A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for admission to law school. No singular field of study recommended by the American Bar Association at this level. In fact, the ABA notes that students gain admission to law school from nearly every area of study, ranging from political science to mathematics. Common undergraduate majors for pre law students include English, political science, economics, business, philosophy, and journalism. There’s no correct major to pursue to get into law school. But according to legal educators, prospective J.D. students who take classes they enjoy report better GPA scores. And given the importance of your undergraduate GPA in the law school admissions process, focusing on coursework you enjoy can help you become a competitive candidate.
Alongside a college degree, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a center part of the graduate school affirmations measure. Affirmations officials use scores from the LSAT as a target measure to survey the information and nature of candidates. The assessment incorporates five different decision question segments and an unscored composing test. The LSAT estimates applicants’ abilities in basic spaces of future lawful work, including understanding perception, data the executives, investigation and basic reasoning, thinking, and argumentation.
The Juris Doctor (JD) the nationally recognized degree for practicing law in the United States and currently offered by 205 ABA-accredited law schools. Prospective students should have knowledge of the faculty, areas of study, tuition, and curriculum prior to applying. There are numerous specialties within legal practice and students should select a program that offers a focused curriculum in their area of interest. For example, students may choose to concentrate in areas of real estate, property, criminal, environmental, tax, or family law.
General practice encompasses a broad range of civil and criminal matters. Unlike lawyers who specialize in one or two subjects, general practice lawyers not limited to any specific area of the law. They often concentrate on basic legal services including, but not limited to, probate law, family law, contract law, and property law. Keep reading to learn more about general practice lawyers.
Professional Requirements to Become a General Practice Lawyer
Like lawyers in all fields of practice, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree from a college or university to become a general practice lawyer. Towards the end of your undergraduate program, you will take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT.) This test assesses reading comprehension, logical, and verbal reasoning skills and your score is used as part of the admissions process by law schools
After passing the LSAT, you will start working towards earning a Juris Doctorate degree (.J.D.) by attending law school. Generally, aspiring attorneys spend the first year studying the basics of law and subsequent years focused on specific fields. Those interested in general practice however, may study the general aspects of different legal areas. The last step to become a general practice lawyer is to take the bar exam in the state of residency.
Additional Licensure Requirements
Each state bar sets forth additional licensure requirements for attorneys. While the requirements vary, all but a handful of states mandate that lawyers must take Continuing Education Courses on a regular basis. These courses help lawyers stay up to date with changing laws and new case precedent.
Where Can You Work as a General Practice Lawyer
When it comes to where you can work as a general practice lawyer, there are several options available. Some attorneys choose to practice solo while others become employed by law firms. The law firm may specialize in general practice, or have a department dedicated to it. Commonly, a lawyer joins a law firm as an associate with the goal of becoming partner in the future.
General practice attorneys can also work for non-profit organizations such as legal-aid agencies. These lawyers provide free or reduced rate services to clients who cannot afford to hire private representation.
Pass the Bar Examination
Most states require lawyers to graduate from an ABA-approved law school and pass the state bar examination prior to qualifying in that state. Although each state sets its own testing guidelines, the bar exam is commonly a two-day process: day one is spent completing the Multistate Bar Examination while day two focuses on writing examinations covering various legal matters. In addition to the bar examination, the state board of bar examiners also consider the candidate’s educational background, competence, character, and ability to represent others in legal matters prior to offering full legal licensure.
How do General Practice Lawyers Get Paid?
How general practice lawyers get paid depends on their approach to billing. In general, this type of attorney will charge hourly for most cases and a flat rate fees for basic services such as drafting wills or contracts. The exact rate charged to the client will depend on the complexity of the case, the attorney’s experience, and geographical location. Lawyers working in large firms tend to charge more to compensate for a higher overhead.
Most attorneys also require a retainer fee. This fee is a portion of the total costs paid up front and placed into a special account. The attorney then uses this retainer as he works on the case. The amount of retainer required varies based on total costs.
General practice lawyers working for pro bono legal programs often work for free or at a reduced rate. Some of the programs are funded by the federal governments, while others are funded by state or private organizations.