How to Become A Lawyer in California

California, also referred to as the ‘Golden State,’ offers some exciting career opportunities to law experts. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that this state had the highest employment level of Lawyers in 2019. If you are interested in joining this profession, then read this article on how to become a Lawyer in California.

Should I Become a Lawyer in California?

Do you want to help make the world a better and safer place? If yes, then a career in law would suit you.  

Just like every other profession, the legal profession also requires individuals to meet certain academic and skill-set requirements. Go through the information presented in this section to learn more about these career requirements. The data given below has been extracted from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education Required

Juris Doctor (J.D.)


Not required


A bar exam needs to be passed to get the license.

Key Skills/Qualities

Interpersonal, Research, Writing, Speaking, and Analytical Skills are required.

Annual Mean Salary (2019) - National


Job Outlook (2018-28)


Annual Median Salary (2019) - California



Career Outlook

According to BLS, the demand for Lawyers is likely to rise by 6% through 2028.

Steps to Become a Lawyer in California

The path to becoming a lawyer can be difficult, overwhelming, and full of challenges. Read this section to understand how to become a Lawyer in California.

Step 1: Clear the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

Law schools all across the U.S. require applicants to get a good score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Therefore, you will be expected to sign up for this test after completing your undergraduate degree. There are many ways to prepare for this exam – you can study for this test on your own, you could take a prep course, or you could study a prep booklet.

Step 2: Apply to Law Schools

After clearing the LSAT, you should start applying to accredited law schools. Almost all law schools have the same application procedure – you will be required to submit your college transcripts, your LSAT scores, recommendation letters, and a general form, in order to get into a law school. Once you have enrolled in the Juris Doctor (J.D) degree, you will be expected to undergo three years of rigorous academic training.

Step 3: Take the California Bar Exam

At this stage, you will have to visit the California State Bar website to register for the Bar Exam. This exam tests the candidate's understanding and knowledge of the legal theories. You can take a bar prep course to prepare for this exam.

Step 4: Meet Additional Requirements

After clearing the exam, you will be expected to provide a social security number, clear a character check, and will have to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). Once all these steps have been cleared, you can apply for employment.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Lawyer in California?

It takes years of academic training to qualify as a Lawyer in California. Candidates have to first complete a 4-year long undergraduate program and then have to complete a 3-year long Juris Doctor (J.D.) program. After getting the required degrees, individuals have to pass a Bar Exam and have to meet several other requirements. Once all the requirements have been met, individuals can start their job hunt.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Lawyer in California?

Individuals who want to practice law in California must:

  • Have graduated from a law school, which has been approved by the American Bar Association or accredited by the State Bar.
  • Bear a good moral character.
  • Clear the First-Year Law Students’ Examination. This exam has to be taken by some students, such as those who are enrolled in a State Bar-unaccredited registered law school, and are in the process of finishing their first year of Juris Doctor (J.D.) program.
  • Be able to pass the California Bar Examination.
  • Be able to clear the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
  • Have a U.S. Social Security number. Candidates who don’t have this number are required to send a request for an exemption.

How Much Does a Lawyer Earn in California?

BLS has reported that Lawyers working in California earned a yearly mean wage of $173,970 in 2019.

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