Deciding to become a lawyer is not something that should be taken lightly. Aside from making the decision of whether you want to focus on medical malpractice law or labor law, obtaining a license in the United States in order to practice law surely demands a lot. If you’re wondering what steps one must take before getting this license, here are tips for becoming a lawyer in New York.
An aspiring lawyer is required to graduate from a recognized law school, pass several exams and meet the following requirements:
Enroll in The Right Law School
While preparing your application, bear in mind that some law schools are very selective. For instance, J.D. admission officers only consider an applicant’s test score and GPA, as well as his resume and personal statement.
Due to this, Juris Doctor (J.D.) students should be very careful when selecting a law school because their choice can impact their future. Note that full-time J.D. programs are highly rigorous during the first year and the last three years.
While a J.D. is enough for you to work at some law firms, areas like corporate, business, and family law may require other specialized training.
Pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
After graduating from law school, you’ll have to sit for the MPRE test to become a lawyer in New York. This exam tests your knowledge about the regulations relating to an attorney’s professional conduct. It is offered three times every year and you must get a score of 85 to practice in New York.
Take the New York State Bar Exam
To practice law in New York, you’ll have to pass both the New York State Bar Exam and the MPRE. This test is administered every February and July on the last Tuesday and Wednesday. You must apply in April if you want to sit for the July exam and in November if you want to take the February exam.
Note that the bar application is very lengthy and requires applicants to provide a lot of details. So set aside enough time to complete it and gather the required documents. The bar exam has just under a 75% pass rate for first time takers, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t pass the first time.
After getting good grades, you’ll be admitted to one of the judicial departments in New York, depending on your address.
Study Hard for GRE or LSAT
Most aspiring law students take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to qualify for enrollment in a law school. However, you can opt to sit for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test. Some law schools allow applicants to submit a GRE instead of an LSAT score.
This means a strong test score can increase your chances of being admitted to a law school if you want to pursue a J.D. So you should prepare thoroughly for whichever test you intend to take.
Submit Your Application to an ABA Law School
After passing the LSAT, you need to be admitted to an ABA-recognized law school. To apply, send an application to your preferred law schools. Also, submit your LSAT score, undergraduate transcripts, application fee, and letters of recommendation.
Get Licensed To Practice Law in New York
Before applying to be admitted to the New York Bar, you’ll have to perform 50 hours of services related to law. The services should be aimed at enabling disadvantaged or low-income individuals to access justice easily. For instance, you can help a low-income person fill out some legal forms.
Additionally, you can look to serve in areas of law that you’ll want to focus on, such as immigration law or personal injury.
Gather as much knowledge as you can while in law school because it will help you pass the bar. Remember the goal of enrolling in a law school is not to get good grades; it’s to master the information imparted to you.