In the USA, to become a Lawyer, IF you go to school full-time:
1) Bachelor's degree - four years from a traditional college/university.
2) Study for LSAT. Take LSAT.
3) Law school - three MORE years.
4) Study for Bar Exam. Take Bar Exam in the state where you want to practice.
5) Pass the Character and Fitness Evaluation. Then you can practice Law.
6) You still have to take additional classes/seminars/legal training etc. each year to obtain CEUs to keep your license to practice Law. (You aren't done with school!!)
7) In many states there are even laws requiring a certain percentage of your legal work to be "pro bono" (free of charge) for some charitable purpose.
Choosing a career is one of life's most important and difficult decisions. But knowing what your expectations are, and then comparing them to the realities will help you make educated decisions.
There are more attorneys than there are legal employment positions. We simply already have way too many Legal Professionals. AND the legal profession is dramatically changing: it is in absolute CRISIS! Job searching in this vocational field has changed >>DRAMATICALLY<< in the last five years. And, every year, more and more people graduate from law school, but there are fewer and fewer jobs. Even the largest and most reputable law firms are experiencing unprecedented cutbacks. I don't expect the situation to improve in the coming years.....
Be aware of what you are proposing on getting yourself into. Please do more research first. Reminder: We are STILL in a World-wide Recession. Obviously, economic conditions affect the number of jobs available. Consider career paths that have available JOBS.<< Even in a Recovery, there are some jobs that just won't return - the field of Law won't make a comeback. Too many things have changed in this vocational field.
Warning> Jobs in the field of Law are drying up fast!! This no longer is a good field to invest time and/or money into. This is a SHRINKING, crumbling, and dying vocational field. Many, many reasons: We now have computers. So, many people today (mistakenly) think they can do their own legal work, thanks to the Internet and legal books. Also, there are a lot of companies out there making very efficient legal software for the field of Law. Today's graduating lawyers tend to be very computer savvy, so they just do the work themselves to save themselves the cost of overhead - they aren't hiring legal staff. Also, the "Public" buys this legal software/law books in order to get legal work done without the expense of an Attorney. Also, we simply already have way too many Legal Professionals - we just have an absolute glut!! ("Legal Professionals" includes, but is not limited to: Attorneys/Lawyers, Paralegals, Legal Assistants, Legal Secretaries, Bailiffs, Court Reporters, etc, etc) For example: Sites like legalzoom.com have taken away work that many small-time attorneys/lawyers would do/used to do.
The field of Law has a mystique that actually exceeds reality. The field of Law is a vastly overrated career - especially by television.<< There are many myths regarding the field of Law. Law is a more demanding profession than most people realize. It is not like what you see on TV.
Cost of law school to be lawyer, approx $150,000+. Be prepared to take on a LOT of debt, if becoming an attorney is your "true", ultimate goal!!<<< Even after paying the expensive tuition, you still need to pay for books, room and board, and miscellaneous fees.
Employers (usually law firms) in the field of Law today want employees with degrees from traditional (bricks and mortar) colleges/universities. Those "certificates" you see advertised aren't worth the paper they are printed on - they are generally scams. (>>I found this out the hard way.) Also, the law school's program needs to be accredited by the American Bar Association - if it isn't, you are just wasting your time/money.
Even if you finish law school, you won't be able to find a job when you are done. Since this vocational field is shrinking (at an alarming rate), many new attorneys/lawyers are, themselves, having to work "down" as Paralegals, Legal Assistants, Legal Secretaries, Bailiffs, Court Reporters, etc, etc, to simply try to keep some of their bills paid <<this would be your competition. And the competition is fierce in TODAY's job market!!
Now... the law schools know this, but they won't tell you the truth >that the job market/economy is just SATURATED with way too many Legal Professionals. Instead the schools will feed you a fairytale and will LIE to you. The root of the problem is we already have too many law schools. We are STILL in a Recession, and the schools are fighting for their own survival - they will tell students anything to get to the students' money. (Which is why they won't tell you the truth about the job market for the field of Law.) And these schools continue to recruit and churn out even more graduates.............Remember>>> law schools are BUSINESSES - their TOP concern is making money for themselves.
>>>>>THE #1 MOST IMPORTANT THING (and I can't stress this enough>>>): You ESPECIALLY have to beware of the BOGUS, INFLATED law school salary/job stats given out by >law schools< (AND by the U.S. Bureau of Labor)!!***<<<<<
If you don't believe me, then:
**Check out these websites: http://informeddecisionmaking.blogspot.c...
(A link to a website does not constitute endorsement.)
**do a SEARCH here on Yahoo Answers to see what other posters are saying about the current status of the field of Law. Call some local law firms - ask to speak to the Manager of Human Resources - ask them if they are hiring; ask them what they think about future job availability in the field of Law..................
**Do "informational interviews" with several attorneys from at least two or three different firms. (You can find how to do "informational interviews" from your local Public Library - ask the Librarian.) Interviewing attorneys is a time-efficient and extremely beneficial way of discovering if law is the right vocational field for you. Talk to a few Human Resource Managers who work at employers in the field of Law. Ask them what their opinion is on future jobs in this field.
**Talk to recent law graduates. Ask them what success they are having finding employment opportunities. <<<<<
If you want a JOB when you are done with your studies, consider and look into the fields of: >>>Healthcare, Information Technology, Law ENFORCEMENT, environmentalism, emergency planning, accounting, education, entertainment, utilities, home-car-commercial-industrial repairs, vice industries, clergy, and/or debt collection. I spoke to a career counselor from Jobs and Family Services, and HE told me that these areas are where the jobs are, and future job opportunities/availability....and scholarships.
There are MANY issues of working in the vocational field of Law. My answer is an attempt to give you a realistic way of looking at this career, and I have told you things that most will not tell you about the profession - at first. Be careful, do your research, and have your eyes open wide.
(This is based on my current knowledge, information, belief, and life experiences. This was intended as personal opinion, and not intended to be used as legal advice. Please be careful and do your research.<<< You DID ask the question here on Y/A. I am just trying to help you.)
There will be negotiations between your lawyer and the other party. If not resolved, there will be a trail. Either way, don't expect to see any $$ for several years.