How to Become a Lawyer

To become a lawyer you need to undertake a series of educational programs. A lawyer is a professional who represents a client in the court of law and provides legal advice to individuals and organizations on several matters. These matters might be focused on specialized areas such as bankruptcy, divorce or criminal cases or may be general in nature.

Educational Requirements

It is a must to have an undergraduate degree to become a lawyer. Apart from educational qualifications, this profession also requires excellent communication skills, research acumen and argumentative abilities. The preferred, but not compulsory, fields of study are Political Science, History, Criminal Justice, International Relations, Accounting and English. Some colleges also offer pre-law degrees, though this is not a prerequisite.

Obtaining a Law Degree

Most colleges require you to take a Law School Admission Test to qualify to become a lawyer; however, this is not the case for those wish to pursue an online degree. Under this course, you learn several aspects of Criminal Law, Family Law, Civil law, Contracts regarding property, Torts, the Constitution and its amendments, Federal rules and The Penal code. Also, a great deal of legal writing and research has to be undertaken in order to be able to give citations from classic law suits.

Getting Admitted to the Bar  

This requires you to take a Bar Exam which tests knowledge in the area of specialization and various codes of professional conduct. The next step is gaining various kinds of experiences in the field of one's specialization such as doing a court clerkship, assisting a qualified attorney as a paralegal or working as a legal researcher for a law firm.

Certification

The next step is the certification. This requires that a minimum part of the entire practice has been dedicated to the field of the specialization. Also, a minimum number of hours from the total practice time have to be spent on the chosen field and a minimum number of tasks need to be completed. The minimum number of hours and tasks, as well as the kind of tasks you may undertake vary according to the specialization you have chosen. Certifications usually are issued by specific the State and private certification boards.

Tips for a Career in Law

Building a successful legal practice requires you to gain as much as possible knowledge while working under a law firm. The knowledge is in the form of building contacts, observing and learning from live cases and developing impeccable research skills. It is also essential to remain up to date with the latest amendments made to the Constitution and the Penal code.

Some of the areas one can choose to specialize in are Bankruptcy, Taxation, DWI, DUI, Divorce, Real Estate, Torts, Fraud, Immigration, Malpractice, Asbestos, Patents, Personal Injury, Insurance, Auto Accidents, Litigation, Social Security, Wrongful  Death or as a Defense Attorney to name a few.

You can also choose to join a firm as a Legal Researcher or make a career in Legal Writing. These fields require you to spend an extensive amount of time on research and staying updated with the latest trends, landmark law suits and amendments.

Becoming a Paralegal (Legal Assistant) is also an alternative career option for you. It involves assisting a lawyer by conducting research and filing documents with the court, drafting legal documents such as Subpoenas, Deposition notices and managing files and exhibits.