It takes a long time to become an attorney, but it is not an impossible journey. Similar to many other professional careers, becoming a lawyer or attorney requires more schooling than average. But if you are an undergraduate and unsure of what to do with your degree, you may want to consider adding a few more years to your studies and work toward a career as an attorney.
Attorneys come from a variety of educational backgrounds. This is because most law schools will accept students with undergraduate degrees in any number of majors. In addition to their majors, law schools will also screen potential students for evidence of community involvement. The final requirement is usually an appropriate score on the LSAT (Law School Administration Test). This exam, offered several times a year, helps measures traits that schools find desirable in potential attorneys.
It may be helpful to view law school as a specialized form of graduate school. When students attend full time, most graduate programs can be completed in two to three years; law school can be completed in three. As with most other graduate programs, law students need to become immersed in their studies. This not only requires concentration over an extended period of time, it also requires that students retain most of what they learn.
Once graduating from law school, potential attorneys have to undergo one more task –studying for and passing the bar. Named for the separation between court officials and the public, the bar is also used to refer to all lawyers or attorneys who are qualified to practice law. Although some schools offer extra classes that detail the strategies of passing the bar, the burden is on the student to conduct the necessary preparations to pass the multi-day test.
The public is familiar with many types of attorneys, including those that specialize in divorce, family law, bankruptcy, real estate, copyright, and high profile trial lawyers. However, attorneys don’t always have to be involved in the forefront and many prefer to work in a quieter environment. This is reflected in the fact that the majority of attorneys will seek employment with district attorneys, private firms, and research organizations.