Requirements To Become A Lawyer


With advancements in technology, networking and innovation of new fields, the necessity of having lawyers around has risen noticeably. Although considered quite tough but the law profession is one of the high paying and a rewarding career. 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. So, if you wish to become a lawyer you must carefully take the steps required for your law education, examinations, licensing processes, and getting higher law education. The most important question you need to ask yourself is why you want to become a lawyer. The second one would be whether you are committed enough to take up several years of rigorous education and training to attain your goals. If you have strong motivation to become a lawyer, then continue reading the requirements to become a lawyer in the 50 states of the U.S., Canada, and the District of Columbia.

Requirements To Become A Lawyer

Minimum requirements to become a Lawyer/ Attorney

  • Must have an undergraduate degree from a nationally/ regionally accredited institute

  • Must pass the Law Admission Test (LSAT)

  • Must apply to the American Bar Association-accredited (ABA) law schools

  • Must have a two year graduation known as Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree

  • Must take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

  • Must have a clean record to pass the moral character screening process

  • Must pass the state bar exam (the State Bar Examination)

The above mentioned are the basic requirements to becoming a lawyer. They are necessary but they alone may not be a guarantee that you’ll become one. This is just the beginning.

To become a lawyer you may begin your preparations right from the school years. Yes, that’s true. You need not wait to finish your undergraduate degree and then start building up your career. You may begin right from your high school by bringing best consistent grades and by taking a firm decision that you would become a successful lawyer. Maintain your CGPA above 3. You should actively participate in your high school debates and mock trials to train yourself a tough inquisitor. You should be quick at finding flaws in arguments, separating facts from opinions, and thinking on the feet. Doing volunteer work, such as running for student government, would definitely pay you in the long run.

Education and Qualifications

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. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there is growth potential of 6% from 2014 to 2024, with a median salary of $115,820. No doubt, you can expect a fairly tough law job competition across the U.S.


While still a law student, avail the opportunities to complete part-time summer jobs at law firms, government agencies, and corporate offices. Consider these as your long term job investment chances.

Pass your State Bar written exam as a license requirement before beginning law practice in the U.S. This would be followed by the passing of a separate written ethics exam.

Once all the requirements are fulfilled, it’s the high time to apply (in person or online) for a lawyer’s job. You should have a strong grasp on the area of your legal expertise and what kind of legal work you would step into.

Since different states may offer different selection procedures, these are the general guidelines


It will require all questions to be answered completely with professional, ethical responsibility.


You’ll be declared a licensed lawyer after passing the state bar exam. At present, 13 states dispense the Uniform Bar Examination where the Multistate Bar Examination consists of 50% weight. There’s also an essay examination (MEE) and a performance test (MPT).


This step consists of passing the moral character screening process that might take up to six months. There could be several written tests and an interview to assess a candidate’s psychological suitability for a career as a lawyer. You must have a clean criminal record. The Committee of Bar Examiners’ Subcommittee on Moral Character would take your references, collect your fingerprints, and generally show you’re honest, trustworthy, financially responsible (no debt), and that you respect the law. There should not be any major law breaking factors on you record.


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.


The application process is a rigorous one and therefore you can expect it to take around six months or a little more.


The Juris Doctor (JD) is the nationally recognized three year, full time study degree for law practice in the U.S. This degree is offered by 205 ABA accredited law schools across the U.S. The law graduates are also required to pass the State Bar Exam set out by each state in accordance with its own state regulations. The freshman lawyers usually begin as law associates with senior lawyers and after gaining a certain level of experience, may either pursue higher education of the Master of Law (LLM), PhD, or may become a judge and move onto public offices. Taking Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is also required by some states. California requires the highest score of 86 while only Maryland, Washington and Wisconsin do not require the MPRE. Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Nebraska require that you have MPRE several months before you take the bar.