Did you just binge-watch all of “How to Get Away with Murder” and decide that you wanted to be just like Annalise Keating? Have you always had the ability to persuade people? Are you passionate about justice and the law?
No matter what got you to considering law as a career, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.
Whether you’re about to start your undergrad and aren’t sure what courses to take or are considering taking the LSAT and applying to law school, there are some things you should know before taking steps to become a lawyer.
There are Several Types of Law
A career in law isn’t a one-size-fits-all, and different types of law are better suited to different personality types, desired lifestyles, and specific interests.
For example, suppose you want to be a Toronto criminal lawyer. In that case, you should have a passion for justice and an ability to deal with cases that may involve difficult topics such as murder and sexual assault.
Picking an area of law best suited to your personality will ensure a successful career that you actually enjoy. Consider taking a few internships in different areas you’re interested in to find which fits you best.
Some of the biggest areas of law include:
- Family Law
- Entertainment Law
- Criminal Law
- Business Law
- Personal Injury Law
- Environmental Law
You must already have a bachelor’s degree to attend law school, which typically takes around four years to complete. While subjects such as political science and history may better prepare students for law school, you can get your bachelor’s degree in any subject of your choosing and still get into law school.
Law school itself then takes three years if done on a full-time schedule. Once you’ve finished your J.D, you must then complete 12 months of articling before you can work as a lawyer.
Things You Should Be Good At
Movies and TV shows typically only show lawyers in the courtroom; however, more goes into being a lawyer than just going to trial. In fact, a lot of lawyers rarely see the inside of a courtroom, if even at all!
Good public speaking and networking skills are essential for being a successful lawyer. Additionally, a lot of your time as a lawyer will be spent reading and writing, so it’s essential to be skilled in these areas as well.
You May Have to Retake the LSAT or the Bar
Depending on how competitive other applicants are in your year, you may need to retake the LSAT in order to increase your chances of getting into law school. Luckily, you can take the LSAT up to three times a year if you aren’t happy with your results the first time around. The Princeton Review recommends dedicating anywhere from 200 to 300 hours to studying for the LSAT for optimal results.
Both the LSAT and the Bar are difficult examinations, so don’t feel discouraged if you need to retake them— first ladies Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton both failed their first time around!