What Kind of Degree Do You Need to Be a Lawyer?


There are many reasons why someone may decide to become a lawyer. If you are wondering what kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer because that is your chosen field, then you need to read this. What kind of a degree do you need to be a lawyer is only part of the information you need to plan your career path. There are some misconceptions about what kind of degree you need to be a lawyer. The information you find here will help dispel some misconceptions and get you on the right path.

Start Here

Every person that wishes to become a lawyer starts in the same position. Before you can get a law degree, you must earn a four-year undergraduate degree. There is a misconception that some four-year degrees are more likely to get you into law school than others. Many people start their path to law school by studying criminal justice during their undergraduate years.

While a degree in criminal justice will not hurt your chances of going on to become a divorce lawyer, there are other paths to get you to law school. For example, a four-year degree in communications, a degree in accounting, biology, and other disciplines can all get you into law school.

Focusing on an undergraduate degree in a “law” field does not necessarily mean you will be viewed as a prime candidate for laYou. What you need to focus on is not the subject but how well you do in whatever subject you choose for your undergraduate degree.

You may be thinking about what kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer if not a criminal justice degree. You can get your degree in any undergraduate subject, but your grades must be good. Your undergraduate work will be built on during law school. Let’s say you want to become a family law attorney. The right foundation in undergraduate school can help to promote success in law school.

For example, a family lawyer with an undergraduate degree in social work, sociology, or psychology, has a better understanding of relationships that could promote and which could prove to be useful in navigating family relationships. Choose a subject to study in your undergraduate work that reflects the field of law you want to work in.

Law School

A four-year degree is the starting point to becoming a lawyer. What kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer? Unfortunately, is not answered by your four-year degree. Unless you live in Virginia or California, where you can intern and apprentice your way to taking the BAR exam, you will need to go to law school.

Getting into law school is a competitive process. You must meet a few criteria to be admitted to law school. You must have a minimum GPA (grade point average) for your undergraduate degree, you must take the LSAT (law school admission test), you must have letters of recommendation, and most law schools require that you submit a personal statement. It is not easy to get into law school.

The simple answer to what kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer is you need a degree from a law school program; however, it is not that simple to get a degree from a law school. Technically, law schools are “graduate schools”. When you graduate from law school you graduate with a “juris doctorate” or a Doctor of Law. Law school is equivalent to a Ph.D. Program.

You can expect to spend about 60 months (about 5 years) earning your degree in law school. Most schools require a total of 86 credit hours, 28 classes in all. The pace of becoming a criminal lawyer can be grueling.

A misconception about law school is that once you get to law school, you must immediately choose your area of concentration. For example, you will not need to know right away that you want to become a personal injury attorney. You can choose a concentration, but you will not focus on that concentration or “specialization” until you are a second or third-year student, and you don’t have to choose a concentration at all. You can focus on general law classes.

Another misconception is that if you choose a concentration, that is all you will be able to ever practice. The fact is, if you focus on disability law or another area of the law, there are many diverse types of lawyers that fall under that specialty.

Accident attorneys take the same general law classes as every other attorney, which means you can always change your focus. You are not stuck in the concentration that you choose. What kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer of any kind? You need a law degree. You can always change your focus at any point in your academic career, or when you enter the field professionally.

While you are in law school, you will need to maintain a specific GPA set by the law school you attend. In some cases, you must maintain a minimum of a 2.0 GPA. However, some schools require that you maintain a 2.5 GPA or better. You must also meet other graduation requirements to be awarded your degree.

How To Get Into Law School

We said that law school is competitive. There are thousands of students that apply to law school. According to the Department of Education, the acceptance rates at law schools in the United States can range from an extremely low 13% acceptance rate to a 30% acceptance rate. Some schools are less competitive than others, but even those schools that are less competitive have an acceptance rate of significantly less than 50% of all applicants.

Now that you know the answer to what kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer, the urgency to get into law school is evident. What can you do to ensure you get into law school? A high GPA for your undergraduate work can help, as can a high score on the LSAT. However, those are not the only two things that the law school admittance committee is looking for. Your application must stand out from the rest.

What you do when you are not in school can be the thing that tips the scales in your favor. Volunteer work can make you a standout candidate. Getting involved in community activities can help to beef up your educational resume and draw positive attention to your potential.

Life experience, extracurricular activities, and other things that you do outside of school can give you an advantage over the competition. Law schools are looking for well-rounded candidates that will someday become valuable community members and trusted lawyers.

Most law schools also conduct criminal background checks. If you have a speeding ticket or other type of driving violation, you will not have to include an explanation in your application. However, some schools do require that you explain any sort of infraction. Most every school will require additional paperwork if you have been convicted of a crime beyond a traffic violation.

It is vital that you take your time with the application. That means you will need to start preparing for the application process in the first semester of your junior year at undergraduate school. As a matter of fact, if your intention is to attend law school, you should start preparing for applying as early as your first-year student year of college. Everything that you do during your undergraduate years will reflect on your law school application.

It’s Not All Academic

It is important that you understand what kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer, but that is not the only thing you need to do. Learning what kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer is only part of the equation. Think of learning what kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer as a first step.

There is more to becoming a lawyer than academics. While you are in law school, you will need to intern for a period. Academics and theory can only teach the law school student so much. Interning is a component of most law school requirements because it takes the student out of the classroom and puts them in real-world situations.

An internship is usually not a paid position. It is like an apprenticeship where the student is tutored by someone with experience. Law interns do a lot of the “leg work” for a law firm. For example, if you work with a personal injury firm, you may spend most of your time reviewing files. You may be asked to review a car insurance policy for any discrepancies, or you may be on the phone a lot taking witness statements.

Interning is essential because it provides experience for the law student that is hard to get in any other way. It is one thing to learn about the law, and it is entirely another thing to see how it is applied by lawyers in a real-world situation. Learning about the inner workings of a law firm is valuable.

Getting into law school is not easy, and neither is seeing it through to graduation. It takes a lot of hard work to get into law school and to complete it successfully, but in the end, when you are working as an SSDI attorney, it is worth it. All the hard work will pay off someday. You just need to stay the course.

Private or Public School – Does It Matter?

Don’t get stuck on the prestige of the law school. A private school law education is something that a lot of people aim for, but it isn’t the only option. There are great public (state) institutions that can deliver top-notch law education. While private schools do have prestige and can insert you in a network of alumni that are happy to help a budding lawyer, the cost can be prohibitive.

What kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer is more important than where the degree comes from. Law school admissions are competitive, most students choose to apply to a wide range of schools to raise the odds of being accepted into a program.

Don’t fixate on getting into one specific school. You will seriously limit your options. Instead, consider a list of law schools that you want to apply to. Apply to as many schools as you can afford to. Yes, there is an application fee that each school charges to apply. However, there are usually options to have the fee waived.

Apply to at least three law schools to ensure that you increase the odds of being accepted. Ultimately, whether you attend a private law school or a public law school and you follow all the rules you will cross the stage and receive your degree. Ten years after graduation it will not really matter where you went to law school. Your work and dedication to the craft will be the deciding factor that builds your reputation.

Passing the BAR

Now you know what kind of degree you need to be a lawyer, and you made it through the process, you graduated with a law degree. You may think you are done, but you are not quite there yet. Before you can practice law in court, you must pass the BAR exam. The BAR exam is different in every state. It is a tough test that every lawyer must pass to have the credentials to be “admitted to the BAR” or to work in a court.

The BAR exam is a sort of licensure test that every attorney takes. Once you pass the BAR you will be able to appear in court on behalf of clients. Law school will prepare you for passing the BAR.

There are a lot of layers to becoming a lawyer. What kind of degree do you need to be a lawyer is only part of the things you need to research to become a lawyer. Learn more about what it takes to realize your dream of becoming a lawyer.

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