The process behind becoming a lawyer is a lot different compared to other occupations, with requirements differing state to state. There is no question that the journey is a challenging one, even for the most dedicated candidates. But it is also an incredibly rewarding career that allows you to help individuals and corporations.
Giovani Mesa is a business attorney practicing in the Miami/ Fort Lauderdale area. A degree in political science and a certificate in International Law are some of Giovani’s many qualifications. Here, Giovani breaks down the process that every aspiring lawyer in the United States must go through.
Giovani Mesa on completing a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Many successful lawyers have discovered their passion for law through their undergrad careers. Typically individuals interested in pursuing a law degree will major in political science, journalism, criminology, or a business related field. However, candidates are welcome to pursue any field of study for their undergrad. Choosing a Bachelor’s program relevant to the legal system can give candidates a better understanding of law school and its requirements.
Pass the Law School Admission Test
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is an examination that decides which candidates are qualified to enroll into law school. Typically individuals take the LSAT before they graduate from their undergraduate program. Giovani Mesa explains that the LSAT test is made of five multiple choice sections and one short answer section. These questions examine skills such as critical thinking, argumentation and analysis. Of course, passing the test is mandatory before entry into any law school, so it is important that you are fully prepared for the test. Giovani recommends studying for 4 or more months, dedicating at least 15 hours a week.
Choose between and apply to law schools
Undergraduates must choose which law school they would like to attend. It is important to consider that in addition to LSAT scores and overall GPA, institutions will consider your involvement in extracurricular activities, recommendation letters and alumni amongst other factors. Giovani Mesa says it is important to receive at least one recommendation letter from a teacher that you have worked closely with throughout your undergrad. Before applying, students should consider the tuition, curriculum and area of their desired institution.
Acquire a Juris Doctor Degree
The Juris Doctor Degree (JD) is a degree that permits the practice of law across the United States and typically takes three years to complete. As an individual who has received his JD, Giovani Mesa recommends that students choose a program in their area of interest within legal practice. Programs include real estate, family law, criminal and many more.
Pass the Bar Examination
After graduating from an ABA-approved law institution, lawyers must take the bar examination. The bar examination consists of two parts: completion of the Multistate Bar Examination and examinations concerning legal concerns. Each state has its own guidelines which lawyers will have to inform themselves about prior to taking the bar examination. Before the full legal license is presented, the state board of examiners will screen the candidates’ ability to legally represent clients, along with their educational background and characteristics.
Once students have completed all of these stages, they can legally practice law in the United States. Giovani Mesa recommends that new lawyers look for associate opportunities so they can learn from experienced law professionals. There will be many opportunities for new lawyers after years of working in the legal system. The law firms that lawyers work with are likely to promote them. Furthermore, lawyers can even start their own practices. Once aspiring lawyers have endured this process, the sky’s the limit!