Criminal lawyers are highly-esteemed professionals, and as such, it’s also a very difficult career to enter. If you’re considering becoming a criminal lawyer, there are a few things that can make it a bit easier for you. You'll want to begin with a great education, of course!
When choosing to enter a legal profession, a lot of people consider becoming a criminal lawyer a challenge. It may be tough, but it’s also one of the most rewarding legal jobs. From the excitement of handling litigation on business, immigration, and other legal violations, to the handsome amount of money you can make, a career as a criminal lawyer has a lot of benefits.
One very important thing is to develop good study habits. Work on it as early as possible. Not only will you need to study a lot in law school, but also a job as a criminal lawyer requires research all throughout your career. Your grades as far back as high school will also affect your application to law school. Most law schools check your grades as part of the admissions process, with the top-notch schools accepting only the students with the highest marks.
The courses you take in college will have an effect on your application to law school as well. While the courses may not matter to some law schools, it will be most helpful to obtain a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Extra courses in social studies, political science, and public speaking will help equip you with a firm foundation for law school as well.
Once you’re done with your pre-law education, it’s time to look for a reputable law school to attend. Do some research, visit the campuses, and get as much feedback as you can determine the law school that best suits your interests. You’ll need one that’s comfortable and provides high-quality education.
After you’ve found the school that’s right for you, you’ll have to then take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The LSAT is given quarterly at numerous locations around the country. You can check the schedules on the Law School Admission Council’s official website. Your score on the LSAT will have a strong influence on what law schools accept you. If you’re set on becoming a criminal lawyer, study and take as many review classes as you can in preparation for the test.
If all goes well, you’ll be accepted into your top choices for law school. It’ll take about three years for you to finish your higher education. However, even with a law degree, you can’t start working as a criminal lawyer just yet. You’ll have to take the bar exam before you can legally practice law. While you review for the bar, you can always find work in a law firm as a paralegal for an attorney to gain some valuable work experience.
Each state has its own bar exam, and you’ll need to pass the exam for each of the states in which you intend to practice law. It’s often touted as the most difficult test you’ll ever have to take, so take it very seriously. You can pick up additional criminal justice classes online which may help you study for the bar. Many individuals end up taking the exam multiple times before they even pass. You’ll have to burn the midnight oil studying if you plan on taking the state bar exam just once. With enough discipline and persistence, you’ll be able to pass the bar exam and finally become a licensed criminal lawyer.