So, you want to become an attorney.
Maybe it’s a family tradition. Maybe you adore legal dramas. Perhaps you’re looking for a solid, stable, lucrative career. Or perhaps you’re committed to defending the innocent or condemning the guilty.
Whatever your motivation, becoming an attorney requires a lot of time, effort, and study. Here’s what you will need to start your career.
Get Into the Bar
The biggest and most obvious hurdle to becoming an attorney is getting all the pieces of paper that say you can practice law in your state. According to the US Bureau of Labor, at a bare minimum, you can expect the process to take 7 years to complete. 4 of those years for undergraduate study, then 3 more for law school itself.
That’s assuming you pass the Bar Exam for your state on the first try. Sadly, the odds may not prove in your favor on that front, as there is a 1 in 4 chance that you could end up failing.
Still, with enough determination, patience, and dedication, you’re sure to succeed.
Once you pass your state’s bar exam and get admitted to the bar, you are a fully licensed and accredited attorney. Congratulations!
I’ve Become An Attorney. Now What?
However, even once you become an attorney, there are many things you need to consider before you start practicing law.
To Partner, or Not to Partner?
That is the question. Whether you should work within a firm or go into solo practice is up to your discretion. Working in a firm provides you with more initial financial security but may cut into your freedom when choosing clients. Working solo allows you the greatest freedom but also comes with all the inherent trials of running a small business. (e.g., Finding office space, advertising your services, etc.)
That also means that you’re responsible for purchasing all of your own legal supplies. Check out this legal supply provider for some ideas of what you will need.
Finding Your Focus
Ideally, you’ll have considered your focus area before you complete law school. If you didn’t, you need to think about which field you want to enter. Corporate or tax law are very different fields from family or criminal law, after all.
If you enter the criminal law sector, you must decide whether you wish to defend the accused or work for the government as the accuser. In any other law field, you must decide whether you want to be a trial lawyer or a litigator.
Generally speaking, trial lawyers only handle cases when they go to court. Litigators handle the case in its entirety. They deal with the investigation as well as the trial itself.
Once you have your focus, you’re ready to start your business.
The path to become an attorney can be a long and arduous one. From the lengthy study period required to the amount of research it takes to decide your focus and career path, it can seem overwhelming. This guide should help you better understand what you need.
If you liked this article and want to see more content like it, feel free to check out our blog!