How Long Does It Take To Become A Lawyer?

November 26, 2022
By AdmissionSight

How Long Does It Take To Become A Lawyer?

A lawyer gives legal advice to clients, represents them in legal processes, and generates legal documents. They constantly interpret the law based on the individual situations of their clients. Additionally, lawyers must conduct a consistent study into the most recent legislation and the most prevalent legal challenges. Some people avoid becoming a lawyer because when they ask, “how long does it take to become a lawyer?” they see almost a decade of their lives dedicated to this career path.

Most individuals interested in a career as a lawyer often follow the conventional route, which consists of acquiring a bachelor’s degree followed by spending three years in law school. If you go to school full-time and are successful on your first attempt at the bar test, the total amount of time it will take you to complete this task will depend on those factors.

a female criminal justice attorney writing on a paper

To become a lawyer, however, can take substantially longer depending on the state in which one chooses to practice because not all states have the same standards for licensure and other prerequisites for the profession.

How much does it cost to become a lawyer? Is it worth it?

How much does it cost to become a lawyer? Will it be worth it? The cost of attending law school will change depending on the institution that you choose to attend. The cost of tuition can vary from school to school, as can the cost of books, food, housing, and other necessities.

If you attend a private school, the average tuition and fees would be around $51,268. It is a different story when it comes to public schools, as the average cost would depend on whether you are a state resident or not. As a resident, you will be paying around $29,074 in Tuition & Fees. In comparison, non-residents would pay about $42,143 in Tuition & Fees.

The total cost of attending law school for three years can range anywhere from $87,222 (for public schools located within the student’s home state) to $153,804 (or more) for private schools. These numbers can be particularly overwhelming when applying directly to law school after completing an undergraduate degree.

However, working as an attorney can undoubtedly be financially rewarding in the long run. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median salary for a lawyer in 2020 will be $126,930, with the top ten percent earning more than $208,000 annually. The student can cover the cost of attending law school in various ways. Payment may be more manageable for your mind and your wallet if you take advantage of specialized loans, grants, scholarships, and affordable programs.

As was previously stated, the average salary for lawyers is among the highest in any profession. The high pay for the job has made people consider becoming a lawyer despite knowing how long does it take to become a lawyer.

You may not make more than $100,000 in your first two or three years of work, but you can work your way up to that level over time. This depends on where you work, the area of law you practice, and the law school from where you graduated. Even people who did not attend supposedly “prestigious” law schools can have great professional success.

How difficult is it to become a lawyer?

Your hard work, determination, and willpower can depend on the answer to the question, “how difficult is it to become a lawyer.” The path to becoming one can be challenging but is very straightforward.

Getting an undergraduate degree

For applicants to be considered for admission, law schools mandate that applicants have at least a bachelor’s degree. Even though a lawyer’s undergraduate degree can be in any field to have the most compelling application for law school, most law students major in subjects relevant to the legal profession. These include political science, criminal justice, English, and sociology.

a female pre law student using her laptop inside the library

However, in the state of California, you can enter law school after completing only two years of undergraduate education or by completing an equivalency exam. Even though you might be able to get into law school more quickly using this method, you might have a difficult time getting into a prestigious law school.

Participating in the LSAT

The Law School Admissions Test, sometimes known as the LSAT, is an essential aspect of the application process for law school. The Law School Admission Test, sometimes known as the LSAT, is a standardized test that law schools use to evaluate the likelihood that a candidate will be successful in their program.

You’ll need to devote time and effort to getting ready for the LSAT because it plays a substantial role in determining how competitive your application to law school will be. However, students working toward a bachelor’s degree will typically finish the exam while still enrolled in college; hence, they will not usually need additional time to prepare for the LSAT.

However, if you are dissatisfied with your original score or have already earned your bachelor’s degree, you will need to retake the exam or find the time to study for it. This extra time will add to the length on how long does it take to become a lawyer. A good LSAT score can be necessary on your road to becoming a lawyer, as your LSAT results are essential to your application. High LSAT scores can help law schools identify top applicants.

Attending a school for law

You can expect to graduate from law school in three years if you can devote yourself fully to your studies and attend classes full-time. It is possible to participate in law school part-time at many different law schools, but doing so will require you to complete your degree in four years rather than in three. Other jurisdictions, like Colorado, do not even mandate that you attend law school to practice law there. On the other hand, getting a legal license in the majority of states, including New Jersey, necessitates attending a law school that the American Bar Association has approved.

Law school will help you build your critical thinking skills and your knowledge of the law, and it will also expose you to some common circumstances you can encounter in your future career as a lawyer.

Taking the state bar exam

This is the final stretch for the timeline of how long does it take to become a lawyer. After graduating from law school, you will be required to take the bar exam in either your home state or the state where you intend to practice law.

Candidates for the legal profession must first earn a passing score on the bar examination administered by their state. Although the criteria differ from state to state, the Multistate Bar Examination is required to practice law in several states.

This examination consists of two hundred questions covering subjects such as torts, criminal law, and contracts. In addition to this, states frequently call for articles on other legal themes. The procedure of taking the bar exam normally takes two days.

In most states, attorneys must participate in periodic continuing legal education programs once they have begun practicing law. It is anticipated that you will devote two to three months of your time to studying for the bar, and your exam results will not be available for several more months.

However, even if you successfully pass the bar exam, you are not allowed to call yourself a lawyer until you have been formally admitted to the bar. The bar association in your state will conduct a character and fitness evaluation to determine whether or not you are eligible for admission.

This procedure involves conducting a comprehensive background check on your personal, financial, criminal, residential, and employment history. The length of time this takes will be directly proportional to how spotless your record is, but in general, you should anticipate it will take a few months.

How to become a lawyer?: What it boils down to

After you have earned your license to practice law and have completed the bar examination, you have already answered the question, “how long does it take to become a lawyer” at your own pace. Your next step in how to become a lawyer is finding a job that suits your profession. It would help if you directed your attention toward finding employment in legal offices and businesses. Lawyers can get a career with the government, private firms, non-profit organizations, and a wide variety of other organizations.

Think about the area of law you would like to specialize in and the setting in which you would feel most comfortable working. After receiving your degree, you might apply for a wide variety of jobs to figure out which aspects of being a lawyer appeal to you the most.

An unidentified male wearing a black suit sitting at a table holding a pen and paper with a gavel in front of him

You have a choice in which area of law you want to concentrate on, which is one of the most appealing features of working in the legal sector. Your first step should be to ask yourself what drives and interests you.

Here are a few of the more well-known legal specializations that you can choose from:

  • Personal Injury lawyer
  • Employment lawyer
  • Immigration lawyer
  • Environmental lawyer
  • Civil rights lawyer
  • Criminal lawyer
  • Family and divorce lawyer
  • Estate Planning lawyer
  • Construction and real estate lawyer
  • Corporate lawyer
  • Bankruptcy lawyer

For future law students who want to enter some of the most prestigious schools in America, AdmissionSight.com is an excellent place to start your journey. With over ten years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process, You can get accepted to any university you wish. Feel free to set up an appointment today with an AdmissionSight professional to book your initial consultation.

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