How Long Does It Take To Become A Lawyer (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up to 7 years

The world has order and peace because of law, and the proper functioning of law is ensured by lawyers who decide who to prosecute. If lawyers do not build their cases properly, many innocent men might get prosecuted, and the scale of justice will tilt towards injustice. This is why lawyers may take as long as 7 years in most countries to complete their education before they can practice in court.

A lawyer’s job is to provide legal advice to clients, who he represents in legal proceedings and creates legal paperwork. It takes up to seven years to become a lawyer, including graduation and three years of law school. Many people choose to get some experience in the same field before enrolling in a law school to highlight their application. After completing their education, lawyers may also have to do extensive research into common legal issues and current laws to stay updated in their areas of specialization, such as immigration, personal injury, business law, or criminal.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Lawyer?

As a prospective lawyer, you need to complete a bachelor’s degree, which usually requires three to four years of study, depending on where you study. Then to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, you must complete law school, which typically involves three more years of study. Law school graduates can start practicing law only after they pass their state’s Bar exam and obtain licensure. Therefore, it may take up to seven years for you to start practicing law in a courtroom, assuming that you pass the Bar exam in a single attempt after you graduate from law school.

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The first step to becoming a lawyer is obtaining an undergraduate degree at a college or university in a legal field or any particular major subject in an unrelated field. A Juris Doctor (J.D) is a post-graduate degree, and therefore it requires an undergraduate degree as a prerequisite for enrollment and admission into a law school. It is the mandatory second step to become a lawyer, and it will take about 3 years for you to be complete it. Therefore, you will need seven years in total to become a lawyer.

In summary:

EducationTime
Bachelor’s Degree3 – 4 years
Juris Doctor Degree3 years

Why Does It Take So Long To Become A Lawyer?

Becoming a lawyer may take several years of planning and commitment, however, if you are thinking about pursuing a career as a lawyer, you may start by researching the job responsibilities and considering if they fit your skills and interests.

While a lawyer’s undergraduate degree can be in any subject related to law such as Political Science, Criminal Justice, English, or Sociology, various law schools may also require certain courses to be completed before the application procedure. You may also require a high GPA and need extracurricular experiences in order to have the strongest candidature in law schools of certain countries. The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is also a key part of applying to law schools in some countries, such as the United States of America. The LSAT is a standardized test that can help law schools determine how successful a student application may be to participate in a standardized program.

Law school will help develop your skills such as critical thinking and other knowledge of the law to introduce students to some common scenarios that one may experience as a lawyer. As you attend full-time college, you can also expect to complete programs in three years, other than four years on a part-time basis, but this option remains unpopular as it increases the timeline to becoming a lawyer.

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Conclusion

After graduating from law school, you will appear for the bar exam, and depending on that, you will be admitted to your state’s bar. The bar exam determines if you have all the knowledge and skills to practice law in the courtroom. This process usually involves several months of studying and a character examination, which is considered to be an extensive background check for a person’s criminal background check.

As you have passed the bar examination and are certified to practice law as a lawyer, you should focus more on applying for jobs at law firms or offices to have more earning opportunities. Lawyers can always work with the government, private practices, non-profits, and many other organizations to have good experiences to build a portfolio that will lend them the perfect projects with good earning potential.

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/200678
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/jled15&section=35
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