One of the highest-ranking jobs in the world is that of an attorney. As a result, it shouldn’t be shocking that getting a legal degree is a time-consuming and demanding endeavor.

The standard educational path for those interested in a legal career consists of a four-year undergraduate degree, followed by three years of study at a law school.

A lot rides on whether you study full-time and ace your first bar exam attempt, so plan accordingly.

However, not all states have the same standards, and the time it takes to become an attorney might vary greatly depending on where you plan to practice.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Lawyer?

To become a lawyer, prospective attorneys must pass a number of requirements. Typically, a lawyer needs seven years of education to be certified as one.

After graduating from high school, those who are interested must earn a bachelor’s degree, which typically takes four years to complete. After that, they must complete three additional years of coursework to acquire a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from law school.

Before beginning their legal careers, recent graduates of law schools must pass the state bar exam and receive a license.

Steps to Becoming a Lawyer

It takes at least seven years to fulfill the educational requirements for an aspiring attorney in the United States, with a four-year undergraduate degree and a three-year graduate law degree.

However, it’s not quite that easy, as there are further tests to take and credentials to get. Keep in mind that there is no one quick route to becoming an attorney if you are considering a legal career. Nothing can be cheated or shortcutted; proper execution is required.

Here is a rundown of everything you need to know to get started in the legal field, along with an estimate of how long each step usually takes.

1. Get your Bachelor’s degree.

Students must have completed an undergraduate program in law before being admitted to a graduate school. It takes a minimum of four years and a bachelor’s degree to graduate from law school.

If your university offers a pre-law program, you might want to enroll in it. Remember, though, that the American Bar Association doesn’t insist that you major in anything in particular as you move forward in your pursuit of a legal career.

Although the American Bar Association (ABA) states that candidates with degrees in any field are eligible for admission to law school, the most common undergraduate majors among aspiring lawyers are English, sociology, philosophy, economics, political science, criminal justice, and journalism.

Since there is no “right” major to choose, you should major in something you find interesting. You can improve your chances of getting into a good law school by concentrating on the subjects you excel in.

2. Pass the Law School Admission Test

Your second move toward your goal of becoming a lawyer should be to start studying for the LSAT. One of the most important requirements for admission to law school graduate programs is a high GPA from undergraduate studies.

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is widely used by admissions authorities to evaluate a candidate’s potential for success in law school. There will be five parts of multiple-choice questions followed by a writing sample.

The LSAT is a test prospective law students take to evaluate their abilities in information management, reading comprehension, logical and analytical thinking, and argumentation; all of which are necessary for a career in the legal profession.

Law school admissions staff will examine more than just your LSAT results when making decisions, but you should still plan to spend at least a few months studying and getting ready for the exam.

You’ll have an easier time getting into the law school of your choice the higher your score.

3. Consider Your Alternatives and Submit Law School Applications

Some students decide to go on to graduate school immediately after earning their Bachelor’s degree, while others prefer to work in a different sector for a while first.

To practice law, you must get a master’s degree from an institution recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA). In the United States, there are more than 200 law schools that have been accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), so you have lots of possibilities.

Organizational membership, community involvement, and letters of recommendation from legal practitioners, educators, or graduates can all help set you apart from other applicants, in addition to your undergraduate GPA, LSAT scores, and coursework.

It is important to note that the Law School Admission Council is a great resource for information about applying to law school and continuing your legal education in general during the research period of your career.

4. Pursue Your JD Degree

The Juris Doctorate is the entry-level credential for legal careers. Because of the emphasis placed on both theoretical and practical training in law schools, prospective lawyers are more equipped to handle the challenges of their chosen profession.

You may be wondering, how long does it take to get a legal degree? If you go to law school full time, it will take you three years to graduate. It will take you four years to finish law school if you go to school part-time.

5. Passing the Bar Exam

Once you have earned your Juris Doctorate, the next step is to sit for the bar examination in the state or country in which you want to practice law.

This test is meant to see if you have what it takes to become a lawyer in the real world. It may take a few extra months on top of the time spent in law school to prepare for the bar exam and get the results.

Take into account that some states’ bar examinations are notoriously challenging, and prepare accordingly. If you do well on the test, you may apply for admission to the Bar.

Even then, you won’t be accepted without first passing the character and fitness evaluation and thorough background check administered by your state’s bar association.

To practice law, you need not only the appropriate training and education, but also a spotless criminal history.

6. Put in Application for Jobs

After completing the necessary coursework and obtaining the necessary credentials, you will be prepared to enter the legitimate job market.

There is a wide range of options for lawyers to improve their careers, including employment with the government, non-profits, private practices, and other organizations.

Associateships are common entry points into the legal profession for recent grads, where they work with more seasoned attorneys. Successful lawyers may be invited to become partners after working for a firm for a few years, while others may choose to go it alone.

Some attorneys even move into public posts or become judges, showing the breadth of opportunities available to those with a law degree.


Finally, it’s worth noting that you can continue your study beyond the JD level. An advanced degree in law or a Ph.D. in another field are also good options if you want to do original study and publish your findings.

Obtaining a Juris Doctor degree might take anywhere from four to eight years, while an LLM can take as little as two.

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