A Quick Guide About Lawyer Qualifications
If you are interested in a law career, you need to know about lawyer qualifications. What exactly does it take to become a lawyer? Here’s a rundown of the things you will absolutely need in order to become an attorney.
You’ve probably heard that becoming a lawyer takes a lot of school. Well, it’s true. Before you even get to law school, you’ll need to complete a four-year bachelors degree. You can major in anything you want, as there is no actual “pre-law” degree. There are, however, certain disciplines that are great choices since their associated coursework is valuable in preparing you to study and eventually practice law.
- Philosophy – Because of the critical thinking skills developed in studies of philosophy, this is a major selected by many pre-law students. Debate and logical argument are intrinsic parts of the philosophy curriculum.
- English – Practicing law involves a lot of reading and writing. A lawyer needs to have command of the language, and must be very comfortable communicating. He or she will have to be able to interpret various texts, and to explain their meaning clearly and correctly.
- Political Science, Liberal Arts, and Business are three more popular majors among aspiring law students.
Talk to an advisor or a guidance counselor as soon as you decide you want to pursue a law degree. He or she can help you to map out the best course of action.
After you get your undergraduate degree, it’s time to head to law school to earn your Juris Doctor (JD). Getting accepted to law school can be a grueling process, so be prepared to put some time and effort into it.
When you apply for law school, your grades will be given serious consideration by the review board. Many law schools have a minimum GPA requirement for potential applicants. The more prestigious the school, the higher that number is likely to be.
You’ll have to take and pass the LSAT, or Law School Acceptance Test, and your score will also weigh heavily on whether or not you are accepted into a particular school. The test is difficult and requires dedicated preparation. Many candidates don’t pass on the first attempt.
The school you got your undergraduate degree from can also factor in, but remember that they are looking at you as a whole package. Part of that package will usually include a letter, essay, statement or some combination of the three in which you’ll be asked to explain why you want to attend a particular school and to practice law, and why you would be a good asset to their student body. It is key to set yourself apart from the many other applicants, so let the reviewers know what makes you unique – whether it’s a special talent, a hardship you’ve overcome, or an unusual perspective on things.
Once you get in, you’ll spend the first several semesters covering core principals of law. Later on, you’ll get to take more specialized classes based on your chosen field of law. You will likely participate in mock trials, research for law journals, intern at legal offices, and gain other hands-on experience during the last year of law school.
After graduating from law school, you still have to pass your state’s bar exam in order to practice law. Once you have begun working as an attorney, you’ll need to stay abreast of new developments in the field. You will be required to take continuing education courses in order to keep your bar license valid.
Other lawyer qualifications are that you conduct yourself in a responsible and disciplined manner. You’ll have to be sharp, responsive, dependable, observant, and steadfast. Being comfortable speaking is key, as is confidence and assertiveness. Attorneys are expected to be cool and confident under even the most intense pressure.