This is a sponsored guest post.
If you dream of being an attorney someday, then there are at least five factors that you need to focus on before graduating from college.
- Earn Your Undergrad Degree
While there are no specific degrees required to become an attorney, you must pursue your BA or BS before you apply to graduate school. Many successful professionals have an undergraduate degree in philosophy, history, business administration, history, political science, English, or criminal justice.
As an undergrad student, it is essential for you to participate in extracurricular activities to show the law admittance committee that you are a well-rounded individual. You might want to look into working part-time as it shows that you can handle the rigorous schedule that being an attorney requires along with helping you have money to survive. Another option is to volunteer at a law firm as it will give you insight into what it is like to be an attorney.
2. Take the LSAT
You will need to take the half-day standardized Law School Admission Test while you are pursuing your undergraduate degree. Most schools require that you take it by December of your senior year, but there are advantages to taking it early. You need to register between 10 and 12 months before you plan to take the test as it is only given six times annually, so spaces fill up quickly. The multiple-choice test is divided into numerous 35-minute sections, including an unscored experimental section, designed to test your ability to comprehend what you read, and perform analytical and logical reasoning.
On the LSAT, you will need to be able to read short passages and find the logical reasoning in them as it makes up 50% of your final score. The test also consists of reading four short passages and answer five to eight short questions about what you read. This part of the test, which includes a compare and contrast passage, makes up 27% of your score.
You will also need to be able to do well on logic games that test your ability to see outcomes, recognize systems of order, and perform basic logic. The LSAT also has an experimental section designed to help LSAT developers write tests in the future. On test day, you will be required to write an unscored essay that is sent to the schools where you apply. Schools often use this writing sample to confirm your personal statement or to help decide between two equally qualified candidates.
3. Study for the LSAT
The LSAT requires a lot of time to study and prepare. Make sure to purchase study materials along with finding an accountability partner who is also taking the LSAT exam. Many people who do well on the exam also recommend taking a prep course. You can take a prep course either online or in person. Prep courses are designed to help you learn how to take the exam, not just what is on the exam. Knowing how to read the questions and tricks to answering them is a key component of doing well on the exam. You will want to make sure you dedicate time to learning grammar since the test developers try to use complicated sentences to trick you into choosing the wrong answer.
While studying for the LSAT, you will need to take timed practice tests as part of your exam prep for the LSAT. When you do, before you check your answers, circle the ones that you had problems answering. Then, take another look at them. If you know the answer when you are not under pressure from the clock, then you know that you need to work on your grammar and logic.
4. Apply to Law Schools
When it comes time to apply to law school, make sure you have done your research. It is essential that you visit the schools you are interested in. While there you can meet with current students and professors or set up a meeting with alumni from the school.
Come prepared to ask questions about the school, law school program, campus life, etc.
Also, make sure to stop by the admissions office to find out about the school’s application process.
Once you decide on the schools you want to apply to. You will apply to law school during your senior year of undergrad Since most schools use a rolling admission process, apply as early as possible. Before sending in your application, make sure that it is complete and you have included any applicable fees. Most applications require you to include:
- LSAT score
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement, Work history and resume
- Extracurricular activities, volunteer work, internships, and anything else that pertains to law school
5. During Law School
The Juris Doctor is designed to help you develop your legal skills and abilities. During law school, you will develop a strong understanding of legal fundamental concepts and theories. You will develop analytical, research, and writing skills, which will help you when you start to do case studies and research work that requires strong writing skills. Law school will help you learn how to apply various laws to real-life legal matters as you conduct legal research for cases.
Some subjects covered in the curriculum include:
- Constitutional law
- Criminal justice
- Civil procedure
- Democracy and coercion
- Legal process and society
While attending law school, you will be expected to participate in internships and externships. You will work at a law firm or organization to get hands-on experience under the supervision of an attorney. Internships and externships will help you polish skills not taught in law school, including: argumentative, a knack for critical thinking, ability to negotiate or persuade, writing skills are as important as speaking skills and time management. Working alongside an experienced lawyer for a period of time will help you hone these skills.
6. After Law School
To become a lawyer, you must graduate from a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA accreditation signifies that the law school has satisfied and sustained specific standards established to ensure a quality legal program). Each state has its requirements for becoming an attorney. Which means you will need to pass the bar exam in the state where you want to practice.
Most states have a two-day exam where you will need to prove your law knowledge along with showing that you understand how to behave professionally. Some states also consider your behavior throughout your adult life. Then, you are ready to find a job, which usually as an associate in a law firm where you can gain more experience working with a well-established attorney.
You will need to complete these five steps to become a lawyer. The rest is up to you as there are many areas of law to specialize in, so you can easily find one that interests you.