Lengthy, time-consuming and exhausting. Each is synonymous with the revered line of work involving the judiciary system, law, and in achieving the milestone of academia as an aspiring attorney, the Juris Doctor (J.D.). There is a reason they charge so much when off of ‘pro bono’ duties, and it is because entering this field is quite arduous and multifaceted, and completing it is even more strenuous than this just sounded. And so, one must ask themselves, “Do I have what it takes to be a lawyer?” Well, here is how you will know, just keep on reading.
What is a Lawyer?
The term lawyer is a general term which refers to any one person qualified to give legal advice as a licensed practitioner. The different legal titles for anyone that pursues an education into the legal world are:
- Litigation Executive
- Chartered Legal Executive
- Judge (reserved for those pursuing a job in the judiciary system)
Steps to becoming a Lawyer
- Earn a bachelor’s degree. Try to keep your GPA above the 3.0 mark.
- Pass the Law School Admission Test. The test is called (LSAT)
- Attend law school, work, and then work harder so that you may get a Juris Doctor (JD).
- It’s usually favored and required even for you to complete a clerkship at a Law firm in the experience.
- Take your state Bar Examination and pass.
- Apply and get interviewed as a Lawyer at an established firm, could be the one you desire. If not, then you can always start your own private practice.
- Congratulations, you have finally become a lawyer.
Well, not quite. Unless you have completed the first six steps of course. For purposes of putting things into perspective, this is not an overnight feat, it is more like a four year to get your bachelor’s degree and then three years to acquire your JD type of feat.
Lawyer job training
Typically, an aspiring lawyer will have to train in either a Law firm or Law school clinic. Hands-on training will equip the trainees with adequate tools by gaining real-world experience of working with and learning from seasoned Lawyers. The students will, in such scenarios, have the opportunity to advise clients under supervision. This will be by drafting motions, presenting motions, communicating with the opposing counsel and of course the crown jewel of all law-related tasks, investigating cases. There is also the vocation that is most integral and fundamental in any law firm, performing as a paralegal.
Salaries for lawyers are considered to be leaning towards the high-end of the spectrum. Though, they usually differ depending on the sector you are working in. Characteristically, the private sector pays the best. In regard to governmental positions, federal government jobs will prove to be much more lucrative than state government jobs.
Continuing legal education
Often times, there will come along the not so rare case of having to continue legal education after the person’s initial admission to the bar. Many states find it mandatory, asking any legal practitioner to resume their studies for reasons of maintaining one’s license to practice law. It is more common in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It may even extend to the Far East’s Philippines. Where some may recommend a CLE, others would have deemed it compulsory as it updates what may be an outdated or perhaps even expired profile of the law. Apart from granting credits to license holders to allow them to further maintain their license, it bestows skills and knowledge that would have their practice remain relevant to the time.
Crediting such people with the capacity to adequately provide a quality service that responds to their client’s needs and desires, to the requirements of the legal profession. To enhance your legal education and supplement it with today’s reformed laws is found not just to be mandatory, even when it is not, but rather a pillar on which you will build upon. The experts at ProLawCLE advocate, vehemently, for the importance of CLE. They have described it as an education and collaboration designed to achieve success, where the goal is to provide quality education to legal professionals and foster collaboration through networking opportunities.
Things to consider
Before jumping into this whole world of becoming a lawyer, you must first understand a few things. At first, after completing your bachelor’s degree and preparing for law school, you must also consider preparing a steep amount of money for tuition, as it is not at all inexpensive. You will have to endure the agonizing pain of dressing appropriately, with your only choice of attire being formal wear, on the button. Of course, you do not mind the regular public speaking or the copious amounts of writing your fingers will suffer too, nor will the reading and analyzing, that will probably strain your brain and eyes, be of any problem to you. Though, if this field is your chosen passion and profession, do brace yourself for long working hours.
A few skills which might be required upon entering this field are fast learning, active listening, complex problem solving and critical thinking as well as analyzing, negotiating, speaking and coordinating. Of course, some virtues are expected, such as patience and fairness.
To have what it takes to be a lawyer does not simply come from textbooks, it transcends beyond words. A crucial part of the process, which is indeed optional, is to seek a legal training job. By disregarding this supposed option, you will be shooting yourself in the foot. As for the established lawyers, by filling knowledge gaps and broadening legal knowledge with a CLE, you will be prepared to become a more competent, knowledgeable and effective lawyer, which in return will have both the individual and the body to which they are attached to (their firm) reap the fruits of this harvest, of continuing legal education. It certainly extends beyond the individual. So, if you think you have what it takes to become a lawyer, then suit up.