Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community polls, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

How does one become a lawyer?

Shark_biteShark_bite Posts: 1,561Registered User Senior Member
edited January 2006 in Law School
I'm not looking for answers like "one studies hard" or things like that, i mean what are the requirements?

From what I understand, you need great grades-3.7 or better would be best.
A great LSAT score (Can someone tell me what this is? I mean whats on it.)

Is that it? Do you need volunteer work, work experience (buisness school needs it) anything else?

Is it the same to get into med school except that you need better grades (4.0) and a good mcat score?

Do you need a degree in a particular field? What degree is best? Political Science, Economics?

Also is it true that it doesn't matter very much what undergrad school you go to as long as you do well? (Of course Harvard undergrad is better then UW-Wisconsin, but by how much?) I don't really care for undergrad, I just want to go to a top law school like stanford, yale or harvard.

Thanks all! Im just a junior in high school, and I don't know anything about becoming a lawyer. (I'm pretty sure I want to do it though.)
Post edited by Shark_bite on
«1

Replies to: How does one become a lawyer?

  • AmericanskiAmericanski Posts: 683Registered User Member
    You don't need a 3.7. You don't need decent grades at all. If you can get into an accredited 4-year school, manage to graduate and don't black out during the LSAT, you can get into law school. As long as you don't go to one of the crappy schools that fails some percentage of its first year students as a matter of policy, graduating takes no effort at all. Then you just need to pass the bar exam, which isn't difficult at all (in almost every jurisdiction; California is the exception). That's all there is to it. Being a "good" lawyer or a "lawyer with an actual job" is a different story, but just becoming a lawyer is laughably simple (if expensive and time-consuming).
  • allenaallena Posts: 1,716Registered User Senior Member
    Americanski,

    You're the first person I've ever heard call the process laughably simple.
  • AmericanskiAmericanski Posts: 683Registered User Member
    Well, I would say that the bare minimum (getting a JD and being admitted to practice somewhere) is simple for an intelligent person. Certainly compared to how difficult people make it out to be, or compared to med school. However, there is a tremendous distinction between somebody who manages to become a practicing attorney somewhere and somebody who has decent grades from a good school and a high paying job. I mean, even the difference between the amount of work required to get a C (which is virtually none at all) and a B (which takes the best efforts of some very good students) is huge. The gap between B and A work is even greater. So this is why first-year students kill themselves studying, but the bare minimum is very easy to achieve.
  • razorsharprazorsharp Posts: 6,019Registered User Senior Member
    I am not sure where Americanski is getting his information, but it is not consistent with my experience and observations. Most law schools rank their students based on GPA. Most law firms make decisions whether to interview and/or hire based in substantial part on class rank. The result is often fierce competition among law students. This competition is tolerated (sometimes encouraged) in law schools because being able to deal with competitive pressures is an essential element of many areas of the practice of law.
  • 311Griff311Griff Posts: 1,586Registered User Senior Member
    Plus, your GPA does matter to law schools...you can't
    You don't need decent grades at all. If you can get into an accredited 4-year school

    and expect to get into a Yale, Stanford, or Harvard. According to www.lsat.org the average GPA of admitted students is:

    Yale- 3.96 (75th%) and 3.79 (25th%)
    Stanford- 3.94 and 3.77
    Harvard- 3.94 and 3.73
  • GreybeardGreybeard Posts: 2,355Registered User Senior Member
    Approximately 40% of the people who apply to ABA accredited law schools in a typical year are not admitted anywhere. Of those who graduate from law school (which takes considerable effort), the percentage who pass varies quite a bit from state to state, but is below 80% in many states, and below 70% in at least four. In California, it often drops below 50% for the July administration, and below 40% for the February administration.

    Even Harvard graduates managed only an 84% pass rate in California last July.
  • AmericanskiAmericanski Posts: 683Registered User Member
    Most law schools rank their students based on GPA.

    Sure, and if you don't care what you class rank is, but only want to graduate so you can take the bar, then you wouldn't care about your GPA. The point is that it's very difficult to fail out of law school unless you don't take the exam or really screw up.
    Plus, your GPA does matter to law schools... you can't and expect to get into a Yale, Stanford, or Harvard.

    Uh, great point, since those are the only three law schools in the country.
    Approximately 40% of the people who apply to ABA accredited law schools in a typical year are not admitted anywhere.

    Sure, which is why I qualified what I said with "for an intelligent person." Dumb people and people who put absolutely no effort into it whatsoever aren't going to get in. But a guy at a mediocre undergrad with mediocre grades could decide late in his junior year that he wanted to go to law school, take the LSAT with minimal preparation, get into a crummy school and eventually become a lawyer. Nothing like this could ever, ever work for med school. The process for law school is ridiculously simple by comparision; you could even decide, out of the blue, in September of your senior year, that you wanted to go to law school and have multiple acceptances by December. You're probably not going to be at an Ivy League school, but you could get in somewhere.
    Of those who graduate from law school (which takes considerable effort), the percentage who pass varies quite a bit from state to state, but is below 80% in many states, and below 70% in at least four. In California, it often drops below 50% for the July administration, and below 40% for the February administration.

    Again, merely graduating does not take considerable effort at all. It's a completely different story if you want to graduate at the top of your class, but passing is not difficult. The California bar is by far the most difficult in the country, which is why I singled it out as one that even an intelligent person might fail despite making a serious effort.
    Even Harvard graduates managed only an 84% pass rate in California last July.

    But well over 90% everywhere else. Realistically, the only ones who failed non-California bars either choked badly or (more likely) failed because of hubris.
  • 311Griff311Griff Posts: 1,586Registered User Senior Member
    Uh, great point, since those are the only three law schools in the country.

    Americanski, did you read the OP's questions? The OP was wondering about going to one of these three law schools, and your original answer was misleading since you said that getting good grades is not important to get into law school. I corrected the misleading information with the truth about getting into the three law schools that the OP wondered about.
  • GreybeardGreybeard Posts: 2,355Registered User Senior Member
    "The point is that it's very difficult to fail out of law school unless you don't take the exam or really screw up."

    The cumulative attrition rate for students at ABA-accredited law schools generally ranges from 11% to 13%. Not all of them are forced to leave, but many of them are. Those who take the attitude that "merely graduating does not take considerable effort at all" are well represented among them.

    It's easier to become a lawyer than it is to become a physician. To advise a 16-year-old like the OP that it's "laughably simple" to become a lawyer is irresponsible and misleading. There are a number of gating mechanisms along the way that have a considerable cummulative effect. Two thirds of all who enter college fail to achieve the bachelor's degree. A high percentage of people who take the LSAT don't apply anywhere to law school because of low scores. Forty percent of those who apply aren't admitted anywhere. At least eleven percent of those who matriculate don't graduate. Of those who do, a significant percentage fail the bar.

    It takes considerable, sustained effort to become a lawyer.
  • AmericanskiAmericanski Posts: 683Registered User Member
    Very few law students seek to barely scrape by without worrying that they'll finish in the bottom of the class. At a decent school, the attrition rates are negligible and almost entirely a result of personal choice, since any grade below a C is unheard of and even C's are reserved for the truly terrible. The only situation in which I can imagine somebody would slack off this much is if they had a guaranteed job through a family connection that only required that they pass the bar.
    It's easier to become a lawyer than it is to become a physician.

    This is a major, major understatement. The two aren't even comparable. There is no pre-law curriculum and no pre-reqs. Law applicants never have to go through something like organic chemistry. In almost every case, there is no interview for law school and the entire admissions process, as I mentioned, can take just a couple months. Med students kill themselves studying because that's what they need just to pass, not to be in the top of the class. Only someone of absolutely extraordinary intelligence could become a doctor in this country without considerable effort, while it is easily possible for a moderately intelligent person to slack his or her way to a JD.
    There are a number of gating mechanisms along the way that have a considerable cummulative effect.

    Well, ok, but none of them is even close to insurmountable for an intelligent person. Getting a bachelor's degree is certainly not a grueling challenge, especially if you take a soft schedule designed to maximize your GPA. The LSAT is not that difficult and easy enough to learn with any kind of effort. The point is that there is not going to be any point where you can't help but think, "God, this is so hard. I can't believe how difficult this is," while a prospective MD will inevitably feel this way dozens of times in college, the application process and med school.
    Of those who do, a significant percentage fail the bar.

    How many NEVER pass the bar? Plenty fail on the first try but ultimately succeed, often less than a year later. I think the number who never, ever pass is probably fairly low. And that isn't to say that they couldn't pass the bar in a different jurisdiction if they gave it a shot.
  • ihateCAihateCA Posts: 1,656Registered User Senior Member
    Step 1: Go to college.
    Step 2: Kick butt in your classes and get a 4.5.
    Step 3: Kick butt on the LSAT and score a 177.
    Step 4: Apply to Harvard Law. Get in.
    Step 5: Take out a mortgage on your parents' house. You'll need about $170k.
    Step 6: Go to law school.
    Step 7: Kick butt in Harvard Law.
    Step 8: Make Law review, moot court, etc.
    Step 9: Graduate.
    Step 10: Kick butt on the bar and pass with a perfect score.
    Step 11: Get a job at a big law firm.
    Step 12: Work your butt off and make tons of money.
  • AmericanskiAmericanski Posts: 683Registered User Member
    ^Those steps are a little out of order, since somebody at HLS is almost certainly going to have an offer from a major firm well before they graduate, especially if they made law review (which certainly isn't necessary).
  • ihateCAihateCA Posts: 1,656Registered User Senior Member
    oh, sorry. it's
    Step 9: Summer for a big law firm. Get full-time offer.
    Step 10: Graduate.
    Step 11: Kick butt on the bar and pass with a perfect score.
    Step 12: Work your butt off, make tons of money, and buy a 30000sq ft palacial compound in Greenwich, CT. Oh, and have a nice life.
  • hazmathazmat Posts: 8,435User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    You forget the part about losing all morals and ethical standards......and I wanna be one too.
  • ihateCAihateCA Posts: 1,656Registered User Senior Member
    Ya. That comes with Step 12, where you make tons of money and buy a $20mil house while kids in Somalia are starving.

    I used to want to be a lawyer, but now I gave up on that because investment bankers and lawyers to basically the same thing and investment bankers make a lot more money.
«1
Sign In or Register to comment.