How Long Does It Take To Become A Lawyer

How Long Does It Take To Become a Lawyer?

The aspirant lawyers are expected to follow a series of steps to practice law. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it would take you 7 years of full time study after high school to become a lawyer. If you wish to aspire for specialized fields of law practice, add one to four years, or even more, of scholarly education research degrees of Master of Laws (LLM), Doctor of Jurisprudence (JSD), Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD), Doctor of Comparative Law (DCL), or the Doctor of Philosophy in Law (PhD). So if you are really committed to invest several years in the law study to have it practiced, you are embarking on a journey of a rewarding career.

Lawyers typically hold a Juris Doctor (JD) degree and a valid license to get into their legal practice. On getting the license, the lawyers undergo training at a law firm or law organizations of their selected skill legal specialties. Lawyers in private practice generally work in specialized law firms that would employ from a single lawyer to a 50 or even more.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Lawyer


If you are a true law aspirant, you better start preparing your career right from the school years by participating in debates, mock trials, case studies and building an inquisitive mind. Your grades must stay above 3 CGPA. You must earn a bachelor’s degree first, followed by LSAT exam to get into a law school. The Juris Doctor (JD) degree is the law degree you’ll receive on your graduation from the ABA accredited law school. It takes two years to a maximum of seven years to complete your J.D. degree. As a second possibility, you may also take up online JD degree course with online law schools, but be mindful that most bar associations may not allow a full online JD as ABA accredited education.

How long does it take to get a license to practice law

It would take you 7 years of full time study after high school to become a lawyer. If you wish to aspire for specialized fields of law practice, add one to four years, or even more, of scholarly education research degrees. You are required to pass your state bar examination and earn a license to practice. Depending upon your state requirements, you are required to pass a written bar exam, as well as a separate written ethics exam. If you wish to practice law in several states you’ll be required to pass a bar exam pertaining to that particular state where you’ll be practicing. It is mandatory that you possess a sound legal knowledge, understand how to prepare and interpret legal documents, and be aware of legal procedures.

Get hired as a lawyer

Along with your JD law degree and the Bar Exam qualification, make full use of technological advancements, networking, documentation skills, data base management, cloud computing, and specialized legal software. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for lawyers would increase by ten percent by the year 2020. To be a successful lawyer, keep yourself updated on the use of technology in your law practice. Your chances to get hired become brighter if you have an experience of either volunteer or paid apprenticeship at law firm, corporate office, government agency, or a legal organization.

Training at a Law Firm

At the start of your career as a lawyer, the initial positions would be hard to get and sustain. If you had already worked as an internee with a law firm, your chances of having a great job are much brighter if you agree to the kinds of sacrifices you are willing to make.

You are expected and required to follow the best ethical and legal standards of this profession. You should have a sound and up to date knowledge of your field and the area of expertise with a passion to professional continual growth. You should also establish yourself in preparing legal documents and thoroughly knowing court procedures. Since there is an ever growing need of skilled lawyers, you can avail training and work opportunities in highly in-demand practice areas like litigation, business and corporate law, healthcare, intellectual property and real estate.


Certification programs for lawyers are entirely voluntary. You may pursue your specific law area from private ABA-accredited programs, state sponsored plans, and state =accredited private certifiers. The National Board of Legal Specialty Certification may endorse your certification as Civil Pretrial Practice Lawyer, Trial Lawyer, Family Lawyer, Criminal Lawyer, or Social Security Disability Lawyer.

Career Advancement

If you are a committed law practice aspirant you need to hone your legal expertise through advocating, research, case studies, strong and effective verbal and written communication, deciphering complex legal documents into simpler ones, critical analysis and negotiation skills. You will grow in earnings, experience and repute over the years and by passing the specialized exams in your legal practice areas such as tax law, intellectual property law, environment law, family law, criminal law, corporate law, litigation and administrative law. With the technological advancements and emergence of new fields, the specialized legal skill areas for lawyers are also emerging. There is sound career advancement potential for the competent and experienced lawyers. You may find other law career specialties of your interest such as corporate law attorney, personal injury lawyer, family divorce lawyer, paralegal, criminal defense attorney and property law attorney.

Lawyer hierarchy

Since the lawyers are required to prepare for a trial and present their client in mediation, court proceeding, or any negotiations, their experience and preparation pays them off very well to support their client’s position. There is no typical or strict hierarchy to follow, but the general ascending hierarchy depends upon the professional law degree acquired, number of years in active practice, and the specialized legal skill areas, is represented as follows:

  • Private practice lawyer

  • A prosecutor

  • Government council

  • Corporate in-house council

  • Administrative law judge

  • Judge arbitrator

  • Law professor