Becoming a lawyer is now simpler than ever before. Empowered with the following information, you can become a lawyer in minimal time
The Student’s Guide to Becoming a Lawyer
For many, becoming a lawyer is no easy feat. It takes many years of hard work and dedication to become a lawyer, with more to become a great lawyer. Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge about the entire process can delay your completion and subsequently increase the cost of your education. As such, this guide teaches you how to become a lawyer in 5 easy steps, and the costs associated at each step.
1 – Be a Great Student Prior Law School
Whether it is selecting your subjects, preparing for an exam, participating in extracurricular activities or just being a regular person, the first step to becoming a lawyer is to be a great student in both high school and college. Here is a closer look at what a great law student is prior law school.
For students who want to become a lawyer, the maintenance of high grades is imperative. In most cases, it is imperative to maintain a B average, or a 3.0 GPA. Moreover, ensure the grades are consistent.
Considering that lawyers require spotless criminal records, it helps to maintain good discipline before law school. As such, try to stay away from:
- Bad Influences
Choice of Subjects
When in high school and in college, select subjects relevant to law such as philosophy, history, English, mathematics and economics.
Extracurricular activities such as debating competitions and academic triathlons are a great way to hone your skills and improve your college application. Join as many as you can while maintaining good grades.
Most high schools will cost students little to nothing. However, private high schools can cost up to $28, 000 a year. According to the United States Department of Education, the average cost of college per year is almost $9, 000 for state and a little over $22, 000 for out-state residents.
2 – Find a Great Law School
Once high school and college are out of the way, it is imperative to find a great law school. When researching and selecting law schools, ensure to keep the following factors in mind. This will not only help reduce costs but ensure a high quality education.
Make a List of the Top 5 ABA Accredited Law Schools in Different States
Prior to your law school application, ensure you have a list of the top 5 American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited law schools in at least 5 different states. This will ensure that you receive the best education that you can afford. Make selections based on, but not limited to:
- Seats Available
- Ease of Entry
- Availability of Financial Aid
Trying Moving States Beforehand
Prior to applying, law school applicants need to make a decision between state and out of state law schools. If there is a credible law school in your state, select an in-state school.
While they may cost half of out-state universities, students must reside within that specified state for at least a year, among other requirements.
As such, if you are applying for law school in another state, make sure you move to the state at least a year before applying to the state. You acquire the same education for at least half the tuition per year.
When selecting law schools, you are required to pay application fees. As a result, the more law schools applied for, the higher the cost.
3 – Attend Law School
The biggest step in becoming a lawyer is to attend and complete law school. As stated in the beginning, it is not going to be easy and it certainly is not going to be short. How long does it take to become a lawyer? At least 4-6 year, with an average of 7.
While it may not be crucial to have a 4.0 GPA, it is great to have at least a 3.50 GPA in law school. Why?
- Easy access to scholarships
- Easier access to student loans
- Enhanced Resume
- Teachers are likely to help you more
As with high school and college, law students are required to have no criminal record and a virtually spotless disciplinary sheet. In the same manner, try to stay away from:
- Being disliked by teachers
- Bad Influences
- Late night parties
- Alcohol abuse
At times, there are extra exams that students are required to take such as the MPRE or the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, an exam given usually after the first year.
Loans and Scholarships
Considering the average cost of law school, it is vital that students acquire loans and/or scholarships. This will dramatically help reduce the cost and make life easier and less hectic. However, when applying for loans, particularly student loans, ensure to apply for small or sufficient amounts. This ensures quick repayments and a better reputation – a definite plus upon graduation.
Here is a closer look at the annual cost of law school.
|Public Law School (in-state)||Public Law School (out-state)||Private Law School|
|Tuition (on-campus)||$20, 000||$30, 000||$37, 000|
|Tuition (off-campus)||$40, 000||$52, 000||$60, 000|
4 – Attain Relevant Work Experience
On your road to becoming a lawyer, particularly during law school, gaining work experience at a law firm can provide a dramatic boost to your resume. Moreover, upon completion of law school, the firm you work for may provide a lucrative job offer.
5 – Pass the Bar Exam
Last but not least, you are required to pass the bar exam of your state. In many cases, law school students will likely have to pass the Multistate Bar exam (MBE). The MBE comprises of 200 questions that are broken down further into:
- 31 questions on Constitutional Law
- 31 questions on Evidence
- 33 questions on Tort Law
- 33 questions on Contract Law
- 31 questions on Criminal Law and criminal procedures
- 31 questions on Real Estate
- 10 unscored questions
The cost of the bar exam can range from $600 and can range up to $1, 500 as long as you do not take the review courses.
5 steps is all it takes to become a certified lawyer. For students who plan on becoming a lawyer, it will take at least 7 years and cost between $170, 000 and $300, 000.