How to Become a Lawyer Who Makes a Lot of Money
The black robe, the innumerable soaps on TV, the articulate speaker in the courtroom scene of many films might have all convinced you to become a lawyer. After all, lawyers are amongst the best-paid professionals across the United States, and it is only natural that you would want to be a lawyer in your tryst to become financially successful. However, one basic question that might come to your mind is how to become a lawyer? Most importantly what are the other key requirements apart from the legal degree and how does one go about achieving these?
Insight into A Lawyer’s Profession
Before you understand how to become a lawyer, it is crucial for you to understand who a lawyer is in actual life and the responsibilities they undertake? Quite contrary to all the glamorous courtroom scenes on television, that’s only a minuscule part of the lawyer’s responsibilities. As a lawyer, you represent your clients as well as offer them legal advice on both personal and business front.
It, therefore, goes without saying that it is a hugely research heavy work and as a lawyer, you have to undertake detailed studies on many issues. You must stay updated on the entire landmark as well as the related judicial decisions and can advise your clients as per those. Also as a lawyer, you do not have to handle every case. You can obviously choose to specialize in the specific type of legal practice. Your options include
- Civil law
- Criminal law
- Intellectual property law
There are many sub-parts to these broad headers as well depending on the area of expertise that you choose. Additionally, a lawyer can also perform advisory roles for many individuals and businesses.
In your pursuit of how to become a lawyer, the foremost factor is no doubt the academic qualification. After finishing your high school education,
- You need to qualify and earn a bachelor’s degree in law
- You can also look at completing the master’s degree too
- There are no specific majors or recommended courses that you must undertake to secure admission in law school
- You could look at taking courses in logic, reading, writing and public speaking to gain a creative edge against fellow competitors
However, if you want to understand how to become a lawyer, you must sit for LSAT or the Law School Admission Test. When you are applying for law school admission, you need to submit the LSAT score. This test is conducted by the LSAC or the Law School Admission Council.
They use a multiple question format to analyze and judge a candidate’s aptitude for legal matters. If you feel the scores do not reflect your abilities appropriately, you can also choose to take the test second time. The idea essentially is to do more justice to your inherent abilities and let your true talent come forth.
Earning Your JD & Clerkship
The three-year stint in law school inevitably ends with a JD or a Juris Doctor. You get an opportunity to take part in mock trials, write for annual legal journals and also attend series of legal clinics that might be conducted. The three year period does not just give you theoretical knowledge but simultaneously helps you develop practical knowhow.
You also get the opportunity to complete summer clerkships. These are important elements in your overall journey towards understanding how to become a lawyer. Clerkship also enables networking for future employment scopes. If you have excelled in your overall performance, you can also expect offer letters once you complete your graduation.
The State bar Examination
However, this entire still does not allow you to practice in the United States. As an aspiring candidate in pursuit of how to become a lawyer, you must understand that you need to pass your state bar examination to earn your license and start practicing. In case you want to expand the scope of your practice to multiple states, you need to sit for the bar exam in multiple states. Apart from passing a written bar exam, some states also need the potential candidate to take an ethics exam successfully.
Salary Outlook & Scope Of Improving
If you are trying to understand how to become a lawyer, it also becomes necessary to understand the overall pay scale for them. Well, US labor department data and collection of some private studies indicate that the entry level lawyer earns a minimum of $66,000 plus annually with this amount rising significantly with the rise in experience and expansion in career prospects. In fact, some recent data indicates the national average income of lawyers in general inching towards the $70,000/year mark gradually.
But a key concern seems to be the fact that many lawyers are feeling the heat of the financial drought and are often unable to maintain their earnings. Technology too often is instrumental in reducing hourly billing rates of lawyers. The challenge now, therefore, is not just how to become a lawyer but also a lawyer who makes a lot of money. Some key change in approach for that would include
- Maintaining a continuous pipeline of new engagements
- Networking with clients and friends need to be strategic for maximum referrals
- Manage existing client relationships proactively and work towards translating them into better job opportunities.
The above few factors can help you garner a greater number of clients at a regular interval to maintain a steady flow of funds. You must understand that if you are trying to understand how to become a lawyer, it is very important to take a comprehensive approach. Just earning the legal degree will be of no value if you cannot improve the practice prospects.
It is, for this reason, you must take on a proactive role in getting more businesses to associate with you and bring about a steady flow of clients. This will make you into a rainmaker of sorts. Whatever the news and economic position be, you will never be short of clients.