As of March 2023, in the United States, there were 1,116,967 practicing lawyers.
If you’re considering becoming a lawyer, you probably have some questions. There’s a lot of information about lawyer education that is hard to find. We are here to answer some questions that aren’t regularly talked about.
In this guide, you’re going to learn the answer to “How long does it take to become a lawyer” and much more! Keep reading so you can move forward with your education in confidence.
The first step to obtaining a law degree is getting an undergraduate degree. Typically, it takes four years; however, if it can be done in three or three and a half if you plan it out properly.
If the college or university that you attend offers a pre-law degree, that is a great option that you should consider. However, there’s no need to worry if that choice isn’t available to you.
You can get a degree in History, English, Business, Economics, Political Science, or Philosophy. There are some programs that will look at how challenging your degree is, so keep that in mind as well.
Since what you study in your undergrad program isn’t heavily considered by law school, try to choose a subject that you enjoy and are interested in. This will help you over the four-year period as you study and get the degree.
One of the most important things is your GPA. Having a high-grade point average will increase your chances of getting accepted.
Once you know you want to pursue a degree in law, stay focused on your undergraduate grades. If you slack in one class or have to drop one, it can negatively affect your GPA, making it harder to get into law school.
Law School Admission Test
While your GPA is important, the law school admission test, commonly known as the LSAT, is the most critical deciding factor. Law schools heavily will base their decisions on your scores on this exam.
Students will take between three and six months to study before ever sitting for the exam. This is a strict study program and many people will invest in a tutor.
If there is a specific school you want to attend, be sure to check their LSAT score requirements. They vary from school to school.
Complete Law School Applications
After you get your undergraduate degree and pass the LSAT, you’ll have two options. You can continue your education right away or you can get field-related experience.
Whether you decide to apply to law school right away or later, be sure to apply only to accredited programs. If the school is not accredited by the ABA, you can’t become a lawyer. There are around 200 schools that are approved, so you have a lot of options.
While schools look at your GPA and exam scores, they will also consider your other accomplishments. It’s important that during your time in school, you add value to the community.
The admission board will look for letters of recommendation from legal professionals as well as your community service hours and if you’re affiliated with any organizations.
The time it takes to fill out your law school applications varies. The applications are long and you should be thorough. It could take you from a few weeks to a month or two to fill out all your applications and submit them.
Juris Doctor Degree
It will take you around three years if you go full-time to get your Juris Doctor Degree, which is often called the first degree in law. If you choose to go part-time, it will take you around four years.
The first year in law school is going to be the basics of different types of law, such as contracts, criminal, civil, and employment. The second and third years, as you might expect, will be more complex and will cover topics such as human rights and family law.
During these three years, while you get your law degree, you’ll also have some practical learning through internships. You will also learn the skills you need to write legal documents and research.
Pass the Bar Exam
After you’ve graduated from law school, you’ll then have to take the bar exam. How long you take to study for the exam will affect the answer to “How long does it take to become a lawyer.”
Many people usually study for eight to ten weeks. However, you can take longer and you may even want to consider a few more classes to help you prepare for the exam. Once you’re ready, you’ll take the two-day test.
Even after all the schooling and time, to continue your lawyer career, you’ll have to keep taking classes.
The majority of states and even countries require you to take classes every year. This is to ensure you and your lawyer staffing are up to date on policies and procedures.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Lawyer?
Becoming a lawyer is a great career option; however, the process is long and requires you to be determined and motivated. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
After all your schooling, studying, and taking your exams, it will take you between 7.5 and 8 years.
Now that you know the answer to “How long does it take to become a lawyer,” you can start pursuing your dreams.
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