Navigating the Path to Becoming a Lawyer: Essential Steps for Success

The career of law has its challenges and rewards.

You have aspirations to become a lawyer because you want to serve a greater purpose for your clients.

Navigating the Path to Becoming a Lawyer

Whether it’s criminal defense, family law, or even real estate law – it is possible to have a successful legal career where you can assist clients in navigating the legal obstacles of a situation they may be in.

This guide will be your roadmap to a successful career as a lawyer.

Read through this carefully and consider what your options might be in terms of education and job prospects afterward.

Let’s get started.

It Starts with the Right Education

To begin, you will need to attend a four-year college with the intent of obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

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Typically, degrees like political science, history, business, or criminal justice are prerequisites for law school.

During your undergraduate studies, you will need to maintain a high enough GPA that is considered acceptable by law schools.

Taking the LSAT

Like the SATs that get you into an undergraduate program, LSATs are the equivalent of law school.

This standardized test is used for assessing your analytical and logical reasoning skills.

It is important that you achieve a high score as it can open many doors to which law programs will accept your admission application.

The highly reputable the program, the higher the minimum LSAT score will be.

With this in mind, you will need to consider investing plenty of time and effort to prepare for the exam.

You can find various resources including review courses, practice tests, and study plans.

Use these accordingly to prepare yourself for what could be one of the most rigorous tests of your academic career.

Choosing the Best Legal Path

Choosing your best legal path will be your next step after you are admitted to law school.

Consider one of the many specialties of law that exist.

When you do, that’s when you’ll need to take courses tailor-made to understand the different types of laws that exist.

The legal system has various types of laws, regulations, codes, ordinances, and more. Someone may be facing a situation where legal assistance is needed.

They need a qualified lawyer who understands certain laws so they are being guided through the legal obstacles that may arise.

In one example, a client may want to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit and would like to consult with a lawyer who specializes in employment law.

Another situation pertains to custody situations in the event of a divorce.

A family law attorney could work to make an arrangement that will be fair for both parties (unless there are other circumstances that arise such as safety concerns for the children).

A lawyer is not just someone who will help a client navigate through legal complexities but also is an advocate for those who don’t want to fight a legal situation alone.

Building Your Network and Building Practical Experience

The power of who you know could work in your favor when it comes to building a legal career.

You can build your network by attending various networking events.

In addition, there are several legal organizations that you can join as well.

It would never hurt to find someone who could serve as a mentor such as an attorney, judge, or someone who is considered a “seasoned vet” in the legal field.

In the latter part of your law school education, it is important to consider the idea of applying for and securing internships or even law firm clerkships.

Other opportunities may arise with organizations that offer legal aid to lower-income individuals or even government agencies.

Once again, it all depends upon your intended legal path.

Choosing an internship or clerkship will be vital in regard to building up practical experience.

Moot Court and Legal Clinics

One of the best ways aspiring lawyers can sharpen their skills and abilities is by participating in moot courts and legal clinics.

Both of which allow you the chance to simulate legal scenarios that are mostly real.

The purpose of these is to practice and sharpen your abilities to argue cases in a persuasive manner.

These cases can be of a criminal or civil nature.

Having strong advocacy skills and the ability to persuade the court regarding your client’s legal situation will be two must-have things to have in order to become a successful lawyer.

Complete Law School

Succeeding in law school will come down to working hard and dedicating yourself to becoming the best student possible.

You can do this by regularly participating in class discussions.

At the same time, you will need to sharpen and maintain legal research and writing skills.

Keep in mind that you can seek assistance from your professors should the need ever arise.

Excelling in law school will allow you to stand out.

Especially when the legal job market is one of the most competitive out there.

Securing a Clerkship

Law students who secure clerkships will be able to work with judges, giving them the chance to obtain practical insights while seeing the legal system in action.

A clerkship will be a stepping stone to a legal career that can take you farther down the path.

Using that experience will be useful in pursuing future employment opportunities while creating excellent connections that will be part of your network.

The Bar Exam

After you complete law school, your next obstacle is to pass the bar exam.

This is yet another rigorous test you’ll need to study and pass to become a lawyer.

The test will cover the legal knowledge and analytical skills you have.

Like the LSAT, preparation will be a top priority.

Taking bar review courses along with obtaining other resources to prepare is highly recommended.

The more prepared you are for the bar exam, the more confident you will be.

In turn, the better the chance you’ll have to pass.

Conclusion: The Beginning of Your Legal Career

Finally, you’ve graduated from law school and secured bar admission.

Your legal career is ready to launch.

From there, you can be able to join a legal team that will fight for clients of your chosen legal path.

Later on, you could take on your own clients and become their advocate – be it in the courtroom or the negotiating table.

However, it is important to continue building your network and leveraging it to your advantage.

You should also consider joining professional associations and attending legal conferences.

Finally, it may be worth keeping an ear on the ground for any developments pertaining to the field of law you specialize in.

We hope this guide has been helpful in giving you an understanding of what it takes to become a lawyer.

Your successful legal career depends on your education and overall success.

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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