If you’re someone who is passionate about helping others while enjoying a well-respected professional status, there’s a good chance that you’ve considered working in the legal profession. Just as there are many reasons why individuals are attracted to this profession, there are many paths one could take to enter the field of law.
As you research different law specialization types and requirements for becoming a fully-licensed lawyer, a question that inevitably pops up is: How long does it take to become a specific lawyer? This is hard to tell as there are several factors influencing the amount of time needed to start practicing law. With that in mind, here are several things you’ll need to consider on your path to becoming a specific lawyer.
Qualifications and requirements
If you’re like most individuals starting a career in law, you may decide to take the traditional route. This will usually involve getting a bachelor degree along with attending the law school for 3 years. You can get your bachelor’s degree in any subject so long as you attend an accredited college/university. This is a prerequisite to many law schools accredited by ABA (American Bar Association).
Another requirement for entering law school is completing the LSAT (Law School Admission test). Students will usually complete this test while pursuing their undergraduate degree, but there’s always a possibility to retake the test if you’ve obtained your bachelor’s degree or want to improve your initial LSAT score (which will require additional time).
After that, you’re expected to attend law school. You can expect to complete the program within 3 to 4 years. This will largely depend on whether you attend the law school on a full-time or part-time basis. Finally, you’ll need to pass the state bar exam. You’ll spend up to 3 months preparing for the exam, and wait an additional few for the results.
The law specialization type you want to focus on
How long it takes to become a lawyer also depends on the law specialization type you decide to pursue. An individual looking to become a criminal defense attorney will need to get a bachelor’s degree and attend law school. They’ll need to specialize in criminal defense, and then write the state bar exam. According to a reputable Raleigh criminal lawyer, they’ll also need a license along with great communication and analytic skills.
To become a corporate lawyer, you’ll need to get the education as a criminal defense lawyer (7 years). If you wish to practice globally, it’ll take you 2 additional years to acquire a Master of Laws degree(LL.M).
If you’re looking to become a banking lawyer, you’ll need to fulfill requirements such as a bachelor’s degree, LSAT, and preferably some experience in the field of finances, which you can acquire by earning a degree in finance or accounting, or by working in a finance law firm (as an intern or a paralegal). Other than these, some aspiring lawyers may also decide to pursue other legal sub-specialties. These include administrative law, commercial law, tax law, and health care law, among many others.
The state where you plan on practicing law
While there are some general guidelines when it comes to educational requirements, they do vary from state to state. The aforementioned requirements apply if you’re looking to practice law in the USA. You may not even be required to attend law school in some U.S. states such as Colorado. However, attending an accredited one is a must in places such as New Jersey. Either way, you can expect to become a lawyer in 7 to 8 years in the USA. That said, you can expect things to be quite different in places such as the UK and Australia.
For instance, becoming a UK lawyer (solicitor or barrister) means taking either direct or non-law graduate entry path. Depending on the path you take, you can expect to become a barrister within 5 to 11 years. To become a solicitor, you’ll need to spend anywhere from 6 to 12 years.
If you wish to become a lawyer in Australia, you can expect it to take less time (6 years). Still, there are certain requirements you’ll need to fulfill. These include becoming a Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor, after which you’ll need to complete a practical legal training. Then, you’ll need to get admission to Legal Practice, after which you’ll have to obtain a practicing certificate.
There’s no doubt that solving problems and representing individuals in legal matters can be a rewarding experience. Not only is it an opportunity to ensure large earnings and enjoy the reputation that comes with a law profession, but it’s also a chance to help people and make this world a better place. While there’s a long way to go, the end result is definitely worth the money, time, and effort invested.
Eve Anderson is a marketing specialist turned blogger. Interested in sports and exciting travel destinations. Love to share content that can inform people.