One of the most common questions aspiring lawyers ask is “how long does it take to become a lawyer?“
Here’s the quick answer: law school takes three years to complete!
However, that’s not the whole story. Law school is only the final step of the formation. There are other prerequisites:
- Preparing yourself in high school
- Getting a Bachelor’s degree
- Taking the LSAT
- Applying to law school
All in all, it usually takes seven years to become a lawyer (after finishing high school).
Let’s look at it in details!
Step 1: Preparing yourself in high school
Did you know that about 40% of people who take the bar examination fail?
Without any exaggeration, becoming a lawyer is pretty tough.
If you want to practice law, you have to prepare yourself not solely in college but also in high school.
For example, you can polish your reasoning skills by joining your high school’s debate or moot court team.
The more exposed you are to activities in the legal field, the earlier you will know if being a lawyer is truly your thing!
If your school offers Latin, we also recommend taking it. Several legal terms are in Latin. Thus, you get to have an edge in law school if you’re already familiar with the language from a young age.
Finally, aspiring lawyers need to keep a clean record. That means having zero felonies committed!
Once you take your oath, you have to disclose everything. The fewer mischiefs you’ve committed, the easier it will be for you to get accepted.
Step 2: Getting your bachelor’s degree
Every law school in the world requires you to complete your college studies.
You need to finish a 4-year program with a GPA of at least 3.0 to qualify for admission.
Although law school doesn’t necessarily need you to have a specific major, there are ideal ones that can help you with your practice.
It is generally recommended that you take courses in English, communication, political science or history.
However, you can also follow any other program.
Law school cares more about your GPA than your major. If you are passionate about your program, there’s a higher chance of actually earning an above-average GPA.
The key here is to take your college seriously and aim for the highest grades you can achieve.
Step 3: Taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
Apart from finishing your bachelor’s degree, you have to take the LSAT. Every law school accredited by the ABA (American Bar Association) will require this test.
You should review and be prepared at least a year before taking this test. So study in advance through your junior and senior years in college.
Ideally, you can take this exam either the summer after your junior year in college or before the fall semester of your law school. The test is available in June, October, and December.
LSAT is all about your reading comprehension and verbal reasoning skills. Polish those skills to the best of your abilities and you will have a higher success rate at landing a good score.
We advise attending prep classes and take practice tests as often as you can.
Step 4: Applying to law school
Once you get your degree and your LSAT result, you can focus on getting into law school.
You will submit your test scores, applications, and recommendation letters to LSAC (Law School Admissions Council).
They will be the one sending all your information to your desired law schools.
Please consider that each law school has its standards and requirements. Some are more brutal than others when it comes to your GPA and LSAT, while others are more relaxed.
So long does it take for me to become a lawyer?
If you manage to study without fail, the entire journey takes seven years: four to get the Bachelor’s degree and three to complete law school.
It’s a long journey, and it’s a challenging road.
However, with perseverance and determination, nothing is impossible.
If you are rushing it, which we don’t recommend, you can complete your college degree in three years and finish law school in two.
That means you can become a lawyer in just five years after high school.
However, that would be unreasonably stressful.
Take your time and make sure you understand everything about our law to become a successful lawyer.
Remember — practicing law is serious — you have the power to either give justice or take it away.