Patent Attorney Career Description


If you are studying law or considering becoming a lawyer, and you have an interest in science and technology, you may want to consider pursuing a career as a patent attorney. The following is a brief description of the common responsibilities and tasks of a patent lawyer.

What is a patent attorney?

Patent attorneys specialize in the area of law that governs patents, the formal documents that provide proof of ownership for inventions, trademarks, and other types of intellectual property. A patent attorney helps clients obtain patents and defend them in the event that an individual or company infringes on their patents.

Primary responsibilities

Patent attorneys help their clients to understand patent law and how it applies to their particular circumstances. They also manage patents for their clients and take action against any misuse of their clients’ intellectual property.

Education requirements

A four-year degree from an accredited college or university is needed before you can apply to law school. Taking courses that emphasize communication skills, such as writing and public speaking, as well as history and political science classes can boost your chances of being accepted to a top law school.

Attendance at a three-year legal school is a must; you will need to complete all course requirements and pass the L1 and Multistate Professional Responsibility exams, as well as receive a positive determination of moral character, before you receive your law degree.

American Bar Association requirements

In order to practice as a patent attorney in a given state, you must pass that state’s bar exam – a 2-day comprehensive exam that is designed to demonstrate your theoretical and practical knowledge of the law – after receiving your Juris Doctor degree.

Employment opportunities

Patent lawyers may represent numerous individual and/or corporate clients; they may also be hired to work “in-house” for a larger corporation, exclusively representing one particular company’s interests. Employment outlook for patent attorneys is expected to increase in line with the average for other career types in the next decade.


Attorney Career Information – Tax Attorney


If you are good with numbers, have excellent oral and written communication skills, and enjoy helping others, you may want to consider a career as a tax attorney. The following is a brief overview of this challenging career field.

What does a tax attorney do?

Tax law is a highly specialized field that is focused on helping individuals and business with their tax issues. A tax attorney may assist you if you have problems with the IRS, and they may advise you on how to avoid tax problems in your business or personal finances. Many small business rely heavily on a tax attorney to head off audits or other tax complications and to help them resolve them if they do occur.

Characteristics of a successful tax attorney

Attorneys of all types should be excellent communicators, with strong verbal skills and the ability to think critically, analyze an issue, and determine the best solution. They should be attentive to detail, willing to work long hours, and good at listening to the needs of their clients.  In addition to these characteristics, a tax attorney should have a thorough knowledge of tax law.

Preparing for an attorney career

Many of those who plan for a career as a tax attorney choose to major in accounting for their undergraduate degree. Once you have completed your baccalaureate, you will need to apply to law school.  In order to be accepted to study law, you will need to pass the LSAT, the Law School Acceptance Test.

Because space in legal programs is limited, and there are a tremendous number of applicants each year, getting into law school is challenging. You can increase your chances for acceptance by taking part in an internship in a law firm, working for an accounting business, and making sure you have a well-rounded resume – be sure that you can list participation on a sports team, in community service, or in other extracurricular activities as well as maintaining a high GPA.

Once you have completed your legal studies, you must sit for the bar exam and be accepted to your state bar before you can begin practicing as a tax attorney.

Work environment

Tax attorneys typically work in offices, libraries, or at their clients’ places of business, as well as in the courtroom.   An attorney will spend time consulting with clients, doing legal research, drafting legal documents, and arguing cases in court.  Long hours and an irregular schedule are inherent in a career in the legal field.  In addition to working on specific cases, tax attorneys need to be up-to-date on recent court decisions and changes in the federal tax code.

Career outlook

While the legal field is highly competitive, skilled and knowledgeable tax attorneys are in constant demand. An entry-level tax attorney may earn $80,000 or more per year, while an experienced attorney can expect to make well over $120,000 annually.

Law School Admissions Advice: What You Need to Know to Succeed


If your dream is to become a lawyer, your first step, of course, is to get into law school. With only 200 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association nationwide, competition for acceptance is stiff; while applications have risen dramatically in the last several years, the number of students acceptance to most law schools have remained the same.  In order to get into a quality law school, you will need to distinguish yourself from the other applicants and demonstrate why the school of your choice should choose you over the competition.  Some of the important things you need to know about law school admissions are discussed here.

Qualifications for law school

Most law schools require that you have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While there is no set undergraduate program for prospective law students, and individuals from a wide variety of fields have been accepted to law school, the majority of law school applicants have majored in either history, political science, English, engineering or science.  You may also decide to enroll in law school after you have worked for several years and gained some practical experience on the job.

Where to apply to law school

Getting into law school is tough, and even if you are at the top of your class in college, you may find getting into the school of your choice is tougher than you anticipated. While you may have a preferred law school in mind, it is a good idea to apply to several colleges to increases your chances of acceptance.  You should research all schools where you plan to apply thoroughly in order to make the best decision about where to apply, and which school to attend if you are accepted at more than one.

Law school entrance requirements

Besides having a four-year degree and an attractive resume, you will need to pass a standardized exam known as the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) before you can be accepted at any law school. This exam covers analytical and reasoning skills, reading comprehension, and writing ability.  Your LSAT score, along with your GPA, are weighed heavily when it comes to the decision-making process in the admissions department of most law schools.

Tips for getting into the law school of your choice

Here are some of the things you can do ahead of time to maximize your chances of getting into your preferred law school:

  • Take courses that emphasize public speaking, writing, and communication skills;
  • Keep your GPA up – an outstanding GPA is often a deciding factor for law school acceptance;
  • Participate in extracurricular activities like sports, community service, or political groups – this will make your application more attractive than one that shows only high academic achievement;
  • Take the time to write an outstanding personal essay; this will give you the opportunity to give admissions personnel an idea of who you are as a person, as well as showcasing your writing skills.
  • Work for a law firm. Whether you choose a summer internship or work as an administrative assistant or paralegal in a law firm, you increase your chances of being accepted to a highly regarded law school.

There is no question that getting into law school takes a lot of work. But if you are serious about becoming a lawyer, the effort that you put into making your law school application outstanding is sure to pay off in the end.

Preparing to Earn a Law School Degree

The legal field offers many opportunities for a challenging and rewarding career. If you are thinking about becoming a lawyer, you have some hard work ahead of you, but once you have earned your law degree, all of your efforts will be worth it.  Before you enroll in law school, there are some questions you may have about how to become a practicing attorney.

Do I need a university or college degree to enroll in law school?

Prospective legal students have typically earned a baccalaureate degree from a four-year college or university; while some students enter law school directly after completing their undergraduate work, many individuals enroll in law school much later, after they have worked for a number of years in another field.

There is no specific recommended degree or course of study required by the American Bar Association for entering law school; the legal profession is filled with people from all walks of life, with many different backgrounds.

Where can I find the best law school programs?

The American Bar Association accredits 200 law schools in the United States. An online search can help you find the law school that best meets your needs, whether you are interested in studying locally or you are willing to relocate while you work on your degree.

What are the characteristics of a good attorney?

A successful lawyer possesses excellent analytical and problem-solving skills. He or she should be able to think critically and analyze complex situations; strong reading and comprehension skills are a must.  You must be able to express yourself clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing, and you should have good listening skills.  In addition, you should be well-organized and able to work long hours whenever necessary.

How long does it take to become a lawyer?

It takes approximately three years to earn the Juris Doctor degree – the first law degree. Depending on the school you attend, you may be able to take night classes while you work at a full-time job while you complete your coursework.

What are the requirements I will need to fulfill?

In order to be admitted to the bar, you will need to fulfill a number of requirements beyond completing your legal school coursework. First, you will be required to pass the first-year law exam, which is a comprehensive survey designed to ensure that you understand the basics of law as outlined in the first-year syllabus.

Second, you will need to receive a positive determination of moral character, which includes a background check and testimony from previous employers and law school faculty. Finally, you will need to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, which is intended to ensure that you understand the professional and ethical responsibilities that come with practicing as an attorney.  Once you have successfully completed your law school degree and passed the required examinations, you will be eligible to sit for your state bar.

If you are analytical, a good communicator, and interested in helping others, a career in the legal field can provide you with the opportunity to make a real difference.

Get a Head Start on your First Year of Legal Studies with an Acclaimed Law School Prep Course

If you have been accepted to law school, congratulations! You made it through the first hurdle on your way to becoming a practicing attorney.  Now, you are up for a challenge – the next three years are going to be busy and strenuous.  But you can get a head start on your first year of studies by taking a law school prep course.

Why take law school law school prep classes?

Your first-year law school grades are extremely important – they will impact your remaining studies, as well as the types of jobs you will be offered once you pass your state bar. A law school prep course provides an intensive preview of your first year of legal studies.  You will learn how to prepare for classes, manage your time effectively, and study efficiently; you will also have the opportunity to take real-life law school exams as practice.

What college courses best prepare you for law school?

If you are considering enrolling in law school after you earn your baccalaureate, you may want to consider adding some courses that will help you both get into law school and prepare you for the work you will be doing once you get there. Courses that bolster your writing, speech and communication skills are an excellent choice; political science, history, and business courses are also among the best courses to prepare for law school.

What to look for in a law school prep course

Look for a law school which focuses on preparing you for your L1 exam. This exam is one of the most important you will face before completing your law degree.  In addition, a prep course should introduce you to legal writing, which will be an important part of your law school coursework.  Whether you take your prep course online or in person, make sure the course offers feedback and critiques from real law professors.

Where you get hired once you complete law school and pass the bar depends a great deal on where you place in your class. If you are hoping to be hired by a prestigious law firm, taking a law school prep course can help you boost your law school test scores – which form the sole basis for your grades in most institutions – and get a leg up on the competition.  Look for a quality law school prep course online to help you jump-start your career as a practicing attorney.

Can I Go Straight from Law School into a Top MBA Program?


In the business world, understanding the law is a tremendous asset. Top managers often study the law in order to understand its applications their type of business, so that they can make better-informed decisions about their companies.  Whether you are a business major or a manager thinking about furthering your career, you may be considering earning an MBA (Masters in Business Administration).  A degree from an accredited law school can help you get into a top MBA program and increase your chances of landing the job you have been dreaming of.

Why earn an MBA after law school?

In today’s difficult job market, it is more important than ever to increase your marketability and improve your prospects of getting the job you want. Over 80% of business executives stress that a graduate degree in business administration is a must for those looking for the top management positions.  Companies are more likely to hire applicants who have earned an MBA; in fact, many businesses recruit students who are still working on their MBAs, in order to ensure that they have the best talent working for their company.

Getting into a top MBA Program

With increasing numbers of individuals looking to tighten up their resumes and improve their employment prospects, getting into a highly-rated MBA program means standing out from the competition. Before you can be considered for acceptance to a business school graduate program, you will need to pass the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) with a score of 600 or higher.

In addition, you will need to show an impressive resume; this can mean highlighting your work experience, pointing out your major accomplishments, or demonstrating an impressive academic record. Law students and law school graduates often have an edge over other applicants, as the skills they have acquired in law school are readily transferrable to an MBA program.

MBA degree requirements

In order to earn your MBA, you will need to complete 18 courses (54 credits), which will be specified by your program. Coursework will include classes in economics, finance, accounting, managerial statistics, computing, and mathematics.  Business law and ethics courses are also required by many MBA programs, along with numerous elective courses that will allow you to focus in a specific area of management, if you wish.

Will an MBA help you get into law school?

Having a law school degree can be extremely helpful when applying to the top business schools; conversely, having an MBA can help you get into law school. MBA programs often include courses in business law, ethics and professional standards; knowledge in these areas will help you to stand out from the competition when applying to the top law schools in the country.

Online Law Schools and Online Juris Doctor Degrees


For those who thrive on challenging, meaningful work, a career in the legal field can be enormously rewarding. If you have considered becoming a lawyer, but do not live close enough to an ABA accredited law school, studying law may not seem feasible.  However, the State Bar of California allows students who have completed the required coursework through distance learning to sit for the bar exam.  If you live in California, or you are willing to relocate for at least a few years, online law schools and online Juris Doctor Degrees can put you on the path to a fulfilling career.   In order to earn a law school degree online, you will need to follow the steps listed here.

  1. Complete your pre-law studies, either through an accredited online university or a traditional 4-year college. While most law students have previously earned at least a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university, the state of California permits students who have completed 60 credit hours (two full years) of college coursework to register to study law.
  2. Locate an online law school that meets the standards set by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. Online law school programs that meet the criteria of the Committee are eligible to register as approved law school distance education programs. Choosing an internet law school that is approved by the Committee will ensure that your online law degree meets California standards.
  3. Register as a law student in California. The State Bar of California requires that all first-year law students register with the bar within their first 90 days of law school. Once you are registered, you will receive an identification number that will be used for all subsequent correspondence and required exams.
  4. Take the First-Year Law Student’s Examination. This is a four-hour exam that is designed to ensure that you are familiar with the basics of law taught in the first year of legal study. You must pass this exam before you will be able to continue with your legal studies.
  5. Prove that you have “good moral character.” All law students in California must receive a positive determination of moral character, which includes a background check, driving history, credit check, and positive feedback from employers and academic institutions. You will need to apply for a moral character determination, and the process may take from four to six months to complete.
  6. Complete your legal studies and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam. The purpose of this exam is to determine whether you understand the professional and ethical responsibilities of a lawyer. Once you have passed this exam and completed your coursework, you will be eligible to sit for the bar exam.
  7. Pass the California State Bar Exam. You will need to arrange to take this exam in person. Once you pass this three-day exam, you will be qualified to practice law in California; you may also practice in federal courts throughout the country.  If you intend to practice law in any other state, you will need to work as an attorney in California for approximately five years before you will be eligible to take any other state bar exam.

Law School Online Courses Information

Here’s what you need to know about online law schools and how you can become a lawyer through distance learning.

Online law schools are not accredited by the American Bar Association.

However, this does not mean that earning a law degree online will not permit you to practice law. Although 49 states require that students earn their degrees from an ABA-accredited law school, the state of California allows graduates of internet law school courses to sit for the bar exam.  If you choose to earn a law degree online, you will need to either live in California or be prepared to move there, at least temporarily.

Requirements for taking the bar exam in California.

In order to be eligible to take the California bar exam, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Complete a pre-law degree, or at minimum, successfully complete 60 credit hours of college coursework and maintain at least the minimum GPA required for graduation.
  • Register in California as a law student. You can obtain the registration form online.
  • Enroll in an online law school that meets the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California, which include 864 hours of class work and study annually.
  • Successfully complete all coursework and required law examinations.
  • Obtain a positive determination of moral character.

Once you have earned your online law degree, you may apply to take the California bar exam. This three-day examination will test your knowledge of both theoretical and practical applications of law.

Practicing law in other states after passing the California bar

If you have earned a legal degree from an online law school, you will not be eligible to take the bar exam in any other state, at least not immediately. However, you may practice in federal court throughout the United States.  If you wish to practice in any other state after passing the California bar, you must work as a practicing attorney for at least five years in California before you may be eligible to sit for another state bar exam.

Keep in mind that, although online law schools may offer courses that compare with those at traditional law schools, they do not command the same prestige; chances are that you will not be considered for high-level law positions with an online degree. However, if you go into your online legal studies with reasonable expectations and a willingness to work hard, you may have a fulfilling and rewarding career in the field of law.

How Attending the Best Online Law School can Help You Become a Practicing Attorney

If you have thought about becoming an attorney, but you are concerned about the cost or time required to attend a traditional law school, an internet law school may be the answer you have been looking for. The best online law school can help you earn your law degree and become a practicing attorney.  There are several things you should know about online law schools before you decide to enroll.

Online law school accreditation

Although the best online law schools offer the same type of coursework you will find at conventional law schools, there are currently no distance learning schools accredited by the American Bar Association. Because all states except California require that prospective attorneys attend an ABA accredited law school in order to sit for the bar exam, you will not be eligible to sit for the bar if you attend an online school, unless you choose to practice law in California.

However, this does not mean that it is not worth your while to study law online. If you become a practicing attorney in California, you will have a few options for taking the bar in another state; many people also choose to study the law online in order to improve their abilities in business or industry management.

Requirements for enrolling in an online law school

Most students who enroll in online law schools have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another subject area. However, because California permits those who have successfully completed a minimum of 60 credit hours at a 2- or 4-year college or university, you may be able to enroll in an internet law school as long as you can document that you have two full years of college coursework behind you.

Once you enroll in an online legal program, you will need to register in the state of California as a law student; you can obtain the necessary paperwork online and submit it via email.

What you need to know about taking the bar exam

Before you can take the bar exam in California, you must complete all required coursework, as well as pass the required legal examinations and a moral character evaluation. Once you have earned your online legal degree, you may apply to sit for the bar in California.  Keep in mind that, although all other work can be completed online, you will need to appear in person to take the bar exam.

Becoming a practicing lawyer after attending an online law school

Once you pass the California bar, you will be eligible to practice in the state of California. You may also practice law in any federal court in the United States.  In order to become eligible to sit for another state bar, however, you will need to practice in California for five to seven years.

While obtaining a legal degree online may not be the best option for every aspiring attorney, studying the law via distance learning can be the perfect opportunity for the right person.


What Education Do You Need to Become a Lawyer?


Becoming a lawyer requires a lot of time and dedication to the study and practice of law in our society. Students must go through at least seven years of college-level classes and several difficult examinations before they’re able to practice law – so deciding whether or not to go to law school is a big deal.

In order to get into a law school, students must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in a field that’s somewhat related to the study and implementation of law – including anything from English and history to government and sociology.

Education and Training for Lawyers

One of the primary things that law schools tend to focus on is getting students into the program that can think critically and understand a broad range of subjects.

If you plan to specialize in a particular field of law, be sure to take plenty of undergraduate courses in that area so that you’ll better understand the subject you’re planning to pursue as a lawyer. This will also give you a chance to evaluate whether the specialty you had in mind is a good fit for you or not.

For example, if you’re planning to focus on medical malpractice law but find that medical descriptions make you queasy, you may need to choose a different field! Pursuing these extra courses will also help improve your research skills, which are essential to becoming a successful lawyer.

When you first enter law school, you may be overwhelmed by the intensity of the experience. This is especially true in the first year and a half of the three year program.  It often takes awhile for students to find their foothold and understand what exactly is going on around them – learning to balance the extreme amount of bookwork and research required of law students and the interaction of a social life is an important skill that all lawyers must learn.

It can be difficult for lawyers to spend all day looking into legal briefs and past decisions for their clients, and then go home and live outside of that realm. This constant need to balance work and home life is something that the tremendous pressure of law school tries to put into perspective from the very beginning.

Another important part of your law school experience is a clerkship or internship with a firm or agency in your field of specialization. This experience will give you the chance to learn – hands-on – about what goes on every day in a functioning law firm.  In addition to gaining real-world experience, you’ll also find that many top law firms value this outside experience and consider it strongly when looking to recruit candidates right out of school.

Once you graduate, you’ll need to take the bar exam in order to become licensed to practice law in your state. If you plan to practice in more than one state, you may need to pass the bar in each state in which you’d like to be eligible to practice law.  Depending on the field you plan to specialize in, you may need to pass a separate ethics exam as well – this is something you should check into with the licensing board in your state.  Once you’ve gained your license, it’s important to work to keep it.  Almost every state will require you to take a certain number of continuing education courses each year in order to maintain your licensed status.

Tips for Getting Into Law School

Sure – we can’t all go to Harvard Law, but if you’ve decided that you want to become a lawyer, you’re probably already aware of how much hangs on your ability to get into one of the top ranked law schools. Getting into law school is a highly competitive affair, so it’s important to make sure you’ve done everything possible to get into one of the best law schools available to you. During the law school admissions process, law schools look at the applicant’s grades in their undergraduate courses, as well as their record of public service and LSAT scores.

Unlike medical students, there’s rarely an established “pre-law” major for students to take. Instead, it’s recommended that students focus their course load on classes in sociology, English, history, economics, and government to increase their chances of making it into a good law school.  It also helps to know which area of law interests you the most, as it will be to your benefit to take several classes in your potential specialty.

For example, if you want to become a tax attorney, consider taking some accounting classes to make yourself more attractive to law schools with specialized programs in your area of expertise.

When considering law school rankings, be sure to check into their American Bar Association (ABA) standing.

It’s important to attend a school that’s been approved by the ABA, since some firms will refuse to hire you if your school doesn’t meet this criteria. In addition, you can check out one of the many law school rankings online to see which schools rank where on the list.

If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to get into a top-tier institution like Harvard or Yale, you’ll be able to find plenty of good third- and fourth-tier schools that may be perfect for you.

Getting into a prestigious law school is an important part of becoming a lawyer and the competition to get into such schools is fierce. There are always more applicants than there are available spots, so it’s important to have everything in order before you apply.  Any small oversight or slip-up could take a full school year to be corrected through the Law School Admission Council, leading to a longer wait before you can reapply to the school.

Once an applicant has been accepted into law school, the hard work truly begins. The first year and a half of schooling is intense and most students drop out during this time. The core classes of legal education are taught during this time, and students must use their extra hours to begin choosing the fields in which they want to specialize.  During the last half of law school, students must study classes in their field or specialty to prepare them for life in the field.  Although the educational process can be intense, it’s worth it if you’re passionate about bringing about justice and change through the legal system.

Can I Earn My Law Degree Going to Law School Part Time?

If you are dreaming of becoming a lawyer, but you are already committed to a full-time job or have family obligations, attending law school may seem out of reach. Attending law school full time is an enormous time commitment, and you may feel that you cannot afford to put your other obligations on hold in order to pursue a law degree.  The good news is that there are a number of accredited law schools that offer part-time programs, spreading the traditional three-year course over four years or more.

Is part time law school right for me?

If you have the time and the resources to attend law school full time, then this is the recommended course to pursue. However, if you already have a career and a family, part time law schools are an excellent choice for achieving your goal of becoming a lawyer.  Although they are not held in such high regard as some of the most prestigious law schools, you can still get a quality education that will put you on the right path to a successful career as an attorney.

Will law school evening night classes provide me with the same quality education as full time law school?

While fewer than one half of the law schools accredited by the American Bar Association offer part-time Juris Doctor programs, you will be taught the same course curriculum as the full-time students attending your institution. The difference is that you will be able to spread your coursework out over four years, rather than the usual three, in order to complete your legal degree.  Part-time law school programs enable many individuals with full-time jobs and families to complete a law degree and pursue their dreams of becoming an attorney.

How are part time law school rankings determined?

Part-time law schools are ranked based on the weighted averages of four different quality measures. These include quality assessment, which is determined by a panel of faculty members; selectivity, based on LSAT scores and GPAs of students attending the school; part-time focus, which takes into account the percentage of students enrolled on a part-time basis; and an overall ranking.

What are the drawbacks of attending an evening law school program?

While evening or weekend law school works best for many law students, there are a couple of disadvantages you may face. First, studying law, even on a part time basis, requires a huge time commitment; if you are also working full time, you will find that you have little time left over for yourself.  Second, while full-time law students may have the opportunity to attend clinics, participate in internships, or take advantage of other educational opportunities, you may not have the chance to do the same.

With that said, if part-time law school is the best option for you, earning your legal degree can lead to a rewarding and challenging career.

How Long Will I Spend in Law School?

A law degree can lead you down a variety of stimulating career paths. Obviously, you could use it to practice law in a law firm, as in-house council for a corporation, or for a nonprofit organization. However, a law degree could also enable you to work for a publisher of legal works, as a researcher or writer within the court system, as a policy planner or even as a lobbyist. From start (beginning undergraduate studies) to finish (graduation from law school), most students can expect to spend seven years pursuing their law degree.

A bachelor’s degree is essential before you can enter law school. Most students spend four years of full time study obtaining their bachelor’s degree, though some finish in as few as three and others take longer. While your undergraduate degree may be in any field of interest to you, many law schools like to see evidence of a broad college education. For example, at Harvard Law, the admissions committee advises that programs approaching subjects on a theoretical level (philosophy, for example) tend to serve future law students better than those that emphasize only the practical (biology, for example).

Your undergraduate GPA will be a factor in your success at gaining entry into law school. In general, a GPA of 3.5 or above will be viewed favorably. Your LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) scores are also important. As with GPA, higher scores generally equate to better law school options.

While earning your undergraduate degree, it is important to cultivate relationships with your professors. You will need to submit letters of recommendation along with your law school applications. At least one academic recommendation is preferred, though letters from employers will also be accepted. The writers of your letters of recommendation should be professionals who can candidly evaluate your motivation and potential success as a law student.

You will also need to submit a personal statement (two pages or less, single spaced, is often requested) with your law school application. The personal statement is your opportunity to present your background, ideas and accomplishments. Use it to give the admissions committee a sense of your personality, values, and why you are interested in the law. Your statement should be unique, creative and eloquent.

Once you’ve completed your undergraduate degree and have been accepted into law school, you can expect to spend three years completing law coursework full time. Some schools offer spring, summer and fall semesters, enabling students to complete their law degree in two and a half years. Others will allow students to attend part time and take up to four years to earn their degree. Upon graduation, students who wish to practice law will need to pass the bar examination. Some students find a bar review course helpful, while others devote themselves to full time study before the examination.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of lawyers is forecast to increase 13 percent by 2018, though job competition could be intense due to the large number of new law school graduates expected each year. Set yourself up for success by doing well in your undergraduate courses, your law school courses and on the bar examination.

Thinking about a Career as an Attorney?


Find out more about how you can get started on this challenging and exciting career path.

What does an attorney do?

An attorney holds a position of enormous responsibility. The law affects nearly every aspect of our lives, and the job of an attorney is to advise or advocate for his or her clients and help them through the intricacies of the legal system.

Attorneys specialized in many different areas, from criminal defense to bankruptcy to corporate and tax law. They advise their clients regarding their legal rights and obligations, represent them in court, and conduct the necessary research applying to specific cases on which they are working.

An attorney should possess excellent communication skills and have the ability to express him or herself clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing. Lawyers should be able to listen carefully to their clients in order to understand their needs, and they should be able to analyze a situation and come up with the best possible solution from their clients’ perspectives.

Can my job experience help me get into law school?

Many professionals spend several years in the work force before entering law school. Whether you have been working as a teacher, business manager, accountant, engineer, or in a variety of other professions, your working knowledge of the world can be a plus when applying to law school.  As you fill out the necessary paperwork, write your admissions essays, and interview with admissions personnel, be sure to emphasize the edge that your real-life experience will provide in your future career as a lawyer.

What are the requirements for becoming an attorney?

In every state except California, you will need to complete at least a four-year college degree before you are eligible to apply to law school (California requires a minimum of 60 credit hours and the minimum GPA needed to graduate).

You will also need to pass the LSAT – the Law School Acceptance Test – a standardized test that evaluates your reading, writing and problem-solving skills. Once you are accepted to law school, you will need to complete all necessary coursework and pass two major examinations – the First-Year Law (L1) exam and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam.

After you have completed all these requirements, you will be eligible to sit for your state bar. Passing this two-day, comprehensive legal exam will qualify you to practice as an attorney.

How much can I earn as an attorney?

The salaries for attorneys are fairly wide-ranging. Entry level attorneys and public defenders typically earn far less than experience lawyers working for prestigious law firms.  You can expect to make about $50,000 to start, but depending on where your career leads you, you could end up making anywhere from $150,000 to over $200,000 per year.

Keep in mind that working as an attorney is extremely challenging, and you will be working long and often irregular hours. While the salary of a lawyer is attractive to many individuals, the work is not for everyone, so if you are considering becoming an attorney, you will want to be sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

Working as an Attorney

Ask any ten children what they want to be when they grow up and you’re almost guaranteed to find one who wants to be a lawyer. However, few of them understand what this profession actually entails.

The truth is that being a lawyer isn’t always as glamorous a career as television shows and movies make it out to be. Being a lawyer isn’t all courtroom trials and criminal investigations – in fact, a lawyer’s duties can vary widely, depending on what branch of law they choose to specialize in.

Working as a Lawyer

It’s important to remember that even though there are a lot of lawyers working today, the market won’t likely be flooded any time soon. This is because every facet of modern life requires legal maneuvering – so there are quite a few different areas that lawyers can specialize in.  For example, there are lawyers who handle nothing but real estate and probate cases.

There may be some instances when these lawyers need to go to court, but more often than not, their duties involve meeting with city and state planning officials and dealing with lots of paperwork.

The majority of lawyers who go into practice do so in private practice, working on either civil or criminal law cases.

For the most part, it’s the criminal law side of legal practice that receives most of the media’s attention. Criminal law practice involves representing those who have been criminally charged by presenting their cases in front of a court and jury.  Some of these lawyers work within large legal firms that dictated which clients they’ll work with; while other criminal lawyers are self-employed and get to choose their clients.  In addition, some lawyers choose to work within a legal aid system that helps out those who cannot afford legal representation.

Civil lawyers focus primarily on lawsuits and other civil matters. Some lawyers in this field choose to work with special interest cases or handle pro bono work in order to make a difference in the way the law is handled or applied.  Other lawyers specialize in handling medical malpractice or worker’s compensation cases, for which they tend to be handsomely rewarded financially.  If you choose to specialize in civil law, the number of different ways that you can specialize is so vast that you’ll have a great deal of flexibility in picking and choosing the field you like most.

Whichever field you choose to specialize in, the one caveat you should be aware of before entering the legal field is that lawyers tend to work long, hard hours. If you enter a private practice after law school, you may find yourself working 60-80 hours/week in order to prove yourself and get higher up on the corporate ladder.  Conversely, if you choose a life of public service, you may not work these killer hours, but you will earn substantially less money.  While this may not be a problem for some people, be sure that any job you take on allows you to cover the student loan expenses you may have incurred during law school.

The job description and duties of a lawyer are so wide-ranging that it’s almost impossible not to find a career that you enjoy and that earns you a good lifestyle. In addition, legal careers allow you to specialize in a niche that’s specifically targeted to your interests.  There aren’t many jobs in the workplace today that offer that kind of flexibility – which is just one of the reasons why so many people strive to become lawyers or pursue one of the many law careers available.

Entry Level Legal Careers – Jobs That Can Help You Jump-Start a Career as an Attorney

If you are considering a career as an attorney, you are most likely going to face a great deal of competition. Even getting into law school is challenging, as thousands of applicants each year vie for a limited number of places in ABA-accredited law schools.  Because your class ranking in law school is a major factor in where you may be hired upon completing your degree, you and your classmates will be striving to get the highest grades.

In this environment, it is best to stand out as much as you can, in order to improve your chances of getting hired by a prestigious law firm. Entry level legal careers or internships can provide you with a fantastic way to distinguish yourself and jump-start your career as a lawyer. In addition, working in a law office can help you form connections in the business and learn about the law on the job.  The following are some brief descriptions of the entry-level jobs you can find in the legal field.

File Clerk

A file clerk is responsible for creating and maintaining a filing system, filing and retrieving records for the paralegals and attorneys in their law office, and for documenting the files that are being kept; if necessary, they will prepare older files for long-term storage.

A legal file clerk should have at least a high school education or the equivalent. Working as a filing clerk requires good communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to follow instructions.  In most cases, a high school education or the equivalent is required to work as a law file clerk.

Working as a file clerk gives you exposure to all aspects of the legal profession and can help you make contact with professionals who can assist you in your legal career.

Court Messenger

Court messengers are hired to pick up and deliver important legal documents, file court papers, and deliver correspondence to third parties. Attorneys often use court messengers when they do not want to trust sensitive documents to conventional delivery methods; court messengers may also run other errands as needed.

In most cases, a high school education is required to work as a court messenger. A job as a messenger in a law firm will familiarize you with the details of legal work, as well as many court processes.  This type of job is ideal for individuals who are planning to enroll in law school, as it allows you to meet a large number of legal professionals.


The vast majority of lawyers assign many of their tasks to a paralegal, or legal assistant. Although a paralegal cannot argue cases in court, represent clients, or give legal advice, he or she is often responsible for many aspects of the casework performed in a legal firm.  Paralegals prepare legal briefs, research the facts on a case, help attorneys prepare for trial, and make sure all relevant laws and statues are considered.  They may even provide assistance in court during a trial.

In order to work as a paralegal, specialized training is required. Many colleges, universities and professional schools offer certification courses in legal assisting; in addition, prospective legal assistance must pass a state-administered exam.

Many paralegals go on to become lawyers; working as a paralegal can be a tremendous opportunity to establish relationships within the legal profession.