How long does it take to study law in the US?
If a person chooses to become a lawyer, there are a plethora of things to consider. This includes the question of what kind of lawyer do you hope to become. Will you be an environmental lawyer, looking to save the earth? Or will you consider becoming a criminal defense lawyer, because you enjoyed all of those courtroom TV shows when you were younger? There is also family law, property law, and personal injury law.
Education-wise, most people earn a bachelor’s degree first, and then move on to law school. Curiously enough, you don’t need a bachelor’s in law, per se, just as long as you acquire it. Then there is the LSAT, or Law School Admission Test. It varies from one state to another, and most people study and prepare for it during their college years, not wanting to take any additional time in prepping.
How long will it take depends on you and the state in which you decide to practice law. Different states have different requirements. For example, Californian LSAT has four sections: Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, Logical Reasoning, and the Essay Section. On the other hand, in Colorado, LSAT is a comprehensive test that requires you to have some mastery of thinking critically and organizing and managing information. The bottom line is – do your research on the state you choose as the headquarters of your new education and career. Each state has clear criteria, as well as preparation courses.
A full-time student in law school may hope to graduate in three years’ time. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to choose a school accredited by the American Bar Association. After this ordeal there is your penultimate hurdle: the State Bar Exam. Again, the format of the exam depends on the state. A lawyer from Texas needs to take the exam again, should they choose to practice law in North Carolina. The final obstacle on your way to become a lawyer is being accepted into the bar. This begs a background check on your finance, fitness, and criminal history. This could take several months.
Because we hate the unfortunately truthful answer (“it depends”), we will settle for adding the time of each step that must be taken together, provided there are no unpredictable incidents. Let us presume you will get your bachelor’s degree in four years, and that you will graduate from law school in three years. Given the time it might take you to prepare and pass the LSAT and the State Bar Exam, it may be safe to say that it will take you a minimum of eight years before you can call yourself a lawyer. We wish you the best of luck.