A degree is a higher education award granted to students based on a particular area of study, usually at the bachelorâ€™s, masterâ€™s or doctoral levels. A lawyerâ€™s degree is often called the Juris Doctor (JD) and it is one of the first steps towards licensing to practice law in a given jurisdiction.
The ABA recommends that prospective lawyers pursue undergraduate studies at a four-year university or college, although many students choose to complete their degrees in a variety of formats, including online, while pursuing other interests. As a general rule, it takes about four years of full-time study to earn a bachelorâ€™s degree and some students may take as long as five or six years to finish.
Whether you plan to study at an accredited law school or not, it is important to consider your career goals. You can become a lawyer as a general practitioner, handling all types of legal matters, or specialize in a specific field of the law. Some lawyers choose to work in a specific practice area, such as corporate law or tax law, while others focus on more specialized fields, such as criminal defense or international law.
How to Be a Lawyer
In order to become a lawyer, you must complete an educational program at an ABAapproved law school. This typically includes earning a bachelorâ€™s or masterâ€™s degree, and passing the bar examination in your jurisdiction. You must also have a certain amount of work experience before you are eligible to sit for the bar exam and practice law.
It is not uncommon for a lawyer to move from one area of the law to another, or even switch careers entirely, during their working life. For example, some lawyers shift to law enforcement after a number of years in private practice, while others go back to school for a masterâ€™s or doctoral degree and pursue a more academic career. Recommended this site car accident attorney .
While a lawyerâ€™s job varies depending on their personal interests, skills and personalities, the general work consists of providing legal advice, performing research, drafting documents and gathering information for clients. Lawyers may also represent their clients in court, if necessary.
A law degree isnâ€™t necessary to practice in all states and U.S. jurisdictions, but it is required in most to qualify to sit for the bar exam and gain legal license. Some alternatives to the traditional route include an apprenticeship and law reader programs.
The best way to decide if youâ€™re ready to be a lawyer is to ask yourself why you want to be a lawyer. If you are committed to a career in the legal field, it will be worth the time and effort involved in obtaining your degree, getting licensure, and taking the bar exam.
You may have already chosen a degree that you are interested in. If youâ€™re still unsure, it is helpful to consult with a counselor at your university or college who can help you decide which type of degree will be most beneficial for your career.