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How to Become A Lawyer

Should I Become a Lawyer?

Lawyers in the United States can work in a number of different capacities. These include providing legal defense to clients in court cases of a criminal or civil nature, representing a plaintiff as their attorney in civil or criminal proceedings, acting as legal counsel/advisor for a corporate/business entity, and appearing as a prosecutor on behalf of the government in criminal cases.

Other than operating within the legal system of the United States, you can also teach at an educational institution. Many seasoned lawyers also go on to enter politics or run for the position of a judge. Businesses, law firms, non-profit organizations and the government are some of the entities that provide lucrative career paths to lawyers.

To find out what you need to know to get started, go through this detailed guide.  


Bachelor’s degree in any subject

Major Requirement

Law School Admission Test (LSAT); Juris Doctor (JD) degree


Bar Examination


Clerkship at a law firm (optional)

Key Skills

Critical thinking, active listening, speaking, reading comprehension, complex problem solving, document management software, search and information retrieval software, accounting software, database user interface and query software.

Annual Mean Salary

$144,230 (As of May, 2018)

Job Outlook

6% projected growth between 2018 and 2028


Sources: O*Net Online and US BLS

As a lawyer, you must be a deep thinker and very good communicator. The ability to analyze things from different perspectives is also important. Moreover, you will need to have top-notch research skills and be well-versed with different legal software and IT programs.    

Career Requirements

To start a career as a lawyer, you should have at least a Bachelor’s degree (any subject). You will then be eligible to sit for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Once you clear this phase, you can then attend law school and study for your Juris Doctor (JD) degree.

Steps to Become a Lawyer

To become a lawyer in the United States, you must follow the process outlined in this section.

  1. Complete Your Bachelor’s Degree

You must obtain your 4-year undergrad degree before embarking on a journey to become a lawyer. The bachelor’s degree can be in any subject.

  1. Sit for and Pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized evaluation that all candidates desirous of going to law school must qualify. It is conducted multiple times a year.

  1. Go to Law School  and Complete Your Juris Doctor (JD) Degree

Once you have cleared the LSAT, you will be eligible to enroll into a law school. The higher your LSAT score is, the better your chances will be of going to a prestigious institution. It will take you about 3 years to complete the Juris Doctor (JD) degree.

  1. Gain Experience by Completing a Clerkship at Your Local Law Firm (Optional)

While you are not obligated to do this, it will help you get some much-needed experience before you formally embark on your career journey as a lawyer.

  1. Take and Qualify the Bar Examination of Your State

Once you have a law degree and some experience in the legal field (not compulsory), you can then take the bar exam of the state where you intend to practice. Pass this evaluation and you are good to go as a lawyer.

  1. Apply for the Position of a Lawyer

After you have cleared the bar exam, you are then eligible to apply for different employment opportunities. These include working for a law firm, a private business or a non-profit entity. You can also start your own private practice.

How to become a Lawyer in Texas?

To become a Lawyer in Texas, you need a Bachelor’s degree to be eligible for an American Bar Association-approved law school. It is better if you pick sociology, political science, history, philosophy, or psychology as a pre-law major. After that, you must undertake the Texas Law School Admission Test (LSAT). After passing the LSAT, you can go to law school to study for a Juris Doctor (J.D.) or a Bachelor of Law (L.L.B) degree. You must then pass the Texas State Bar Exam to be eligible to practice.

How to become a Lawyer in California?

To become a Lawyer in California, you need at least 2 years of undergrad education as per the State Bar of California. If not, you can pass certain tests from the College Level Exam Program for law school eligibility. You must then pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and study for a Bachelor of Law (L.L.B) or Juris Doctor (J.D) degree. Once you finish law school, you must then clear the California State Bar Exam to start practicing.

How Much Can I Earn as a Lawyer in the US?

Lawyers have one of the most lucrative careers in the US. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, their annual mean salary in 2019 was $145,300. On the other hand, the median annual income for lawyers was $122,960.

Cable and Other Subscription Programming paid lawyers $224,970 as mean annual wage in 2019, the highest among all industries. Lawyers earned $192,180 as annual mean income in the District of Columbia in 2019 which is the highest salary figure among all US states.

Job Outlook

The job outlook is not too bad for lawyers either. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2019 and 2029, lawyers will enjoy a 4% job growth.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:How to become a lawyer through online programs?

A:Various institutions offer online degree programs in law that can help you to pursue a rewarding career as a lawyer. You can earn bachelor's degree in Law through distance learning programs. This mode of learning is convenient, self-paced, and affordable.

Q:What is the process of becoming a Lawyer?

A:In order to become a lawyer, you must complete a bachelor's degree and then further pursue a professional law degree such as the Juris Doctor degree. You can specialize in disciplines such as Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, family law etc. You must also pass the bar examination in your state and acquire a license.

Q:Can you become a lawyer with a bachelors in psychology?

A:No. You cannot become a lawyer with a Bachelors in Psychology degree. It may help you to have an added degree in the field of Psychology or even Psychoanalysis. However, to be a lawyer in the United States, you need to have a degree in law, along with a license issued by the Bar Association in your state.

Q:Can paralegals become lawyers without a bachelor's degree?

A:Paralegals cannot become lawyers. For an applicant to qualify to be a lawyer, he/she needs to pursue education in the field of law.. Paralegal studies and Law and Legal studies in United States are two different professions and cannot be merged together without gaining formal education and a license.

Q:Can we use the bachelors degree in criminal justice to become a lawyer in the United States?

A:You can't use the bachelors degree in criminal justice to become a lawyer in the United States. To become a lawyer and practice law in the country you need to opt for a program like the Juris Doctor degree that is accredited and approved by the ABA. Having said this, you may make use of the criminal justice education in your legal practice.

Q:Can I become a lawyer with a Masters of Education degree?

A:The Masters of Education (M.Ed) cannot be pursed with legal studies. If you wish to choose a Masters program for legal studies you can look into the option of Masters in Legal Studies (MLS). Various specialization areas are offered in the degree. However, the one incorporating elements of legal studies and education is the 'Master in Legal Studies - Education and the Legal System'.

Q:Are there any disadvantages of being a lawyer online?

A:There are no disadvantages whatsoever to become a lawyer online. Students can get enrolled in the several online programs mentioned on our website and complete their education at a pace they want. Becoming a lawyer online will allow you to take up work opportunities alongside studying, and will also cut down on the tuition costs. You will not have to rush through the course to match the speed of classmates but be allowed to continue the program at a pace you see fit for you.

Q:While searching on how to become a lawyer online, I came across distance learning. What are the advantages of an online education?

A:A large percentage of students are opting for distance learning programs. The main advantage of an online education is that it is convenient and allows the students to study at their own convenience. Students get an opportunity study at their own pace without rushing through to meet deadlines. Online education is relatively cheaper with students saving money on travel and accommodation. For more information, prospective students are requested to search our website for an extensive list of online institutions.

Q:My search on steps of becoming a Lawyer online led me to Law In Society course. Can you brief me about it?

A:Search such as steps of becoming a Lawyer online often leads you to courses such as Law in Society. In this course the students get to study about the law in the society, ways of implementing the law within the society and the need for effective law. The students also get to study the difference between legal and non-legal rules.

Q:Can you use psychology degree to become lawyer?

A:No. The degree in psychology can be beneficial for a lawyer as it allows the degree holder a greater insight to his/her client. However, the degree is not a requirement of the legal profession. Students need to complete their bachelors degree and a law degree to be able to become a licensed lawyer.

Q:Searching for what are the values of becoming a lawyer mentioned a course in First Amendment. What is included in this course?

A:Course o First Amendment would be mentioned when searching for what are the values of becoming a lawyer. This course is worth 4 credit hours and deals with speech and religious provisions in First Amendment. With the help of this course, students get an opportunity to learn about the historical importance of free expression and cover the important topic of free exercise of religion and its separation from state affairs. Students interested in this course are advised to search our website for an extensive list of institutions offering this course.

Q:How long does it take to become a lawyer?

A:It can take 7-8 years to become a lawyer. After obtaining a four year bachelors degree you can enroll in a law school that will take 3-4 years. In order to practice law one has to clear the bar exam and get license in their state.

Q:What do you have to do to become a lawyer?

A:To become a lawyer you have to earn a law degree. There are many law schools that offer law degree programs. You can opt for law degrees such as the Juris Doctor degree and the master degree in law. A bachelor degree will be required to qualify for admission in any law school. There are many practice areas that you can pick for specialization such as corporate law, family law, paralegal assisting, etc.

Q:What do you need to become a lawyer?

A:The requirements can vary from state to state. But typically, all individuals are required to complete law school after obtaining a bachelor degree. Most accredited law schools require Law School Admission Test (LSAT) for admissions. With a law degree complete, you must then clear the bar examination and earn a license to practice as a lawyer.

Q:Can you give me information on how to become a lawyer?

A:If you want to become a lawyer you should have a four year college degree and a law degree. There is no requirement in terms of specialization at the bachelor's level and students can pursue any field they want. Students who have a bachelor's degree are advised to take the LSAT before enrolling in a law school.

Q:Can you become a lawyer with a criminal justice degree?

A:Yes it is possible. Once you complete your criminal justice degree, you will have to proceed to obtain a JD degree- this is a commonly pursued law degree. You will have to undertake the LSAT to apply for the JD. Once you have earned a degree in law, you can take the state bar examination and acquire a professional license.

Q:Can you become a lawyer with a psychology degree?

A:It is possible to become a lawyer if you have a bachelor degree in most fields. The most common path would be to undertake a JD program once you have your bachelor degree. To apply for a JD, you will have to undertake the LSAT. Once you pass you three year JD program, you can apply for the state bar license.

Q:How long would it take me to become a lawyer if I have just graduated from high school?

A:It can take you 7-8 years to become a lawyer After completing your high school education, it is necessary that you earn a bachelor degree. This is a four year undergraduate program that can also be earned online. After getting a bachelor degree, you can then enroll in a law school. There are various specializations in law that you can choose from. The most common areas include corporate law, family law, employment law, and injury law.

Q:As I was looking for steps to become a lawyer, I came across specialization areas in this field. Can you name a few?

A:Law is one of the major sectors in our society. Hundreds of students graduate each year with specialization this field. The various sub categories of law that one can choose for specialization include the following: corporate law, family law, criminal law, administrative law, real estate law, injury law, and employment law.

Q:What it takes to become a lawyer?

A:To become a lawyer you need to earn a law degree and a license to practice law. The most common law degree programs include a four years bachelor degree, a two years master's degree, and a doctorate degree. You can opt for specialization in areas such as corporate law, family law, civil law, intellectual property law, employment law, injury law, tort law, real estate law, and consumer product law. However, a degree is not enough to make you a lawyer, attaining a license and practical experience are also important.

Q:Can you tell me how to become a criminal lawyer?

A:To become a criminal lawyer, you need to first attend law college and acquire a law degree. Many law colleges offer law programs with specialization in criminal law. Once you have acquired at law degree in this field, the next step would be taking the bar examination in your state and earning a professional license.

Q:As I was searching on how long to become a lawyer, I heard that taking the LSAT can be very helpful. Is this true?

A:The LSAT is a standardized admission test for students planning to enroll in law programs. This test is used to determine a student aptitude and reasoning ability. Most law schools require students to submit their LSAT scores when applying for admission. These scores play a big role in determining your chances of getting accepted in a law college.

Q:Can I find information online regarding criminal justice degree to become a lawyer?

A:Yes you can easily search for information about criminal justice degrees and other law programs online. Many law schools provide detailed descriptions about their law programs on their official websites. You can learn about programs being offered, tuition costs, career prospects, admission requirements, and course structures online. Informative websites also provide information online regarding criminal justice programs.

Q:How to become private lawyer with only a certificate program?

A:Unfortunately, a certificate program is not enough to qualify you as a lawyer. You need to have at least a bachelor degree in the field from an accredited university. After you have completed this program, you can enroll in a law school and earn a law degree. A law degree is required to apply to for the bar examination in your state.

Q:What are the career prospects of distance learning shortcut law qualification?

A:I guess by shortcut you mean the accelerated certificate courses offered in the field of law. These courses are ideal for professionals who already have a back ground of working in this field. Many law programs and short courses are offered online as well. Online programs can be completed at your own pace and according to your convenience.

Q:After my BS In Criminal Justice How Many More Years To Become A Lawyer?

A:After your bachelors in criminal justice, the next step is to apply for a law school. Law school considers several factors in admission such as LSAT score, good grades in undergraduate, and a strong personal statement explaining objectives to pursue law education. After law school, you can take bar exam and practice in particular states. You can also become in-house lawyer for corporations.

Q:Can I do my masters degree with my law school certificate?

A:For a master's degree, you will generally require a bachelor's degree in a related field. However, admission requirements can differ among institutes. If you want specific information about particular institute or program, you may contact the admission office or visit the institute's website. Be sure to select an accredited program for quality education and a secure career.

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