The Hard Work That Goes Into Being a Lawyer
Working towards becoming a lawyer and representing clients as personal counsel takes hard work, a commitment to the law, and a true passion for lending a helping hand to others in need. If you are determined to begin working as personal counsel for a law firm or clients of your own, you will need to know the steps that are entailed in becoming a lawyer today. Regardless of the area of law you choose to practice, understanding the hard work that goes into being a lawyer will help to guide you along on the correct path each and every step of the way.
Spend Time Learning About Legal Careers
Whether you are interested in working toward becoming a criminal defense lawyer or a divorce lawyer, you will need to take some time to learn more about potential legal careers and routes that are most appealing to you. Researching legal careers before pursuing one as personal counsel yourself is highly advisable, so you are much more familiar with the different industries that are open and thriving near you. When you are aware of different legal careers that are projected to grow and scale in the next decade, you can choose an educational path with the most guaranteed opportunities.
Benefits of Learning About Legal Careers Before Enrolling in Classes
Familiarizing yourself with prospective legal careers and industries that may interest you before choosing your preferred law school is always recommended. Understanding what is required of individuals who practice in specific areas of the law is also important to help with choosing a path that is genuinely right for you. Establishing a vision for yourself and your professional career will also help you to determine the type of clientele you want to represent, thus providing you with guidance into the right industry of law that is right for you.
Choose What You Will Specialize In
Anytime you are thinking of working as personal counsel for a client, it’s important to know which areas of law you will be specializing in. Not all lawyers take on the same type of cases. For example, a wrongful death lawyer will not represent the same type of clients as those who work as a child support lawyer. Whether you prefer working in family law, criminal defense, or if you wish to represent business owners and entrepreneurs, you will need to choose which area of law you wish to specialize in before going to school and passing the bar.
The Importance of Choosing a Specialty
Choosing a specialty to focus on when you are obtaining an education is a way for you to streamline the process of working toward your law degree. Selecting a specialty to study that you are passionate about will make learning and retaining the information you are taught much easier. The more passionate you find yourself about a particular area of law, the easier it will be for you to adjust to new information that you are learning on a daily basis.
When you are aware of different areas of law that are available to study, it will also be much easier for you to navigate your options. Immersing yourself in law from all different angles will help you to better communicate your wants and needs when speaking with a school or college counselor. The more open and honest you are regarding your educational needs, the more likely it will be to develop a plan that genuinely works for you and the career you envision for yourself.
Work to Develop Research, Reasoning, and Debate Skills
Anyone who has a vested interest in offering legal services to clients as personal counsel will need to hone their skills. Working to develop your research, critical thinking, reasoning, and debate skills will go a long way when it comes time to apply for law school, pass the bar exam, and begin representing clients. If you are not yet in university, consider joining debate teams or learning how to research by joining local groups available in your community. The more you become familiar with the ins and outs of debate, the easier it will be for you to prove your case to a judge once you are inside a courtroom of law.
Benefits of Developing Your Skills
As a lawyer, regardless of the area you practice in, honing your skills is imperative. Speech, debate, reasoning, and logic skills play crucial roles in determining the outcome of a case, whether you’re working as a criminal defense attorney or attempting to regain child custody for a client. When you are familiar with how to steer conversations and prove your point, it is much easier to communicate any case you may need to present in front of a judge or in some cases, even an entire jury.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
In order to work as a lawyer, you will first need to obtain a bachelor’s degree. This is imperative whether you’re interested in working as a dog bite attorney or if you want to represent yourself as a DUI lawyer. Anytime you intend to work as personal counsel in any capacity, you will need to do so by working your way to do so with the right educational path.
Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is possible in various subjects, from political science and history to philosophy and English. Choosing the subject you wish to major in may depend on the type of legal career you intend to pursue. In some colleges and universities, there are also pre-law curriculums that may help you to advance once you begin applying for suitable law schools near you.
Prepare for the LSAT
Even after you have obtained your bachelor’s degree, you will then need to prepare for the LSAT, or the Law School Admissions Test. Whether you have an intention of becoming a personal injury lawyer or working in the family law circuit courts, anyone who has a genuine interest in working toward becoming a lawyer will need to prepare for the LSAT ahead of time. Preparing for the LSAT is possible by investing in various books and by joining local and online groups. Joining different communities can help you to feel as prepared as possible for the upcoming LSAT test, regardless of the area of law you intend to study and go in.
Pass the LSAT
Individuals who are serious about working as personal counsel for clients will need to pass the LSAT. This is not always as simple as taking a general exam, which is why it is so important to prepare for the LSAT ahead of time. Truly immersing yourself in the world of law and how the law works in the USA today is imperative if you want to be taken seriously as a lawyer and when you are completing your LSAT.
In some cases, law schools may accept a GRE, which is an alternative test to the LSAT. If you are unsure about your options, take time to research the law schools you are interested in attending to confirm and verify the admissions requirements. The more familiar you are with the process of applying for and getting accepted into your preferred law school, the less likely you are to be met with a rejection letter, even after you have passed and completed your LSAT.
Apply for and Get Accepted to a Law School
Those who intend to work as family lawyers or as estate lawyer will need to apply to get accepted into a law school of their choice. Even after you have passed the LSAT test to prove basic knowledge of the law, students who wish to work as personal counsel for clients in the future will then need to complete a three-year legal program. Most law schools in the country today include a three-year program, with the years being referred to as 1L, 2L, and 3L.
Understanding what type of curriculum you will be presented with is also important before applying for your preferred law school. Not all law schools operate in the same manner. However, there are two preferred teaching methods that are common in well-known law schools today the Socratic Method and the case method of teaching. Reading about both methods of teaching can help you when it comes time to apply for and choose a law school that is right for you and your preferred method of learning.
Work Towards Your J.D.
Working towards your J.D., or juris doctor degree, is highly recommended for those who are taking their law career pursuits seriously. Acquiring a J.D. degree is possible once you have been accepted into the law school of your choice. Working towards and achieving your J.D. will also prove your commitment to the field of law, which may help you in the future once you begin advertising your services to prospective clients.
Pass the Bar Exam
The bar exam is the biggest test for anyone who is interested in becoming a professional lawyer or working as a personal counsel for clients in the United States. Anyone who is committed to becoming a lawyer must write and pass the bar exam in order to begin practicing. In most instances, the UBE, or eh Uniform Bar Exam, is administered over the course of two days out of each year. The UBE consists of additional examinations, including the MBE, or the Multistate Bar Examination, two Multistate Performance Tests (MPT), and the MEE, or Multistate Essay Examination.
Currently, a total of 20 states in the United States have not yet committed to the UBE. If you are thinking of working toward becoming a lawyer, it is imperative to become familiar with the requirements of your law school and the type of bar exam that will be administered once you are ready to complete the exam yourself. It is important to note that the exam results may take some time to come in, depending on where you are attending law school and the field of law you are interested in pursuing as a professional lawyer or attorney.
It is also important to keep in mind that there may be a significant gap in time that passes before you hear back from your law school regarding your test results. In some instances, individuals may need to wait 12 weeks before hearing initial results from the bar exam. Depending on the law school you are enrolled in and the field of law you are pursuing, a swear-in ceremony may take as long as 6 months after you receive notice of passing the bar. Conducting a bit of research on your university’s schedule and bar exam timeline is highly advisable before choosing an educational path with the most promising outcome and outlook for your career.
Begin Building Your Practice
Once you have passed the bar exam, you can then begin promoting your services and attracting new clientele. As a certified lawyer, you will then need to determine if you will be providing services to individuals as an independent attorney or if you’re more interested in working for a law firm in your local area. Defining your role as a lawyer and considering the demographics and audience you intend to represent can go a long way in helping you find the right opportunities.
Building a name for yourself is possible by taking on well-known cases and representing clients pro bono, or free of charge. You can also establish a presence for yourself and your own law firm online. Use your official website, blog, and social media presence to optimize your reach and maximize your appeal to members of your community who may require legal representation.
If you have intentions of working as personal counsel for your own clients or while working for a law firm, you will need to have a better understanding of the ins and outs of what goes into becoming an attorney. Whether you want to represent others as personal counsel on your own terms and as an independent lawyer or if you are eager to join a reputable law firm near you, it’s imperative to have a plan of action that helps you set and accomplish your goals in the field of law. Taking your journey of becoming a lawyer seriously is essential if you want to make a name for yourself in any legal sector or industry today.