Interested in practicing law as a profession? Many often wonder how much time it takes to become a lawyer. In this article, well cover the process of becoming a lawyer, including schooling and testing, as well as other considerations that may increase or decrease the time involved to practice law professionally.
Here are the steps requited to becoming a lawyer:
1) Obtain a Bachelors Degree (2 ½ to 5 years)
2) Pass the LSAT (variable)
3) Attend Law School (3 years)
4) Pass the Bar Exam (variable)
Lets look at each of these in-depth.
Step One: Obtaining a Bachelors Degree
The first step is to obtain a bachelors degree. To become a lawyer, you dont necessarily need to pick a relevant major. However, if youre looking to specialize, you may want to pick a focus that will better prepare you for becoming a lawyer and will relate to the type of law you want to practice. Some of these majors include: criminal justice, history, economics, political science, etc.
Those who wish to fast-track their way to become an attorney may wish to complete their bachelors in as little time as possible. Attending college full-time can have your bachelors in 2 ½ to 4 years (on average). Online programs are also available for those that want to attend college on their own time, with some students opting to test out for certain classes to reduce the overall time. However, you should be careful: make sure the degree you eventually receive is from an accredited school. An unaccredited degree is useless for those looking to gain acceptance to a law school(see below).
Step 2: Passing the LSAT
Once students obtain a bachelors degree, they must pass the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). Because of the infrequent testing dates (4 times a year) and the amount of time to prepare for the example, you may have to wait additional time to pass the LSAT. For students looking to overcome this hurdle, studying while they are simultaneously completing their undergraduate degree may help save time.
Step 3: Attending Law School
If youve passed the LSAT with a high score, you may be admitted to a law school. However, a low score and poor academic performance may be obstacles to admittance.
Typically, law school programs require 3 years of schooling to obtain a Juris Doctorate (JD). Unlike obtaining a bachelors degree, law school doesnt allow for shortcuts to shave time off of the process. Only under certain circumstances can students be granted an extensionhowever, this is not the norm.
Step 4: Passing the Bar Exam
Once youve obtained your JD, the final component to becoming a lawyer is passing your chosen states bar exam where you wish to practice law. The bar exam is at least 2 parts: the MBE (Multistate Bar Exam) and the state-specific bar exam. Additionally, your chosen state may require to complete the MPT (Multistate Performance Test), which tests whether a person can perform the basic functions of a lawyer.