Anyone who is qualified and licensed to practice law is referred to as a lawyer or attorney. Getting a Juris Doctor (JD) and passing the state bar exam are two essential steps toward becoming a lawyer. It takes an average of seven years to complete the bar exam from your first year of college.
What Are The Requirements To Become A Lawyer?
For you to become a licensed lawyer, you must attain a number of qualifications. Here’s a quick overview of the requirements, education, and training you need to become a lawyer licensed to practice law.
You must first obtain an undergraduate degree before going to law school. In law school, it doesn’t really matter what your primary area of study was as long as you graduated with a bachelor’s degree. The grade point average (GPA) you earned in college is what law schools care about.
Most top-tier law schools in the U.S. require applicants to have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5. However, if you’re not seeking admission to a top-tier school, you can probably get into many law schools with a 3.0-grade point average. Many lower-tier law schools also accept students with GPAs as low as 2.7.
Pass the LSAT
A Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, is required for admission to American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools. To determine whether you are a suitable candidate for their program, law schools will evaluate both your LSAT score and GPA.
A score of at least 170 is needed for admission to a top-five U.S. law school. At least 165 is required at the other five of the top ten schools. A score of 155 on the LSAT is required for admission to a top 50 law school.
Get a JD Degree
Law school is meant for obtaining a Juris Doctor (JD). You cannot take a state bar exam without a JD.
There are many topics you will learn in law school, including contracts, torts, civil procedure, criminal law, ethics, and many more. If you are interested in a particular aspect of the law, you can pick up specialized classes in family law, tax law, environmental law, or contract law.
Complete the MPRE
Before taking the bar exam, you must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). All states, except Maryland, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico, require you to pass the MPRE before taking the bar exam.
Pass a Bar Exam
The bar exam is the next step after you graduate from law school with a JD. In a bar exam, you are required to answer multiple-choice questions and write an essay, which tests your legal knowledge and ability to apply the rules.
The Best Route to Become a Lawyer
Getting a bachelor’s degree and going to law school takes approximately seven years, four of which are spent getting your bachelor’s degree.
If you choose an accelerated JD program, you can reduce the time it takes to become a lawyer. Rather than taking three years to complete law school, you will complete it in two.
By choosing a 3+3 JD program, you can reduce the time required to complete your undergraduate degree. This program, also known as a BA-to-JD program, allows you to complete your first year of law school during your fourth undergraduate year. In this program, you can achieve a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years instead of seven.
Learn more about making a career in the legal field of criminal justice by taking a look at how much you can earn as a criminal defense attorney in the U.S.