Becoming A Lawyer In 2013

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Published: 11th January 2013
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Ask Yourself
First, for what reason do you want to become an attorney? Are you drawn to a specific type of law? You should know what you want to do with your career - law firms like that. Law school will fly by in a quick, pricey flash of education. Start thinking about how you will become a marketable employee before you begin law school.

Lastly, are you ready to do the work? Being a successful law student requires hard work and dedication. Most people your age will have full-time jobs. They are going to be making bank, and they will not have homework. For the three years you are in law school, you will be spending money and doing academic work. After law school, if you get hired somewhere, firms expect first and second year associates to put in incredible amounts of time. Being a lawyer isn't a job - it is a career that you must be dedicated to.

The Process
After thinking things through and you are sure that you want to be a lawyer, you need to figure out which law schools you want to apply to.

During your time at college, it is imperative that you get a high GPA. This will impress good law schools. Remember that the more prestigious law school that you get into, the better you will look to an employer when you are looking for work.

After that, you need to take the Law School Admission Test. The LSAT is a standardized test, much like the SAT. Law schools use it to gauge your potential for success as a law student. Just as with the SAT, you can improve your LSAT scores if you take a prep class, which we can't recommend highly enough. Whether you like it or not, what you score on the LSAT is just as, if not more, important than your college GPA.

If you plan on attending law school right after college, you need to apply early in your senior year, apply at the beginning of your senior year. Be sure to sign up for the LSAT your junior year or early enough in your senior year that you will have a score to put on your applications.

After this is all taken care of, it is time to apply to schools. Most law schools have rolling admissions cycles, which basically means they keep applications open til they have enough students. In that situation, it is best to have your application in to the schools early. You can usually do this online.

Usually the results come in between February - March. Apply to a number of schools. Publications like the Princeton Review will tell you the GPA’s and LSAT scores that schools expect. You can also get tips on which law schools to go to at sites like Law Practice HQ. After you get your acceptance letters, pick a law school. In this tight economy, you may as well pick the highest ranking law school.

Law Schools
Now that you're at law school, there are some things that will already be decided for you. Your first year curriculum will already be chosen. But after that, you have a lot of options to choose from when selecting your schedule. You may want to take bar classes, because these will go over topics that are on the bar exam. If you are interested in a certain area of law, take classes on that.

Before the end of your first semester, start looking for a summer internship. Try to look for one in your area of interest, but as we know, beggars can't be choosers. Any internship you take during your first summer will likely be unpaid, although don't sweat it. Getting a highly paid, and well-respected, internship your second summer is much easier if you are able to demonstrate that you have valuable experience.

Do your best to get involved in student organizations and take on internships during the school year. The more stuff you can use to fill up your resume, the better you will look after you graduate. If you can, get on a journal - a prestigious student run publication. Usually journals will only accept students with high GPAs or who have been selected through a writing competition.

Taking The Bar Exam
After graduation you need to pass the state bar prior to becoming a lawyer. To pass the bar exam, take a bar exam course to prepare you. This course will take place the summer immediately after graduation, but before the exam itself. The exam and studying will be difficult. After passing the bar you are officially allowed to practice law.

Summary
This is a huge undertaking and it deserves a lot of forethought. This career path is quite difficult and nowadays competition in the job market is tough. Just keep in mind: focus on your specialty and stick with it, get internships early and often, and always work to be the most marketable individual you can be.

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