Training Programs for Lawyers
Becoming a lawyer typically requires students to earn an undergraduate degree and attend three years of law school. Some students receive advanced law degrees, which enable them to specialize in a certain field, conduct research or teach.
They also put their skills and knowledge to use by participating in clinical programs, which allow second- and third-year law students to apply what they learn into real-life situations. They work under the guidance of experienced lawyers to provide counsel, partake in court proceedings and perform other legal duties.
Some lawyers choose to further their studies by earning a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree. A J.D. degree is required for admission into an LL.M. program, which provide global credibility and typically last one full-time academic year. Some LL.M. programs allow students to concentrate on one area of law, such as intellectual property or taxation, while others provide students with an advanced but broad law curriculum.
Lawyers must be licensed by the bar association in the states where they plan to practice. Obtaining licensure requires candidates to earn law degrees through programs approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and pass bar examinations. A nationally accepted bar exam doesn’t exist, but many states and districts use the Multistate Bar Examination, which covers constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, evidence, real property and torts.
Other tests that may be used are the Multistate Essay Examination, the Multistate Performance Test – which tests practical skills, local state bar exams, ethics tests and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination – which tests ABA’s professional-responsibility and judicial-conduct codes.
Career and Salary Information
The BLS estimated that lawyers will see 6% growth in employment opportunities in the years 2014-2024. The BLS stated that lawyers earned $115,820 as a median annual wage in May 2015.
Because of the nature of their work, lawyers should be comfortable in research, analysis, analytical writing and public speaking. Lawyers must hold a Juris Doctor degree before applying for the bar exam; passing the bar exam is required to practice law in their state. There are also other exams that may be needed by a lawyer wishing to enter the courtroom.