How to Become a Lawyer in the United States

How to Become a Lawyer in the United States

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Wondering what it takes to become a lawyer? Today I provide you with the eight steps to
becoming a lawyer in the United States. Hi, this is Professor Beau Baez. The journey from high school to lawyer is
a seven year process for most people. I am going to walk you through the steps of
becoming a lawyer, but I am going to do so backwards. This is because everything will make more
sense if we start at the end of the journey, rather than at the beginning. Inward, outward, upward! By making inward and outward changes, you can propel yourself towards becoming a lawyer. Eight, swearing in ceremony. The final step in becoming a practicing lawyer
requires reciting an oath in a court of law. My oath was fairly simple, where I stated, I will do it again, “I will honestly demean myself in the practice of law and execute my office of attorney-at-law
to the best of my ability.” In many states this is a formal ceremony conducted
by that state’s supreme court. But in other states, going to a local judge
and reciting the oath is enough. The key is saying the appropriate oath before
a judge. Seven, character and fitness. Not everyone who graduates from law school
will practice law. This is because each state bar determines
if an applicant possesses the character needed to practice law. For example, most people that have committed
felonies will have a difficult, if not impossible, time becoming a lawyer. A former student of mine was convicted of
murder when he was 18 years old and high on drugs. But by the time he came to law school he was
a different person. Keep in mind that it’s not just felonies
that can keep you from practicing law. As part of your bar application, the state
bar will require you to provide information on every crime and arrest, even if it was
expunged from your record. They also want to know about all disciplinary
matters in college and law school. And let’s not forget telling them about
all your traffic offenses. The key is to fully disclose everything as
that demonstrates your current character. By the way, if you do have a felony conviction,
it might be worth hiring a lawyer who specializes in this area and get their advice, to see if law school
is for you. Six, bar exam. Within two months of graduation from law school,
there is this bar exam. This is a two or three day test, depending
on the state. In some states, 40% of all first-time takers
fail the exam. I’m not going to lie to you—it’s a tough
exam. I began preparing for the bar exam during
my last semester of law school. Even with all that preparation, I still felt
like I flunked it. After the exam I went back to my car with my buddy and I cried like a baby. I believed I failed. I ended up passing the first time, but it
was a brutal process. Five, law school. You need to earn a JD, which stands for Juris
Doctor. Most law students earn their JD in three years,
though some can do it in two years and others part-time in four or five years. When you start school you quickly realize there are a lot of smart people in your class. Everyone in my class had top LSAT scores and
undergraduate GPAs. During law school orientation, the law school Dean told
us to look to the left, look to the right, and only one of us would be getting an A in each
class. We were all shocked because we were used
to getting top grades in college. Few people get A’s in law school. Four, admissions process. Each law school has a limited number of seats
for their incoming class. The primary factors that law schools look
at are undergraduate GPA and a standardized test score. Yes, they’re going to look at other factors, which
are called “softs.” These include your personal statement, extracurricular
activities, personal references, and the like. But don’t expect the softs, like a letter from a
US Senator or some volunteer work, to make up for a low GPA or LSAT score. Generally, softs are much more important at the
elite law schools, where they can choose between equally talented top applicants. If your scores are high enough you’ll have
some options, like attending a top law school and paying their high tuition. Or two, attending a lower ranked law school
and getting a full scholarship. Both paths have some pros and cons. Three, standardized test score. The primary standardized score used in law
school admissions is the LSAT, which stands for Law School Admission Test. Though today, more law schools are also taking
the GRE as an alternative to the LSAT. When you are ready to apply to law school,
you sign up with an organization called LSAC, which administers the LSAT and also acts as
a repository for all standardized materials used in the law school admissions process. You will send LSAC all your undergraduate
transcripts, which they will then collate and create a unified GPA, which is used by all law schools. Most law schools will not require much more
than the LSAC report in making an admissions decision on your application. Two, college degree. To enter law school you need a bachelors degree. The college you attend and major don’t
matter very much, though graduating from an elite college still helps in the law school
admissions process. If you know you are going to law school and
that college is just a means to that end, then find a major that allows you to earn
A’s. That’s exactly what I did. I decided to major in speech communications,
and earned almost all A’s. That high GPA, along with a good LSAT score
got me into an elite law school. One, high school diploma or GED. To enter into college you either need a high
school diploma or a passing GED score. Keep in mind that law school admissions departments
aren’t going to look at your high school grades or disciplinary record, unless it resulted in
an arrest by the police. In other words, college gives you a fresh
start. Work hard and you can become a lawyer. New videos every other Wednesday, so hit
the subscribe and bell buttons so you can become a better student and a better lawyer.

7 thoughts on “How to Become a Lawyer in the United States

  • Fresh Air Post author

    Is that Brad Pitt?? I mean..the police officer.

    Great video btw
    Thank you😊

  • Aristotle Post author

    Recently accepted into BA Law & Justice in Canada and then working towards being accepted into a Juris Doctor program! Great video!

    Edit: Can you take some time and look into the Ontario, Canadian system and compare it to the USA system?

  • Ivey Rose Post author

    Currently prepping for step 6 and the notes I took for your 1L Torts class have really come in handy. I, for one, am grateful for the time you took with all your previous students and the help your videos provide current and future students. You rock Prof. Baez!

  • Art Toegemann Post author

    inward, outward, upward. 8 to 1 swearing in ceremony; character and fitness; bar exam; law school; admissions; standardized test score lsat, gre, lsac; college degree, bachelor's; high school/gde score

  • Violence is Life Post author

    I'm thinking of going this way.

  • HalfBroadCaster Post author

    Hey Learn Law Better,

    I plan on taking do my Undergraduate in Aussie and then hopefully do law school in the states. Do you think it’s worth doing a Bachelor of Law (LLB) in aussie and then do JD in the states? Or just do a degree that I’m interested in strong at (based on high school results)

  • jeeperscriminy Post author

    Sir, what is the best route a foreign lawyer may take to acquire license to practice law in the United States? Thank you so much.

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