evidence, criminal law, contracts, and constitutional law. The Multistate Essay Examination and the Multistate Performance Test are administered on the second test day, which includes essays.
What Abilities Are Required to Become a Lawyer?
In order to become a lawyer, you’ll need to demonstrate a number of skills in addition to good grades. The Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT), which is utilized by many colleges as an admission exam for law degrees, is a solid predictor of what’s necessary. It evaluates your verbal and written reasoning skills, as well as your capacity to comprehend and interpret information, inductive and deductive reasoning abilities, and ability to analyze data and develop conclusions. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is difficult, but keep in mind that it was created that way because a legal career can be even more difficult. The LSAT not only verifies that you have the necessary legal knowledge, but it also determines whether you have the skills to pursue a career in law.
What Are the Options for Gaining Legal Work Experience?
If you want to be a lawyer, you’ll need a lot of law work experience to build the necessary abilities and figure out if it’s the correct vocation for you. Before starting university, arrange for informal job experience with high-street law firms. This could be a couple of weeks spent shadowing a solicitor and performing general office duties, for example. Placements like this, arranged in a random order, look good on law school applications. Apply for formal job assignments during your education. These include vacation schemes at law firms and mini-pupillages in barristers’ chambers, which take place during academic holidays.
A lawyer can assist with a wide range of legal issues, including the drafting of wills, patent claims, and criminal defense. To practice law, qualified lawyers must complete law school and pass the bar exam. Of course, a lawyer is someone who practices law. Advocates and advisors for our society are lawyers. In civil cases, they represent individuals and corporations, while in criminal cases, they fight to promote justice. Attorneys advise their clients, advising them of their rights to the legal process and assisting them in navigating the sometimes-complicated legal system.