How to Become A Lawyer in Illinois

If you want to start a legal career in the Prairie State, then there is some good news for you! The State of Illinois offers some great income prospects for Lawyers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that Lawyers working in Illinois earned an above-average annual mean pay of $157,010 in 2019.

This resource has some detailed information that will help you understand how to become a Lawyer in Illinois.

Should I Become a Lawyer in Illinois?

Are you well-spoken, confident, and honest? If yes, then you might be cut out for a career in law.

If you want to work as a legal expert in the U.S., then you should be prepared to meet a long list of requirements. The table below gives a brief overview of these requirements. The wage data and career information presented below has been extracted from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education Required

Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree.


Not Required


Individuals must pass a bar exam to get licensed.

Key Skills/Qualities

Writing Skills

Analytical Skills

Speaking Skills

Interpersonal Skills

Research Skills

Annual Mean Salary (2019) - National


Job Outlook (2018-28)


Annual Mean Salary (2019) - Illinois



Career Outlook

According to BLS, many organizations have started increasing the size of their legal departments; therefore, we can expect to see a rise in the demand for Lawyers in the future. BLS has estimated that the job opportunities available for these professionals will grow by 6% from 2018 to 2028. 

Steps to Become a Lawyer in Illinois

Go through the steps highlighted below to understand how to become a Lawyer in Illinois.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor’s degree

To prepare yourself for law school, you will have to earn a 4-year long Bachelor's degree. Some popular majors that aspiring Lawyers opt for include Philosophy, Economics, Sociology, and Political Science.

Step 2: Gain Internship/Volunteer Experience

It is recommended that you gain some work experience while completing your undergrad degree. You can contact different law-related entities, legal service organizations, and your local law offices to see if they are hiring interns or volunteers. If such an opportunity is available, then you should avail it. This work experience can help you build your future career.

Step 3: Take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The LSAT should be taken either before starting your senior year or during it. Similar to the SAT and ACT, this is an aptitude test that is used by law schools to screen individuals who have applied to the school. While admissions are not solely based on the LSAT score, a good score on this test can definitely strengthen your application.

Step 4: Attend an Accredited Law School

To qualify as a Lawyer, you must enroll in a law school that has been accredited by the American Bar Association. It will take you around three years to complete the Juris Doctor (J.D.) program.

Step 5: Meet Other Requirements

In addition to completing law school, you will also be required to clear the Illinois Bar Examination. You will also have to undergo a Character and Fitness check and will have to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. After clearing all of these steps, you will be able to practice law in Illinois.

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

Becoming a Lawyer in Illinois can take several years of training and a huge amount of financial investment. The first step of the journey is completing a four-year long Bachelor's degree. Students can pursue a major of their interest, however, majors like Political Science, Communication, and Philosophy are generally recommended. After completing a Bachelor's degree, students are required to enroll in an accredited law school. Completing the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree typically takes up to three years.

After getting done with their studies, candidates have to appear for the Illinois Bar Examination and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). If the individual can pass these exams, he/she will become eligible to practice law in the State of Illinois.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Lawyer in Illinois?

If you want to practice law in the ‘Prairie State,’ then you will have to satisfy the following conditions. You must:

  • Attend and graduate from an ABA-accredited law school.
  • Pass the Illinois Bar Examination.
  • Pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).
  • Bear a good moral character.

How Much Do a Lawyer Earn in Illinois?

According to BLS, Lawyers in Illinois earned an annual mean income of $157,010 in May 2019.

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