How to Become an Attorney ?

How to Become an Attorney ?


how to become a district attorney

Becoming an attorney is no joke. If you are a prospective lawyer, then there are a series of steps you must first undertake before finally practicing law. These include completing undergraduate and graduate degrees, taking examinations and licensing. To give you an idea on how to become an attorney, we have outlined several steps and tips to beginning your career.

Step 1: Starting early

If you’re still in high school then start early by improving your GPA. A good record is a big plus if you dream of entering a prestigious university and law school. A stellar reputation of success can also advance your career in surprising ways. If you are already in college, it’s never too late to clean up your act. As the saying goes, there’s no better day than today.

Step 2: Choosing the right path

First and foremost is deciding if this route really is for you. Being a lawyer can be a very rewarding job but like everything else, it also has its drawbacks. As a lawyer, you will be offering legal advice to business and personal matter or will be representing clients in court. These involve researching judicial laws that you can apply to your client’s case. There are also various specializations to choose from. These include criminal, intellectual property, environmental, civil and international law.

Step 3: The preparatory course

Law schools are not too picky when it comes to preparatory subjects so you can have any degree and still go for it. There might be a minimum requirement of 3.0 GPA, though. But there are no recommended courses and required majors for prelaw students so a degree in fishing or pencil-sharpening is good to go (as long as they’re credited by a uni, why not?). There are courses however, that can help develop skills that are sure to be helpful, such as skills in public speaking, writing, research, reading, logic, tactics, debate and many others. That said, there also some high-caliber law schools that prefer applicants with more intellectually-challenging courses or majors under their belt. The most common undergrad courses of law hopefuls include political science, business, English, economics, journalism and philosophy.

Step 4: Conquering the LSAT

Applicants for law schools are required to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and include their scores together with their applications. This is to assess the knowledge and quality of their applicants. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is the governing body that administers the test. They will assess your skills in critical-thinking, reasoning, reading comprehension, information management, argumentation and analysis. There are five sections with a multiple-choice questions format and an unscored writing sample. The test can be retaken to the student’s discretion.

Step 5: Bagging the Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degree

In order to practice law, you must dedicate 3 years of full time studying to getting a Juris Doctor in one of the 205 ABA (American Bar Association)-accredited law schools.  In considering your prospective schools, you must do your research on the faculty, tuition, curriculum and area of study before making a decision.

You will start school by taking classes in property law, constitutional law, legal writing, torts, law process, legal research, evidence, and contracts. Base on your interest, you then take elective courses, e.g. property law, corporate law, family law, tax law or labor law. Studies will also be comprised of attending legal clinics, writing for a law journal and participating in argumentations like debates and performing mock trials. The final year especially, will be focused on preparing you to transition from law school to practicing in the real world.

Step 6: Participating in internships and clerkships

A part-time or summer internship between semesters is a great opportunity for law students that can even lead to a full time employment offer after graduation. Internships will give you an early field experience through working for a law firm, a government agency or a corporate office.

For fresh graduates to gain experience and start networking, clerkships are usually offered. Most of these clerkships are either judicial or federal. They are excellent and valuable opportunities for graduates, especially to those interested in working for the government. Clerkship positions, however, are usually reserved and open only to top students so you must perform excellently throughout law school.

Step 7: Pass the bar exam

Before you can practice law in your state, it is mandatory to pass the state bar examination and to earn a license. Each state has its own set of rules. The bar exam generally takes two days to complete. On the first day, test takers undertake the Multistate Bar Examination. The second day is focused on writing examinations that cover assorted legal matters. In acquiring a full legal license, the state board of bar examiners considers the candidate’s character, competence, representation abilities in legal matters and educational background.

There is also the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), which some states have adopted. This allows lawyers to practice in all states that accept the exam. The National Conference of Bar Examiners prepares the UBE. It is composed of questions from the Multi-state Bar Examination, Multi-state Performance Test and Multi-state Essay Examination. Some states even allow top students to take the bar before law school graduation.

Step 8: Advance your career

Fresh passers typically start out as associate lawyers. To hone their skills to precision, they work under the supervision of seasoned lawyers. Lawyers rise up to become new partners in their firm or set out to open a law office of their own, after a few years of successful practice.

Some may also choose other paths and go beyond practicing law or shift to public positions. You can work in a DA office and even eventually work your way to becoming a district attorney. Other also go the route to working as a judge.

The LLM or Master of Law and PhD or Doctor of Philosophy are common options for lawyers who choose to pursue further education. These are ideal for those who are interested in careers that involve academic scholarship and research.

You’re all set

Now that you have an idea on how to become an attorney, you can make up your mind and choose a decision wisely. Remember that selecting a career is not based on reputation and prestige but on passion and dedication.

Category Law & Rules