How to Prepare for the Highly Competitive Legal Field

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Whether you imagine yourself making impassioned speeches in a courtroom, you want to work in a specialty like environmental law, or you hope to work in a high-powered corporate firm, it’s good if you’ve got your eye on a legal career to start preparing as early as possible. This is a highly competitive field, and you need to get into a good school and get good grades to succeed. 

Get Your Undergraduate Degree 

The first step is to get your bachelor’s degree. You need to get no single degree to prepare you for law school, but examples of majors that people commonly pursue include political science, English, history, philosophy, psychology, and criminal justice. The first four are broad humanities subjects that will give you a good grounding in communication and critical thinking.  

Psychology will provide you with additional insights into human nature, and criminal justice will give you a sense of the scope and history of the field. If you already know the specific area of law that you want to go into, you might want to get a degree in that area. For example, if you are going to become a patent attorney, studying engineering or another technical field may be helpful. If there is a pre-law organization at your undergraduate school, join it. 

Prepare for Law School 

Research the top schools and identify those that are strong in the area that interests you the most. Most schools require you to take the Law School Admission Test, so you must also study for this. Another concern may be paying for it. You can take out student loans as you did for your undergraduate degree. Keep in mind that if you are concerned about keeping expenses down after you graduate, you may be able to refinance undergraduate and law school loans with a private lender. A student loan refinancing calculator may give you an estimate of what you can expect to pay. 

Law School and the Bar 

Once you are admitted, you can’t slow down. You should try to graduate near the top of your class. It’s also important to try to get an internship or a clerkship. Working on your school’s law review is another excellent way to make yourself stand out. Once you have finished your degree, you will still need to pass the bar in the state where you wish to practice. 

Working as an Attorney 

Like most law school graduates, you probably accepted the most prestigious and highest paying job that you were offered. While you may end up being very happy at the first firm where you work and may want to stay on track to become a partner, it’s also common for people to figure out where they want to go with their career a few years down the road. Follow the tips for recent law school graduates that are readily available online to see what others have gone before you have done. It is essential to understand all your options. Keep networking and consider your options as you think about what career path matches your interests and strengths. 

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