Even when times are tough, lawyers have work to do. This makes being a Florida lawyer an exciting job opportunity. Once you have completed an undergraduate degree, there are several steps you must take to become a licensed attorney. These steps will help you know how to get started.
- LSAT. The LSAT is the standard law school entrance exam. You can find information at your local library or online about its contents. The LSAT is offered several times a year, usually a local university. If you want to become a Florida lawyer, you will need to pay the fees, study for the test and pass the LSAT. The higher your LSAT scores are, the more likely it is that you will gain admittance to the law school of your choice.
- Law Schools. There are many law schools in Florida including large ones at the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Miami and smaller ones at St. Thomas, Nova Southeastern, and Coastal. Publically-funded institutions have lower law school tuition than private law schools. You do not have to attend a Florida law school to become a lawyer in Florida, but information specific to Florida laws is taught only in Florida.
- Get Ahead with an Internship. You can help your chances for future employment by taking a law-related part-time job. Established law offices look for candidates who have not only graduated law school but have also worked in law offices or the courts. For this reason, many take a position with a law firm, as an intern or a paralegal, during law school years. This helps students get a job when they have finished law school. Another place to get a job is with the district attorney or with the courts. Other places to seek internships are the Florida Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Justice. Both of these have many offices throughout Florida.
- Bar Exam. Once you have graduated from law school, your next hurdle is the Florida Bar Exam. All lawyers must pass the exam to be licensed in Florida. If you are licensed in another state, you still have to pass the Florida Bar Exam to practice law in Florida.
- Job-Hunting. Once you've taken the bar, or even before, you will want to look for positions that relate to the type of law that you wish to do. In addition to established law firms, Florida lawyers find jobs with district attorneys, city governments, county governments, corporations, State and Federal justice departments, the courts and more. While you're searching for a job, you may want to increase your hiring potential by taking online continuing education classes in criminal justice.