Achieving the status of a lawyer is no small feat; it comes with sacrifice and vigorous determination. The choice of entering the world of law should be considered thoroughly and carefully before reaching a decision.
Understanding the details behind a career in law will help shape your path and figure out how much time you’ll be spending studying. Furthermore, having a basic knowledge of all the areas that law encompasses can be a convenient way of choosing your desired direction.
But how many years does it take to become a lawyer? We will answer this question and explain all you have to do to become a lawyer and why pursuing this objective is worth it.
What Does a Lawyer Do?
As you’ll come to find out, lawyers do quite a lot. They give legal advice to businesses and individuals and represent them in legal proceedings. These include hearings, depositions, and trials in fields such as real estate, criminal defense, criminal prosecution, medical malpractice, personal injury, or political law.
No matter their area of expertise, a lawyer usually:
- Writes, reviews, and interprets legal documents;
- Researches current laws and legal precedents;
- Works with judges, mediators, court reporters, and paralegals
- Negotiates settlements;
- Communicates with clients, investigators, opponents, and police.
How Many Years Does It Take To Become a Lawyer?
While, in general, it takes approximately seven years to become a lawyer, aspirers of this profession should know that it all depends on the amount of work you put in. We’ll be going over the stages of becoming a lawyer and the time needed to complete them.
Earn a graduate degree
Time of completion: 3-4 years
Your journey to becoming a lawyer begins with an undergraduate degree. Although the specific undergraduate degree you earn does not matter in the long run, potential employers like seeing undergraduate degrees in their employee’s portfolios.
Take the LSAT
Time of completion: Depends; several months-1 year
In order to enroll in a law school, you must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This test can be taken throughout the year and covers reading comprehension, logical thinking, and verbal reasoning proficiency. To attend a good law school, your scores on this test must be high.
The test is considered quite challenging, and you must prepare before taking it, either by studying by yourself or getting a tutor. You can find a tutor at your college or an online organization, and make sure to use official LSAT prep resources on the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website.
Enroll in law school and graduate
Time of completion: Usually three years
To be allowed to take the bar exam, you first need legal education. This is done by getting a law degree, typically a Juris Doctor (JD), which develops your critical thinking skills and knowledge of the law while introducing you to scenarios you might experience as a lawyer.
Students complete general studies during the first two years before choosing their preferred area of expertise. In the third year, they take more electives and focus on their specialty.
Pass the bar exam
Time of completion: Several months
The final level to becoming a lawyer is writing and passing the bar exam. The bar exam generally has multiple choice and essay questions that evaluate the taker’s knowledge of state law and ability to apply the law to various real-world scenarios.
One thing is for sure; the bar exam is notoriously difficult. For example, in 2019, the passing rate in the U.S. was about 58 percent. Aspiring attorneys must take these tests seriously and study efficiently. It’s actually quite recommended to devote at least six to eight intensive weeks to prepare for the bar and preferably take a prep course.
Is a Degree in Law Worth It?
People have a plethora of ideas about what they want out of their degree, yet a law degree can be pretty appealing for several reasons. Huge salaries, plenty of career options, and the opportunity to make a difference by bringing justice to the court are only some of the arguments, and we’ll be going into detail in the following paragraphs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a lawyer in the U.S. is $127,990 per year. On the other hand, a lawyer in Switzerland makes around CHF 137,662 per year.
Many factors influence lawyers’ salaries, including their experience, level of education, the location of their practice, and area of specialization.
A wide range of career options
Another reason people opt for a career in law is the amazing opportunity to specialize in whatever fits their best attributes. The list below is only a gist of the full range of career options as a lawyer:
- Personal injury lawyer
- Employment lawyer
- Immigration lawyer
- Environmental lawyer
- Civil rights lawyer
- Criminal lawyer
- Family and divorce lawyer
- Estate Planning lawyer
- Construction and real estate lawyer
- Corporate lawyer
- Bankruptcy lawyer
The power to make a difference
Out of all the reasons to pursue a law degree, a lawyer’s primary motivation is helping others. The law is captivating for those who want to change the world because attorneys are powerful and have an immense impact on society. Whatever scale they help people, those who enter the process of becoming a lawyer find the most satisfaction in aiding those who need justice the most.
Is It Hard to Get a Law Degree?
We’re going to cut it short: law school is very hard. It’s much harder than regular college in terms of stress, workload, and required commitment. We will go over three reasons why getting a law degree is such a tenuous yet rewarding experience.
Tremendous workload: The amount of work expected of you in law school is incomparable. The coursework requires you to do a lot of research, study various topics, and understand diverse concepts, lines of reasoning, strategies, and more. In contrast to the skimming and scanning you’re taught in regular college, law school makes you go through every piece of document with a fine-toothed comb and deliberate on every sentence.
The pressure: Law school is not for the faint of heart. You won’t have loads of assignments to worry about in law school, yet the pressure to keep accumulating knowledge and not be left behind will be extreme.
Curved grades and competition: Getting into a great law school is a highly competitive procedure. If you get accepted, the competitiveness only escalates. No matter how hard you work, the typically curved grades will generate heavy competition because your grade and success still depend on the grades of others.
As mentioned right in the beginning, getting a law degree is an admirable achievement and proof of having a hard-worker mentality. It’s tiring yet rewarding, and it’s quite long yet worth it in the end.
Lawyers are the soldiers of justice and have a remarkable effect on how we live our lives, so don’t give up: become a real-world hero, find the truth and nothing but the truth, and make the world a fair place.
And if you’re interested in getting a law degree in Switzerland, click here to look at some of the best law schools in Switzerland.