How to Become a Lawyer?

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                                                    "The power of a lawyer lies in the uncertainty of the law"

Law is the science and art of justice enforced by the government or social systems to deal with crime, business agreements, and social relationships. It is a fundamental part of our constitution. To hold the license for practicing laws, one needs to be a lawyer. Lawyer as a profession represents his clients in the court of law and advises or work for clients in legal matters.     

Lawyers can also be called as Attorneys. Attorneys tend to specialize in one facet of the law, such as product liability, family law, criminal justice, or elder law. Lawyers consume their maximum time in offices or in the courtroom. Lawyers work in both the public sector as well as the private sector. Attorneys who represent clients help them to understand the law and pursue the course of action that is most helpful to their client’s position. Lawyers have to prepare legal documents, interview witnesses, conduct depositions, argue court motions and conduct trials. Every day is a bit different for most of the lawyers.

Eligibility:

Aspiring Attorneys must have High critical Thinking and Public Speaking Skills as well as Research Abilities.  

  • The eligibility criteria for a candidate to pursue law sector is passing the higher secondary examination (10+2) from any recognized board
  • The minimum age to enrol in L.L.B is 20 years while the maximum age is 30 years.
  • There are no limitations on the stream that the candidate might be pursuing in 12th standard. You can opt for law course after pursuing any kind of stream like stream like arts, humanities, science, commerce, etc.
  • The minimum marks criteria for opting a law course is 50 % marks in aggregate in all subjects in 12th standard.
Key Skills:

Following  are the key skills that are Required for Practising Lawyers:

  1. Active Learning
  2. Active Listening
  3. Complex Problem Solving
  4. Coordination
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Instructing
  7. Judgment and Decision Making
  8. Learning Strategies
  9. Monitoring
  10. Negotiation
  11. Persuasion
  12. Reading Comprehension
  13. Service Orientation
  14. Social Perceptiveness
  15. Systems Analysis

Lawyers require a broad range of academic and interpersonal skills.  Lawyers should possess analytical and debating skills, there are a few key skills that are essential to an attorney’s success which may not be as naive.

1. Technology skills:

Lawyers must know how to utilize technology. Whether a lawyer is working in private practice, for a government agency or even as a judge, they have to operate with multiple software systems. Most of the law firms use a case management system to manage files and bill clients.

2. Listening and Comprehension:

Legal professionals cannot work efficiently for their clients unless they listen and comprehend what is being communicated. A lawyer must be able to listen to the client in order to understand the specifics of their situation. Cases often join on the details, and a lawyer must be able to catch up on those details.

When a judge gives an oral opinion and directs the parties to reduce it to writing, a lawyer should be able to make an accurate record of what the judge said. lawyers are often asked to speak,  so if they don’t listen carefully, they can’t be an effective advocate for their clients.

3. Patience :

Lawyers spend their whole careers by, sometimes receiving good news and sometimes bad news. They have to tactfully negotiate with the opposing counsel. Sometimes, the wheels of justice turn slowly. Lawyers have to be patient to weather these ups and downs.

4. Business Management :

Lawyers who are in private practice, the business of practicing law means running up of a business. Lawyers must know who to sign and how to bill and how to process payments from the client. They should know how to market their business and how to choose potential clients. When clients don’t pay for their services, they need to know how to effectively handle the situation. Attorneys must have a knowledge of business management in order to work productively.

5. Written and Verbal Communication :

Lawyers have to understand and examine large amounts of information. They should be able to read and quickly figure out what’s important to their case. They need to communicate effectively all the information in writing. Some legal specialities lean primarily on speaking, while other careers focus entirely on writing. However, all lawyers need to be able to read, write, and speak effectively, as this will affect their work. Lawyers words are enough to justify someone, therefore they must possess the quality of speaking and writing communication.

6. Logical Thinking: 

Lawyers must know how to apply facts to the law. They must quickly look at a situation and determine whether the rule applies or is there any exceptions applied to the rule. Lawyers should use their logic skills to find a flaw in the other side’s arguments. Lawyers have to be able to create logical arguments, reason and evaluate the arguments of others.

Process to Become a Lawyer :

The path to becoming a lawyer can be a challenging one. They specialize in a specific area of law, such as criminal law, real estate law, divorce law or immigration law.  So, If you are interested in becoming a lawyer, here is what you need to do:

  • Complete an undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s Degree Program)
  • Pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
  • Identify law school and complete Application
  • Earn a Juris doctor degree
  • Clear the bar examination
  • Advance your Career

1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Program:

Holding an undergraduate degree is a must because this is the minimum educational qualification required for admission to law school. No singular field of study is approved by the American Bar Association at this level. In fact, the ABA noted that applicants get admission to law school from every stream, varying from political science to mathematics. Common undergraduate majors for pre-law students include English, political science, economics, business, philosophy, and journalism.

Students who are interested in achieving a degree after passing 12th can go for five years long integrated course. After completing law education, students can enroll for Bar Council of India and become an Advocate. Students who have cleared their 12th class examination with streams like science, arts, commerce, and the stream can study law courses.

Some Integrated Courses that can be attained after Passing the 12th class Examination are;

  • B.Sc. L.L.B. Environmental Science (For Science stream students)
  • B.Sc. L.L.B. Biotechnology (For Science stream students)
  • B.Sc. L.L.B. IT (For Science stream students)
  • B.Tech. L.L.B. (For Science stream students)
  • B.A. L.L.B. (For Arts stream students)
  • B.Com. L.L.B. (For Commerce stream students)
  • B.B.A. L.L.B. (Any stream students)

The above specifications define that these are integrated courses ( combination of two courses). The advantage of an integrated course is that the student can attain two academic degrees under a single programme. Some instance of integrated courses can be described as ;

  • B.A.+L.L.B.
  • B.Com.+ L.L.B.
  • B.Sc.+ L.L.B.

2. Pass the Law Admission Test:

To become a lawyer, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is as important as a Bachelor’s Degree. The admissions directors check out the scores of LSAT as an objective to measure and assess the knowledge and quality of applicants. LSAT examination comprises 5 multiple choice questions section and an unscored writing sample. The examination calculates candidate’s skills in areas of future legal work, which commonly includes reading comprehension, information management, analysis and critical thinking, reasoning, and argumentation.

3. Identify law School and Complete Application:

After completing the Bachelor’s degree, some students decide to forego further education. Despite the timing, considered students must consider only law schools which are authorised by the American Bar Association. The Law School Admission Council is an excellent resource for aspirants in the research aspect of the law school application process.

4. Earn a Juris Doctor Degree:

The Juris Doctor (JD) is the nationally recognized degree for practising law in the United States and is currently offered by 205 ABA-accredited law schools. Aspiring candidates must acquire knowledge of the faculty, areas of study, tuition, and curriculum before applying. There are numerous specialities within legal practice and students should select a program that offers a focused curriculum in their area of interest. Most commonly, students complete their Juris Doctor in 3-years of full-time study.

5. Clear the bar Examination :

The ultimate track to becoming a lawyer is to write and pass the bar exam. There are many states who demand lawyers to graduate from an ABA-approved law school and pass the state bar examination prior to qualifying in that state. Although each state has its own testing guidelines, the bar exam is commonly a two-day process: day one is spent completing the Multistate Bar Examination while day two focuses on writing examinations covering various legal matters. With respect to the bar examination, the state board of bar examiners also consider the candidate’s educational background, competence, character, and ability to represent others in legal matters prior to offering full legal licensure.

6. Advance your Career:

There is a wide range of golden opportunities for lawyers to advance their careers. Apprentice lawyers commonly start out as associates, working closely with seasoned lawyers to set their work. After years of practice, some attorneys may emanate to become partners in a firm while others choose to open their own law office. Some may move beyond practising law and become a judge or shift into public positions. Lawyers may also pursue further education at both the masters and doctoral levels. There are two common choices for lawyers who are interested in careers which involve research and academic scholarship they are - LLM and PhD.

Career Prospects:
  • There are a plethora of jobs after completion of the degree from a good institute approved by the Bar Council Of India.
  • After successful enrollment in the Bar Council Of India, one can start his/her own practice and represent clients in courts and appear for their cases.
  • One can also start his own consultancy services and provide legal aid to a variety of clients including giant organizations and corporate houses.

Some Common Designations Achieved after attaining a Degree in Law are-

  • Corporate Lawyer
  • Criminal Lawyer
  • Property Lawyer
  • Legal Consultant
  • Advocate working for Government
  • Judge
  • Advocate with Private Practice
  • Advocate working for Law firm
  • Research professional
  • Lecturer
  • NGO/Social Activist
Salary Packages:

As stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a lawyer has an annual median salary of $118,160 and hourly mean wage of $56.81 per hour. Those Lawyers who practice on their own usually earn less whereas lawyers working in law firms or other business establishments have a good amount of earnings. This figure can vary widely depending on the attorney’s years in practice, their speciality and their geographic location of practice.

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