How Many Years is Law School and other Questions about Becoming an Attorney Answered
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for lawyers is expected to grow by 10% by the year 2022. Those interested in becoming attorneys often have lots of questions, as the path to becoming a lawyer is a rather complicated one. Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions people have that will help you in your quest to earn a Juris Doctorate and become licensed.
What is the prerequisite for attending law school?
Before being accepted to law school, students must first earn a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline. Next, a passing score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is also required. Some law schools will have their own unique requirements such as a certain GPA as well.
How many years is law school?
Students must attend law school full time for three years in order to graduate. Alternatively, part-time law programs are also available that will allow individuals to obtain a Juris Doctorate in around five to six years. These programs are extremely limited, and may not be available in all areas.
What will I learn during law school?
During your first year, you will study topics such as Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Torts and Contracts. You will also learn how to perform legal research and how to apply case law to different legal issues. During your second year, you may take more advanced courses, in addition to studying ethics and conducting mock trials. Much of your third year will be spent studying for a comprehensive exam that covers much of the material you learned in the first two years. You may also perform an externship or prepare for your bar examination during your third year as well.
Will I be allowed to practice law after finishing law school?
No, you must first pass the bar exam in the state in which you plan to practice. Most attorneys spend between six and twelve months preparing to take the bar exam after graduation. They may intern in a law office or become a judge’s clerk during that time to gain practical experience and become mentored by a seasoned attorney.
What is required to pass the bar exam?
Before taking the bar exam, you must show proof of graduation from a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). In some states, this requirement may be waived provided you have studied under the supervision of a licensed attorney or judge who has practiced law a certain length of time. There may be other requirements that vary from state to state as well.
What does the bar exam consist of?
The bar exam is a two-day test. The first day consists of a Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), which contains 200 questions covering Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Evidence, Real Property, torts and Contracts. All applicants will take this exam, regardless of where they live. Testing on the second day varies by location, and generally includes questions that are more specific to that state. Two nationally-recognized tests, the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) may be included in second-day testing as well.
Does passing a bar exam automatically entitle me to practice law?
No, as the final step involves a character check to ensure you have sound ethics. Once your character check is complete, you will notified as to the day and time of your swearing-in ceremony, which will then enable you to practice law.
If you’re interested in becoming a lawyer, chances are you have other questions that have not been answered here. If so, we invite you to contact us for answers to those questions or assistance in finding the right training program.