How to become a lawyer in the USA

How to become a lawyer in the USA

Lawyer is one of the most popular careers because lawyers play an important role in all aspects of our lives: they help with filing documents
They can help us throughout our lives by filing documents (including leases and mortgages), registering patents, and resolving court disputes.

When choosing a college, everyone should strive not only to enter a prestigious university with a good reputation, but also to choose the most appropriate institution for himself.

First of all, it is important to understand what kind of education you are interested in and what career you want to pursue. The answers to these questions will help you understand how to prepare for, study and achieve your goal.

Lawyer is one of the most popular careers, as it is a profession that plays an important role throughout our lives: helping with paperwork (including leases and mortgages), registering patents and settling court disputes. There are many specialisations within the legal profession, each of which can be a student’s goal. But regardless of the field in which a future lawyer is going to work, skills such as critical thinking, the ability to provide qualified legal advice that will affect another person’s life and their further
actions. Lawyers do this in the courtroom, defending their clients, others work as counsellors, while the work of others does not involve appearing in court at all.

Legal work can generally be divided into criminal law and civil law. Work in criminal law involves defending or charging a person with a crime.

Civil law involves a dispute between two parties and the issue of compensation (usually monetary).

Where can a lawyer work?

There are many places to build a career in both criminal and civil law:

– Law firms are one of the most common places for a lawyer to work. Such a firm may consist of two people or several hundred professionals. They may specialise in different areas: criminal law, corporate law, real estate,
Patent work, etc. In larger firms the workload usually ranges from 60-80 hours a week but there are also organisations with a larger workload. Most law graduates first work in firms to gain experience and then
move on to other organisations.

– In-house lawyer – some organisations contract with external law firms to defend their interests, but others prefer to employ an in-house lawyer to give advice and deal with cases on site.

Such work may involve negotiating contracts, risk analysis, advising on transactions, etc. This type of employment would put you in close contact with another industry if that industry is of interest to you (for example, you could work for a
publishing house, sports club, hospital, aviation company, etc.)

– Public Advocate – working in public organisations is aimed at helping marginalised groups. A lawyer may defend the interests of specific people, work in a community clinic or work for a large organisation such as the ACLU. Some lawyers from private firms do this work on a voluntary basis.

– In government – at all levels from local to federal – there are jobs for lawyers. They are consultants, rank-and-file employees, prosecutors, clerks, judges and other professionals. Many politicians started their careers in the legal profession. For
For most law graduates, a job as a judge is a coveted goal, but it is very difficult to achieve – it requires a great deal of experience and a special appointment or election.

The legal profession has other, less traditional paths. Regardless of which goal you want to achieve, there are a number of specific steps you will have to take first.

How much does a lawyer earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a lawyer in the United States is almost $130,000 a year. But it’s important to understand that pay varies considerably for workers in different services. For example, in 2019, the salary was:

– corporate lawyers – $111,000;
– family lawyers – $68,776;
– Immigration lawyers – $60,982;
– Patent lawyers – $123,663.

How do I become a lawyer?

High School

You should start thinking about becoming a lawyer in the United States as early as high school and prepare actively for law school. It is advisable to think about the area in which you would like to specialise. This will help you make a clear plan and follow it, and thus succeed. In this way you can choose the most suitable programmes and the most appropriate university,
which will give you the best training in a particular area of law.

It’s also important to understand that some law schools ask for high school transcripts as well as college transcripts, so it’s best to have the highest grades and accomplishments to help you stand out from the other candidates.


College admission and course selection should include prerequisites for further admission to law school. However, remember that you are free to study whatever you want during this period of your life. Increase your erudition, improve your critical and analytical thinking skills, research and anything else you might need in your career.

Regardless of your college major, there are three factors that will make a difference when applying to law school:
– GPA,
– LSAT (or GRE),
– extracurriculars.

GPA and test scores will show your academic level in the context of a particular college and nationally. And extracurricular activities reveal your interests and passions.

The LSAT is the universal standardized test for applying to law school, while the GRE is a common test for entering graduate school. Some law schools have started to accept its results as well, in order to offer more flexibility to applicants. This test is suitable for those who are undecided about their future path: law school or graduate school. But if you’re clear about applying to law school, you’re better off taking the LSAT. To prepare for the test, some students take private courses, while others study independently. It is difficult and unusual, with logical puzzles and
questions and requires a lot of preparation. You can only take it four times a year, so plan ahead so you can retake it.

Active extracurricular activities are also important – exercise your leadership skills, engage in debate, organize on campus or start your own club – the specifics do not matter, it is important to demonstrate a passion for a particular occupation and willingness to actively develop in this direction.

Law School

After successfully passing all the tests and doing extensive work, you have finally made it to the law school of your dreams. What awaits you here? Law school in the U.S. offers usually three years of study, which ends with a Bar Exam in the state in which you intend to practice.

The first year is usually the most challenging for students. They spend hours reading cases, studying materials and preparing to analyse cases in class. Study groups are formed to help them learn all the material. In most cases, grades are awarded on the basis of the final examination at the end of the year.

It is best to spend the summer holidays doing an internship at a firm in your area of interest. This will enable you to return for an internship the following year. To get such internship is not easy, you will have to pass an interview in several stages, but sometimes some firms themselves invite students for interviews, even to other cities. Regular internships will allow you to establish connections and qualify for a place on the staff when you graduate.

The legal practice exams vary from state to state. Graduates have the opportunity to take them within a year of graduation. Successfully passing the Bar Exam gives you the opportunity to work as a lawyer in your chosen state. However, you can also take the Bar Exam in other states, expanding your career options.

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