How to Become A Lawyer in Virginia

Lawyers are commonly known as attorneys and their job is to provide clients with legal advice. They often represent their clients in a court of law and resolve their legal issues. To work as a lawyer or as an attorney, you must possess an American Bar Association accredited Juris Doctorate and a lawyer’s license from the State of Virginia.

Should I Become a Lawyer in Virginia?

The Supreme Court of Virginia supervises and monitors the State Bar of Virginia which is responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in the state. All lawyers in the state of Virginia are required to get permission from the State Bar to take the Bar Exam. Lawyers must clear the State Bar Exam to become eligible for a lawyer’s license. The rest of the details on this career are explained below.

Education Required

A Doctoral or professional degree (Juris Doctorate)

Major Requirement



Get licensed by passing the Virginia State Bar Exam


Volunteer work or an internship is highly recommended

Key Skills

Analytical, Critical-thinking, Communication, Research, Interpersonal, Attention-to-detail, and Problem-solving Skills, etc.

Annual Mean Salary (2019) -



Annual Mean Salary (2019) -



Job Outlook (2018-2028)


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 6% rise in employment level for this career between 2018-2028. Moreover, BLS reported 657,170 Lawyers working in the US in 2019, and 16,910 of them belonged to the state of Virginia.

Steps to Become a Lawyer in Virginia

Do you dream of working as a lawyer in Virginia? If that is the case, this detailed career guide explains the process of becoming a lawyer in simple and easy steps. So, let’s get started!

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

To become a lawyer, you must obtain a doctoral degree in law from a law school. But law schools require students to have graduated from a bachelor’s degree as a pre-requisite. Therefore, the first step is the completion of a 4-year accredited bachelor’s degree.

  1. Take and Clear the LSAT

The LSAT exam is a mandatory admission test that must be cleared by students who want to enroll in a law school. It is a highly competitive test and those with an excellent score have higher chances of getting enrolled in a prestigious law school.

  1. Complete a Juris Doctorate (J.D.)

As mentioned earlier, all lawyers must have earned a Juris Doctorate from an ABA-accredited law school. It is a pre-requisite for taking the Virginia State Bar Exam. Several ABA-accredited law schools in Virginia offer a J.D., such as the University of Virginia, Regent University, and the University of Richmond.

  1. Clear the Virginia State Bar Exam to Get Licensed

After graduating from an ABA-accredited law school, all aspiring lawyers must get permission from the Virginia State Bar to sit for the State Bar Exam. The Bar Exam usually consists of 3 different tests and all the tests must be cleared by candidates if they want to become licensed lawyers.

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

Becoming a licensed lawyer takes about 7 to 8 years. It is a process that includes 4 years of bachelor’s degree, 3 years of law school, and approximately 1 year combined for the preparation and testing phase related to the LSAT and the State Bar Exam.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Lawyer in Virginia?

To become employed as a licensed Lawyer in the state of Virginia, all lawyers must:

  • Hold a Juris Doctorate from an ABA-accredited law school
  • Get permission and pass the Virginia State Bar Exam
  • Have a good moral character
  • Not be suspended, disbarred in another state
  • Not be the subject of any pending disciplinary action in another state
  • Be licensed to practice law in the state of Virginia

How Much Can I Make as a Lawyer in Virginia?

According to the data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2019, Lawyers in the state of Virginia earned an annual mean salary of $143,220.

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