Get the Undergraduate Pre-Law Major: According to BLS estimation of 2011, California offers the highest employment bank to the lawyers as compared to any other state. There were 67, 260 lawyers with
an averaging annual mean salary of $156,570. It is mandatory to have a two year undergraduate degree with at least 60 semester hours. Your undergraduate institution must be accredited and
recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
As an alternative, you may pass certain exams in the College Level Exam Program (CLEP) with a score of 50 or above. A law candidate is then evaluated for eligibility to practice law through State Bar of California. However, for the State Bar of California, it is not mandatory that you graduate from an American Bar Association –accredited law school. Taking the LSAT in California is offered by several exam preparatory institutes. So, along with under graduate degree and LSAT examination passed, you are now all set for admission to an ABA accredited law school.
After passing the bar exam, you must apply for admission to the Bar within five tears of passing the bar exam, followed by your oath taking ceremony as a new Bar member. If you are below 36 years of age or you are still under five years of practice, you will automatically become part of the California Young Lawyers Association.
Steps to becoming a Lawyer in California
Per regulations of State Bar of California, you should have a two years undergraduate degree with a minimum of 60 credit hours. Your undergraduate institution must be accredited and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. However, for the State Bar of California, it is not mandatory that you graduate from an American Bar Association –accredited law school. On the other hand, you would be required to get equivalence after passing specific exams in the College Level Exam Program (CLEP) with the least score of 50. If you already possess a degree but you are not sure if it counts for pre-legal education eligibility, you may apply to the Bar and have it evaluated. This requires a deposit of $100 pay check to the State Bar of California. Some undergrad institutions have appointed pre-law advisors to assist students desirous of joining a law school. These advisors would help you select relevant courses, write letters of recommendations and assist you gather the required documents to apply to the law school.
While still in the third year of the law school and without waiting to graduate, you may begin planning and finding a job during summers. You have a good employment potential in multiple fields, specialties and legal organizations. The State of California offers a lot of online job opportunities for aspirant lawyers. You can have paid or volunteer opportunities in a state attorney’s office, get on board as a clerk with legal aid organizations or join other positions in the areas of real estate, criminology, environment, insurance, family law, labor and taxation, corporate law or administrative law.
Like other states in the U.S., the Juris Doctor (JD) is the nationally recognized three year, full time study degree for law practice in California. The law graduates are also required to meet other California requirements, such as, sending in the moral character evaluation comprising details about your academics, work, and financial history, followed by an interview. A copy of the evaluation can be found on the California bar website. You would also be required to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).
To practice law, in addition to a three year Juris Doctor (JD) degree, California attorneys are required to complete 25 hours of approved minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) every three years. They must report their MCLE online through My State Bar Profile system. Then they will be assigned Compliance Group by the State Bar and they must report MCLE for a three-year period based upon the group’s deadline.
How Long Does It Take To Become a Lawyer in California?
According to ABA-Accredited law schools, you must complete 83 semester hours of credit to graduate. For State Bar-Accredited law schools, at least 80 semester hours spread over at least 32 months are required. It takes four-year program to graduate from an unaccredited, fixed facility school in California. The same time period is required if you graduate from the unaccredited law schools through correspondence or distance learning. However, under Rule 4.29 of the State Bar of California, you may also complete your legal education in a law office or judges’ chambers. Under the personal supervision of an attorney or a judge having a good five year standing in the California Bar, you must study at least 18 hours a week for 48 weeks equaling to one year of study. You’ll be personally supervised for five hours per week, followed by an exam every month and a six month report to the California Bar. The State Bar of California prefers you having a Juris Doctor (JD) or a Bachelors of Laws (L.L.B.) degree from a laws school accredited either by the American Bar Association or the State Bar of California.
How much does a Lawyer make in California?
Although quite tough on studies and getting licensed, but becoming a lawyer in California is one of the most rewarding careers you can ever have. According to BLS estimation of 2011, California offers the highest employment bank to the lawyers as compared to any other state. There were 67, 260 lawyers with an averaging annual mean salary of $156,570. Likewise, the mean annual wage for lawyers was around $114,970 in 2014, which is much higher than the national average.
Career outlook for becoming a lawyer in California?
Being a lawyer in California is a great rewarding job in terms of finance and education both. There is a sustained professional update every three years through continuing legal education requirements (CLE) whereas the career incessantly keeps focus on high ethical and professional conduct.