Entering the legal field is not an easy task. Typically, getting a license to practice law requires years of strenuous effort and academic rigor from high school to law school. The path toward completing law school might also come with significant student loan debt. Becoming a lawyer means dedicating your life to the law.
Lawyers must have numerous skills and abilities that include strong communication and analytical skills. To be successful, lawyers must continuously study and hone these skills. Let’s take a closer look at the rigors of becoming a lawyer.
As early as high school, someone contemplating a career as a lawyer should set high academic standards for themselves. This will require taking courses that focus heavily on reading, researching, and writing. Courses in the field of social studies and other social sciences are also beneficial to help cultivate societal awareness and teach analytical skills. You might also get involved with speech and debate clubs that will help you lay the groundwork for arguing persuasively.
Your academic record will be the foundation on which you build your legal education and career. You’ll want to expand your credentials by earning entry into organizations like the National Honors Society High School scholars program. This will allow you to showcase your outstanding student achievement and open the door for internships and scholarship opportunities.
Beyond high school, you will need to get a four-year degree and pursue a legal education in law school. There is no single recommended field of undergraduate study. However, students with degrees in English, political science, business, economics, philosophy, or history typically perform well. Like in high school, students will need to focus on academics and build a robust record, as law school admission is highly competitive.
Upon completing an undergraduate degree, students will begin work toward a Juris Doctor degree at an accredited law school. A law degree is very strenuous and requires self-discipline and a high measure of academic rigor. While studying law, you may form contacts with successful lawyers such as Malliha Wilson. Ms. Wilson is the former assistant deputy attorney general of the Government of Ontario and specializes in human rights law, constitutional law, corporate and labour law, and other complex litigation. Getting in touch with a professional attorney with years of experience is a great way to gain insights into the profession and valuable experience as an intern or legal clerk.
Once you have earned a law degree, you will be required to pass a state bar exam to qualify for licensure and legally practice law. To advance your career, your contacts with lawyers like Malliha Wilson will benefit you even further. You will typically start as an associate working with seasoned attorneys to help hone your craft. Depending on the opportunities, this is a process that could take several years. During this time, you will still need to maintain high academic standards, as the first years also require a lot of research and reading.
Beyond your career as a lawyer, you might later consider becoming a judge or shifting into a public position like attorney general. Additionally, there is a Master of Law degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree that you might also pursue if you are interested in the research side of the law.
Becoming a lawyer takes a lot of hard work, time, and dedication. Similar to a doctor, lawyers are always learning and developing their careers. Becoming a practicing attorney begins in high school and runs through sitting for the bar exam and garnering experience at a law firm. The process will require years of effort. With hard work and patience, however, you can have an impressive career as an attorney.