One of the most popular and successful professions in the United States is the practice of law. For those of you who aren’t hip to legal terms, that means being a lawyer. 

Along with working in medicine or software, being a lawyer is seen as a fantastic job in the United States. Apart from it being a well-known and respected job by everyone due to the income most lawyers make, the United States also has a bit of a love affair with police and lawyers, at least in some tv shows. 

Lawyers are the good guys in the show Law and Order, which is an incredibly popular tv show that spans over some decades. 

Lawyers are also the victims of jokes about having few morals and being overpaid, look at Lionel Hutz in the Simpsons. 

What really can’t be ignored is that if you can manage to become a lawyer, which takes a lot of hard work and studying, and then show that you can be a great lawyer, whether as a lawyer who defends their client, represents them in legal and business matters, or works for the state, you will have a successful career and a GREAT salary. 

To become a lawyer takes a lot of studying and hard work, as well as going through many qualification exams. There are also many different types of lawyers that specialize in different areas of law, some that pay more than others, and some that are more morally acceptable than others as well. 

There are plenty of great law schools around the country, and choosing the right one can help you to become a successful lawyer, the better the school the better reputation you’ll have.

So if you are asking yourself “What does it take to become a lawyer?” keep reading this guide and find out. 

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The qualifications needed to become a lawyer

girl studying law
You will have to study more than just a bachelor's to become a lawyer. Source: Unsplash

Before you even begin to study law at college, you should familiarize yourself with what you will need to have to be able to call yourself a lawyer and work as a lawyer, for any type of law.

If you have ever been to a lawyer, whether one who charges a lot of money or is cheap, most likely this individual will be really professional and have a very firm understanding of the law. There is a very simple explanation for that.

Those that have the right to call themselves lawyers and work as a lawyer have studied, and studied, and studied some more, and have passed all types of exams and have obtained the qualifications they needed, and probably even more.

Just like a doctor has to study more than just a bachelor's degree to work as a doctor, a lawyer must also do more than just study their four years at college.

So what exactly does a lawyer need to obtain before he can actually start working as a lawyer?

Education

Education is the obvious thing and maybe even the most important. This will be the all-important first step for starting your path to become a lawyer once you finish high school.

If you want to be a lawyer you will be looking at seven years of study, much like becoming a doctor, you will need to go beyond just four or five years of college or university education.

To become a lawyer in the United States the obvious major you would need to take would be law and legal studies. Studying this will give you a great chance of getting into law school.

If you are someone that hasn't taken law and legal studies as your bachelor you will have a tougher time getting into law school (which we will get to in a moment), however, that doesn't mean it is impossible. Law schools also have a close look at those who have completed social science degrees or history degrees.

So if you have a bachelor's in another field like these you have a decent chance still of getting into law school.

Law School

That takes us to the next level, law school.

If you want to be a lawyer, you will need to go to law school with the aim of completing a law degree at a law school after your bachelor's degree.

To get in you will need to take the LSAT, which stands for the Law School Admission Test. To get into a law school you will need to get a high enough grade on this test.

Law school normally lasts three years and upon completion, you will earn a Juris Doctor law degree with this you can try to become a licensed lawyer.

To become a lawyer in a state you will need to pass the bar exam, each state has a bar exam, and to practice law in a certain state you will need to pass the bar exam of the particular state.

Studying with a private tutor

If you are wondering how you could possibly stay on top of all the work you will need to be doing to become a lawyer, you have a few options to help you get good grades and pass any exams or certifications you need to get.

Maybe the best option would be to hire a private tutor.

There are plenty of private tutors that specialize in teaching law and legal sciences, those that have already spent a lot of time studying and want to tutor new students can be found to give you some extra help while you study law.

The best platform to find a tutor is Superprof, which has many quality tutors that can meet you when you need help and can help you in any specific type of law.

Best law schools in the USA

As you have just read, it isn't exactly easy to become a lawyer in the United States. There is a lot of studying, and even if and when you can obtain all of your qualifications, you still will need a lot of experience to become a great lawyer.

The best way of entering the world of professional law as ready as possible is going to a reputable law school.

Some colleges and universities around the country are more reputable when it comes to their legal studies undergraduate programs as well as their law schools.

Law schools can be really expensive, especially the best ones, so that is something to consider, however as a lawyer you should have a great chance at earning a high salary to quickly pay off any loans, just make sure you are ready to enter law school and work hard the three years to earn your JD degree.

Some of the best law schools in the country include:

  • Yale Law School
  • Stanford Law School
  • Harvard Law School
  • The University of Virginia School of Law
  • Columbia School of Law
  • Duke Law School

What type of lawyer earns the most?

A hand with money
Some lawyers are paid extremely well. Source: Unsplash

This is an important question you should be trying to figure out once you have decided that you would like to study law. You may want to be a lawyer that wants to put away criminals, which is commendable, however, there are other types of lawyers that do earn more money.

It also comes down to your experience and reputation, you may not earn as much as some senior partners at a law firm, but if you would like to earn big bucks it will be good to know what type of law firm to try to get into.

The highest-paid attorneys in the United States include:

  • Trial attorney
  • Corporate lawyer
  • Tax attorney
  • IP attorney
  • Medical lawyers

It is a very varied field, and if you would like to become one of these types of lawyers you will need to pass all of your qualifications and get some experience to make it as any of these types of lawyers.

Which law fields are most in-demand?

Thinking about what types of lawyers are paid the most and which are most in-demand are very similar but not always the same. Some lawyers may not be called upon as much but could be paid more if they are working for a big corporation.

Others may just represent individuals and families that are willing to pay a lawyer but don't have the millions of dollars that a large corporation has.

Some of the fields of law that are most in-demand around the United States are:

  • Family law
  • Elder law
  • Corporate law
  • Tax law

Becoming a specialist in one of these fields, or another will help you earn more money as well as help you to find more work. If you choose to specialize in one of these types of law you will have an easier time finding clients to represent.

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