To become a lawyer, there are a series of steps to be taken and requirements to be fulfilled to practice law. As one of the prerequisites to pursue a career in law, getting into a law school can be an overwhelming process. Learn more about what you need, qualifications, costs,s and the step-by-step procedures on how to get into law schools.
Prior to reaching the law school application process stage, prospective lawyers must have asked themselves why they want to become one and if they are willing to commit several years to study to achieve this.
This article will give you the guidance you need from applying for a law school to what it takes to get into a top law school, prerequisites, course requirements.
However, before looking at the law school prerequisites, I will give you a rundown of who a lawyer is, how to become one and what lawyers do.
What Is A Law School?
Wikipedia defines a law school as an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becoming a lawyer within a given jurisdiction. The primary purpose of law school is to teach you to think like a lawyer.
They offer a range of programs to fit your career ambitions and schedule. Most schools share a common first-year approach to educating lawyers, with much more variation in the second and third years, such as opportunities for the following:
What Are The Major Law School Prerequisite
Basically, overall GPA and LSAT scores of a student are the best indicators law schools have as to whether that student will do well in law school.
Who Is A Lawyer?
In simple terms, a lawyer is a professional who is qualified to offer advice about the law or represent someone in legal matters. Basically, lawyers act as legal defense representing clients in civil or criminal proceedings. They also act as attorneys for a plaintiff in civil proceedings, or as prosecutors representing the government in criminal proceedings.
What Does A Lawyer Do?
Typically, below are the duties of a lawyer:
What Are The Qualities And Skills Of A Lawyer?
To offer legal advice, lawyers must be able to consume, digest, analyze and process large amounts of data. Therefore, through educational training, lawyers develop a range of professional skills, most of which revolve around information.
Lawyers should be keen researchers, able to decipher complex legal documents and case studies. Another major skill is communication, both verbally and in written form, which enables proper conveyance of ideas to clients, arbitrators, legal counsel, juries, and the general public.
The Law School Admission Council has distilled important legal skills into six areas:
Generally, lawyers must have strong oral and written communication skills in order to carry out their solicitor duties effectively.
Also, having excellent listening ability is important when working with clients to be able to build relationships and engender confidence.
A lawyer needs to be confident when arguing a case in court, negotiating settlements and explaining complex information to clients. They should be able to have to use persuasive, clear and succinct language.
Written ability is equally important when drafting letters and legal documents. Lawyers must write clearly and concisely using technical and legal language.
What Are The Steps To Becoming A Lawyer
If you really want to become a lawyer, then, follow these steps:
Earn A Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for admission to law school. This could be gotten in any field of study as there is no recommended field by the American Bar Association (ABA) at this level.
According to ABA, students gain admission to law school from nearly every area of study, ranging from political science to mathematics. However, the most common undergraduate majors for prelaw students include English, political science, economics, business, philosophy, and journalism.
Take And Pass The Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
In addition to an undergraduate degree, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a core prerequisite of the law school admissions process. Admissions officers use scores from the LSAT to objectively assess the knowledge and quality of applicants.
Typically, the LSAT includes five multiple-choice question sections and an unscored writing sample. The LSAT measures candidates’ skills in critical areas of future legal work, which includes:
Apply To Attend A Law School
Getting into a law school is the next step to becoming a lawyer after earning a bachelor’s degree. Although some students choose to forego further education, while others gain professional experience in other fields prior to enrolling in law school.
Whatever the case may be, prospective students should only consider law schools accredited by the American Bar Association.
Most Law school prerequisites and admission factors may include:
Notwithstanding, the LSAC is a great resource for students in the research phase of the law school application process.
Earn A Juris Doctor (JD)
Currently offered by 205 ABA-accredited law schools, the Juris Doctor (JD) is the nationally recognized degree for practicing law in the United States.
Prior to the application, prospective students should have knowledge of the faculty, areas of study, tuition, and curriculum. Also, students are to select a program that offers a focused curriculum in their area of interest from the numerous specialties within legal practice.
Areas that students can choose to major in include but not limited to real estate, property, criminal, environmental, tax, or family law.
Typically, it takes three years of full-time study to complete a Juris Doctor program.
Complete A Clerkship At A Local Law Firm
After getting into a law school and earning a Juris Doctor degree, some students may choose to complete a clerkship at a local law firm to gain experience. However, this is an optional step to becoming a lawyer.
Take And Pass The Bar Examination
The bar exam is the license for practicing law. To be qualified to practice law, most states require lawyers first graduate from an ABA-approved law school and also, pass the state bar examination.
Although each state sets its own testing guidelines, the bar exam is commonly a two-day process. While day one involves completing the Multistate Bar Examination, day two focuses on writing examinations covering various legal matters.
In addition to the bar examination, the state board of bar examiners also assess the candidate’s educational background, competence, character, and ability to represent others in legal matters prior to offering full legal licensure.
Advance Your Law Career
There are many opportunities for lawyers to advance their careers. In the first year of practice, lawyers generally start out as associates, working closely with senior lawyers to gain experience.
After several years of successful practice, attorneys may rise to become partners in a firm while others may choose to open their own law office. However, some may move beyond practicing law and become a judge or hold public positions.
On the other hand, lawyers may also pursue further education at both the master’s and doctoral levels. The Master of Law (LLM) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) are two common options for lawyers interested in careers involving research and academic work.
How Can I Get Into Law School?
As seen above, before applying for a law school, you must earn an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. However, you are not required to major in any particular field of study or take any prerequisite courses.
You can choose to apply to an accredited law school during your senior year of college or pursue other graduate degrees or careers prior to law school.
Regardless of the choice you make, below are the steps to follow to get into any top law school:
Graduate from an Undergraduate University
To apply to a law school, you must attend an undergraduate university and earn a degree. Since there is no specific field to major in, applicants are advised to meet with the prelaw advisor at their undergraduate schools as early as possible.
The advisor can help them prepare for the application process by giving advice on undergraduate course selection, Law School Admission Test preparation, and school choice.
Also, students are to focus on their GPA as getting the best possible grades is essential for a strong law school application. The median GPA for law school acceptance is 3.42. However, higher tier law schools have much more rigorous requirements. For instance, the median GPA for acceptance to Yale Law School is 3.9, Harvard is 3.89 and Stanford 3.85.
Create An Account At LSAC.org
Law School Admission Council (LSAC) administers the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), which you must take to gain acceptance into law school.
Creating an LSAC.org account will help you track the status of every step you take as you apply to your selected schools. This is because each school has specific application requirements and timelines. My Calendar lets you track those all-important deadlines.
In addition, you will use your LSAC account number as your primary identifier for all LSAC services.
Take And Pass the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is an integral part of law school admission in the United States, Canada, and a growing number of other countries. It is designed specifically to assess critical reading, analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, and persuasive writing skills — key skills needed for success in law school. The LSAT is the only test accepted for admission purposes by all ABA-accredited law schools and Canadian common-law law schools.
Typically, LSAT is administered in two parts. The first part of the test is a multiple-choice exam administered at test centers throughout the world. However, since September 2019, the multiple-choice portion of the LSAT is now administered digitally in North America.
The second part of the test is a written essay, called LSAT Writing. LSAT Writing is administered online using secure proctoring software that can be installed on the candidate’s own computer.
Learn more about Digital LSAT below:
Learn more about LSAT Writing below:
Preparing For LSAT
Generally, the LSAT is a rigorous exam, and most schools prioritize LSAT scores over GPA. Therefore, we advise students to take their time to prepare for the exam. Also, students who give themselves plenty of time to prepare, perform better in LSAT exams.
To prep better for LSAT, students can choose any of the following ways:
Research Law Schools And Meet Recruiters In Person
With the tools available at LASC, applicants can find schools that meet their interests and needs.
Furthermore, at a Law School Forum, applicants can meet more than 100 law school recruiters face-to-face. Most forums feature workshops about the legal profession, the benefits of a law degree, LSAT prep, and a lot more.
Register For Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
The Credential Assembly Service (CAS) is a service provided by the LSAC and is required by most ABA-accredited law schools. For a fee, CAS will assemble a report containing your transcript, LSAT scores, and letters of recommendation. Once you apply to the law schools of your choice, they will contact the CAS directly and ask for a copy of your report.
Also, the CAS process takes approximately six to eight weeks before your first law school application deadline. Therefore, students who wish to take the LSAT around December should aim to register for the CAS around July so that you can complete their file as soon as possible.
Forward All Your Academic Transcripts To LSAC
While forwarding your academic transcript, make sure that it is complete and accurate. It takes two weeks for LSAC to process the US or Canadian transcripts once they receive them from you. Although, international transcripts may take a longer time. When it’s ready, you’ll be able to view an Academic Summary Report in your LSAC.org account.
Obtain Letters Of Recommendation
Admissions committees want to hear about you from others who know you well. Get letters of recommendation from people who can give positive impressions of you and predict your success as a lawyer.
Also, applicants can take note of these tips while preparing their letters of recommendation
Submit Resume And Personal Statement
Before beginning your law studies, you should write an updated resume in the fall. Your resume should indicate your degrees, academic awards and work experience.
You should also start writing a personal statement. The personal statement is your only opportunity to “speak” directly to the admission committees.s
Most applications allow you to write your personal statement on any subject. But you must verify the specific request for each of your applications. Some law schools ask you to address a specific problem. However, as a general rule, you should limit your personal statement to two pages, but it is a good idea to write three pages and then remove the weakest parts of the draft.
Complete Your Law School Application
Finish your applications well in advance of the deadline. This can be done by making sure to ask for recommendations early enough that your referees have plenty of time to write outstanding letters.
Furthermore, write any additional statements you might need and also, request transcripts and make sure everything the law schools want in your application files is in there before the deadline.
What To Consider When Selecting A Law School
There are many considerations to consider when deciding to pursue a degree in law. Prospective students are therefore advised to make the most of their investment by finding a law school that meets both their educational needs and their career goals. Below is a list of factors that students should consider before deciding to apply to law school.
How Much Does A Law School Cost?
When it comes to the cost of law school, there are three different categories: public in-state law schools, public out-of-state law schools, and private law schools.
From Transition, the average annual tuition and fees for each category are:
What Is The Job Outlook Of Lawyers?
From the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of lawyers is expected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs over the next 10 years is expected to be strong because more students graduate from law school each year than there are jobs available.
What Do Lawyers Earn?
According to the US BLS, the median annual wage for lawyers is $120,910. That is, lawyers earn $58.13 per hour.
However, from Glassdoor’s report, the national average salary for a Lawyer is $117,567 in the United States.
Payscale reports that Lawyers earn an average salary of $83,672.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following the job outlook of 6 perent and an annual salary of $120,910 as projected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, we cn say earning a law degree is worth the while
Basically, most law schools require applicants to present the following:
A bachelor’s degree
LSAT scores (although some schools also accept the GRE)
Letters of recommendation
The required GPA varies among schools. However, the median GPA acceptance for law schools is 3.4.
Therefore, prospetive lawyers are advised to aim for good grades during their undergraduate studies.
The LSAT is scored on a scale of 120-180 points. Along with undergraduate GPA, the LSAT is one of the most significant factors considered by law school admission teams. The higher your score, the more options you’ll have when it comes to choosing a law school.
A “good” LSAT score varies depending on which law schools you’re interested in attending.
The average LSAT score is about 150.
However, if you want to get into a Top 10 law school, aim for a score above 162.
For a Top 50 law school, you’ll need a score above 154. And to get into most accredited law schools, a score of at least 150 is necessary.
The average total cost of tuition and fees for attending law school is $82,773-$147,285
Getting into law school is one of the Educational requirements you need to become a lawyer. On the other hand, to get into one, an applicant will need a good GPA and LSAT score.
With the steps provided above, an applicant can be confident that he or she has maximized his or her chances of getting into law school if followed.
I hope the information above helps you as you pursue a career in law.
Good Luck And Sucess!!!