Like many Americans, you may be reading the torrent of terrible news in the morning and feel the urge to do something important with your life, like defending justice with the help of a JD (that’s what is stands for, right? Justice Degree?).
But there’s much more to becoming a lawyer than increasing your proficiency on logic games and landing a near-perfect LSAT score. If you want to work in the law here is a quick breakdown of the process of becoming a lawyer.
Just as you worked hard in high school to get accepted into college, you need to take undergrad seriously for a fighting chance to get into law school. Stay focused and maintain a high GPA. The American Bar Association (ABA) doesn’t recommend a particular major for law school hopefuls, so choose one that will develop your critical thinking, reasoning, and logic skills.
Get involved in community service, student organizations, and other activities while in college. Debate is an ideal primer for law school, but try whatever you are interested in. Not only will extracurriculars give you a break from your studies, but you’ll also get to grow your network and meet like-minded students who could potentially become part of your LSAT study group.
Decide When to Apply
Your law school applications and LSAT scores should be finalized the winter before you want to attend law school. This means that if you don’t want a gap in your education you will need to devote most of your senior year to prepping for the LSAT and writing your applications. The general consensus is that it’s best to apply as early in the admissions window as you can.
Many students opt to apply and take the LSAT in the fall after they graduate from college, which is completely acceptable. You can gain some work experience as a paralegal and you won’t have to balance your LSAT studies with six other courses. There’s something to say about taking a year off so you don’t buckle under stress your senior year. You also shouldn’t overlook the benefits of taking a summer LSAT; it gives you time to take a fall LSAT as a backup if you need to.
Prep for the LSAT
After you’ve decided when you’re going to take the LSAT, it’s time to prepare for it. Some students prefer to self-study with an online course that allows them to go at their own pace or with a personal tutor. Most people, though, gravitate towards classroom courses. Blueprint takes it one step further by offering a Live Online class, which is basically classroom-level instruction live streamed from our studios.
However you choose to prep, it’s best to begin 2-3 months before the exam month. Start with a practice test to diagnose where your skill level is. You might already be strong in some areas without even knowing it. A free MyBlueprint account will help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses and gives you access to the Law School Compass, which gives you an in-depth look at what your admissions chances are for specific schools. Consistency and perseverance are key when it comes to LSAT prep.
Take the LSAT
This is considered one of the most important steps to becoming a lawyer, and to truly ace the test you can rely on the resources and classes we offer to clinch that score you need. But once you complete the exam and ensure that your applications are all submitted before the respective deadlines, then waiting game begins.
Let’s say you took the LSAT, but scored lower than expected.Raising your LSAT score is crucial — a higher LSAT score translates to admissions at top-tier law schools, which directly correlates to higher earnings and a better salary once you are working as a lawyer. Blueprint LSAT students average an 11-point score increase, paying off exponentially down the line long after the LSAT is completed.
Earn Your JD
Hard to believe that we fit the herculean task of law school into three simple words. Here are some tips to put your best foot forward while on the path to becoming a lawyer:
- Do your best to earn good grades during 1L. Law firms only look at grades during the first year when hiring summer associates and interns, so this is not the year to slack off.
- Network. Don’t solely focus on your studies. Landing internships and summer associate positions is how you can best transition into the industry, so attend campus events and meet with professors whenever possible to gain some traction.
- Pass the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination). Passing this exam is required for admission to the bars in most states. Look up the specifics in your jurisdiction and plan your test date well in advance.
Pass the Bar Exam
This last one is a doozy, but if you study enough you should be prepared to tackle questions on constitutional law, contracts, criminal procedure, copyright law, and more. Note that some experts recommend 400 to 600 hours of study time, which comes out to about 25 weeks of studying 20 hours per week.
Some lawyers-in-training choose to take the Bar in the summer right after they graduate from law school, but allow yourself enough time to study before taking the Bar. Once you pass you officially have the credentials to call yourself a lawyer.
Now to just find that perfect job… we didn’t say it would be easy!