Becoming a lawyer can seem like a great and rewarding career choice. The road there, however, can be a daunting one. There are choices to make, steps to take and many classes along the way. The journey is, in the least, a seven year investment of time, energy, effort and of course, money. While intelligence is a great quality to have, perseverance is perhaps the greatest.Choosing an Undergraduate SchoolThe first choice on the road to "becoming a lawyer" is selecting an undergraduate school and major. This is an important choice because while there is no particular major required for law school, there are courses that will enhance graduate studies and make law school easier. As law school will probably be the hardest and most demanding three years of the journey, any advanced ground work will be to your advantage.Preparing for the LSATAs one nears the end of his or her undergraduate school career, it is time to register and prepare to take the law school admissions test or LSAT. Again, as there is no required major for the undergraduate, there are no preset study questions that can prepare the lawyer-to-be for the admissions exam. The exam is one that helps determine whether or not one might be successful in law school. The exam does not cover topics such as history, political science or mathematics. It is mainly reading comprehension and logic that is examined within the test sections. Preparing for the test does not fall within standard studying parameters. There are many ways to prepare, however. Getting an LSAT study guide as soon as one knows their desire to pursue a career in law is a good place to start.Applying to Law SchoolOnce the LSAT has been taken, one should be ready to start the actual admissions process which, of course, begins with the application. Most law school candidates will already have an idea of where they would like to attend law school and will begin applying there. Others may not have a clue where to go. While it is good to have direction and intent, it is not completely necessary. You may direct your LSAT scores to particular law schools though most schools get lists of those participating in the admissions test. You will soon be in receipt of admission applications from law schools all over the world giving you many options to consider should you have no prior ideas. The road to being a lawyer is getting shorter.Once accepted into law school, law students will go through classes, case studies, internships or clerkships, mock trials and may do pro-bono type work at legal clinics. All this is a foundation to becoming a lawyer. The final step is passing the bar exam for whichever state one intends to practice law in. One may think they will be practicing in the state in which law school was attended but that is not always the case. Students who work diligently will have an intended law firm lined up prior to graduation. While the road may seem long, the payoff is a rewarding career in law.
With the legal landscape constantly changing, it is imperative that attorneys stay relevant. No matter how long you have been practicing law, it is always a good idea to reinvent yourself, even in the smallest of ways. If you feel you're in a rut and would like to become a better lawyer, here are a few steps you can take to bring you closer to that goal.1) Refine Your Presentation Skills. The average American's knowledge of legal terms and procedures comes from Boston Legal reruns and Law and Order marathons on TNT. So although you may feel like you're putting your argument forth eloquently, the average person may be left scratching their head. With that said, it is best to get a smooth, refined presentation down that can be universal. Meaning lawyers will respond to it and the average client will have a positive response as well. The great Clarence Darrow once said, "Unless a speaker can interest his audience at once, his effort will quickly be a failure." Keep that in mind when preparing your arguments. Whether you are speaking with a client or the district attorney, you should be able to present your case with grace and confidence.2) Develop a style. Find a convincing style and stick with it. Be consistent in your presentations. This doesn't mean that you should be cutting back on the substance to include style. You should find a method of presenting your material that is memorable and distinctive. Arguments that are fresh, modern and easy to digest, that don't lack the solid, meaty information have the biggest impact. Remember that even the most sparkling presentations can fail if they aren't presented properly.3) Keep the language clear and uncluttered. Wordy or overly scientific arguments may do wonders at showing off your legal vocabulary and validate your status as a competent lawyer, but be very careful that you aren't being overly wordy. Think about how what you're saying and how it would look on paper. When you're reading something that has cluttered sentences and disorganized thoughts and ideas, no matter how convincing they are, it takes away from the message. Often times cluttered and unclear speech weakens the argument because it seems like fluff.4) Take CLE Classes. Whether you are in need of CLE classes for the credit fulfillment, or are interested in continuing education seminars because you want to brush up on current law practices, it is always a good idea to take CLE classes. In addition to the obvious reasons of fulfilling the credit requirement by your state bar, continuing education seminars can give you the most through advice from some of the most prominent figures in the legal field. By taking CLE classes, you can most definitely get some constructive advice on how to become a better lawyer from those who would know best—other successful, practicing lawyers.