et="UTF-8"> How to Become a Lawyer

How to Become a Lawyer

Lawyers work closely with clients, courts, law enforcement, and expert witnesses to resolve legal issues. They research case law and current legislation to provide advice and representation. Technically, only a person who has passed the bar exam can be considered an attorney. However, many people use the terms interchangeably. Education and Training To become a lawyer, students must earn a bachelor’s degree and graduate from an American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited law school. They then pass a state bar exam. Lawyers who wish to practice in multiple states must also successfully complete each state’s bar exams. People who choose to become lawyers are typically interested in helping individuals, companies or organizations resolve legal issues and manage risk. They must have excellent interpersonal skills to develop trusting relationships with clients and other professionals. They must be able to read and analyze large amounts of information and write clear, concise documents. Students interested in a career as a lawyer should take courses that cultivate people and analytical thinking, such as philosophy, English and social science. They should also consider taking technical courses in fields such as computer engineering and technology, since these skills can help them work cases more efficiently. In addition to these skills, a good lawyer is resourceful and patient, as court proceedings can sometimes take years to resolve. Experience and Skills As a lawyer, you will work with a wide variety of people. People skills are an essential trait for lawyers, including empathy and the ability to connect with others and interpret emotions. Developing these traits can help you build trusting relationships with your clients and coworkers. Strong written communication skills are also important for lawyers, who often perform legal writing tasks, such as documenting casework and relating information to others through memos and other applications. You may also find yourself working under tight deadlines, so developing the ability to handle stress and focus on tasks can be helpful. Patience is also an important trait for lawyers, as court proceedings can take years to complete. You must have the fortitude to see each case through to its conclusion and provide support throughout the process. Gaining exposure to different practice areas through internships, externships or volunteer work can be an excellent way to get hands-on experience in the field. Licensing and Certification The licensing requirements for lawyers vary widely among jurisdictions. In the United States, for example, prospective attorneys must hold a bachelor’s degree (the major doesn’t matter, according to the American Bar Association, though most lawyers major in subjects such as history, political science and English). They must pass the Law School Admission Test and complete three years of study at an ABA-accredited law school. They must also pass their state’s bar exam. In the United States, the bar exam is a two-day test that combines multiple choice questions with essay exams. The exam covers a wide range of legal topics, including criminal law, torts, contracts and constitutional law. Lawyers who want to work in several states must pass the exam in each jurisdiction. In countries that have separate categories of lawyer, such as barristers and solicitors, potential solicitors must gain a practising certificate after passing the Legal Practice Course and working for a year in chambers with a practicing solicitor. Most jurisdictions require applicants to undergo a moral character and fitness review, which may include questions about academic and personal conduct while in law school and afterward, as well as a background check. Practice Areas Aspiring lawyers might find it challenging to determine which practice area is right for them. While some may be tempted to choose the legal field that makes the most money or which their parents, professors or school advisors suggest, choosing a practice area based on interests and marketability is a better route. For example, corporate law might be an excellent choice for students who like working toward a large payoff and want to become involved in business affairs. Banking and finance law is another option that encompasses regulating financial products, such as loan transactions. Other areas of practice include clinical negligence, which involves heartbreaking cases involving patients who suffer long-term or life-changing injuries due to medical errors. For those interested in technology, digital media or internet law is an option that covers copyright and piracy lawsuits, privacy issues, drafting terms of service pages for websites and telecommunications regulations. In addition, tax law is a popular practice area that covers everything from business taxes to individual and household taxes. Rechtsanwalt

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