Becoming an Attorney without Going to Law School. Another advantage of taking this route to become a lawyer is the ability to gain hands-on experience in the community in which you plan to work. I also took the bar and passed it only to one day never step foot into a courtroom again. Related: 16 Top Political Science Degree Jobs. In Virginia, Vermont, Washington and California, aspiring lawyers can study for the bar without ever setting foot into or paying a law school. Such study may not even be recognized by other states or jurisdictions as proper qualification for taking their bar examinations. It is still possible to study the law and sit for the bar exam without attending law school. But becoming a lawyer without going to law school is not necessarily a pipe dream. Applying to law school is a long process. At least two years of study at a law school is required, and then one year of law office study. Law office study remains very rare. In the early days of the United States, people who were interested in pursuing a career in law often worked as apprentices under established lawyers. Selective, expensive and competitive, law school can seem a formidable barrier to the practice of law. You have watched Suits, Law and Order, and How to Get Away with Murder. Finally, the reality is that it's hard to pass the bar exam without at least some law school experience. None of these states have residential requirements, but they all have an apprenticeship requirement. Join Slate Plus to continue reading, and you’ll get unlimited access to all our work—and support Slate’s independent journalism. The other 23 states issue their own bar exams, although they are similar in content and format to the UBE. Therefore, the lack of an undergraduate degree might limit a student's career options. In this article, we discuss whether you can take the bar exam without going to law school and potential ways to become a lawyer that do not involve completing the J.D. July 28, 2020 7:07 am The bar exam is a ritual, a rite of passage and a way to find out if individuals have mastered the skills necessary to be a practicing lawyer. The bar exam is a test that every aspiring lawyer must take to practice law. Some clients may be hesitant to hire a lawyer who has not attended law school, which could make it more difficult to find a job. Law office readers comprised only 60 of the 83,986 people who took state and multi-state bar exams last year, according to the New York Times. Everyone who takes the bar exam must also pay the fee to do so, as well as the registration fee required to practice law in their state. Law office study for three years, each year consisting of at least 40 weeks, with a minimum of 25 hours of study each week. You may have to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) nearly a year before starting law school. One of the drawbacks of taking the bar exam without completing law school is the risk of not passing. It’s risky to spend years as a legal apprentice if you never manage to pass the bar exam. Study time must equate to at least 18 hours per week, 5 hours of which the reader must be under the direct supervision of their supervising attorney. Deciding this is the best way for you personally to go about becoming a lawyer; working for a practicing attorney will provide real experience that you would not get in law school. Law school is an expensive educational program that is often financed through student loans, which must be paid back upon completion of the degree. The supervising lawyer must have a specific level of experience, which varies by state, but could be between three and 10 years. In law school, students take courses and earn a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) The pass rate for legal apprentices is approximately one-third the rate of those who have completed law school, so it is important to prepare as much as possible. A small minority of the thousands of people who take state bar exams each year to practice law don’t have a law degree and haven’t even stepped foot in a … For anyone assuming this is the easy way out, it's not. You’ve run out of free articles. Add to that a saturated job market, cut-throat competition, and a changing legal industry, and you might wonder if you can even secure a job after you've graduated and passed the bar. This is an applicant's official request to participate in the Law Office Study Program (LOSP), and can be found on the California Bar's website. degree. Go to www.calbar.org to get details. For more advice on this topic, check out Parenting in Law School: Surviving your 1L Year While Raising a Family , which contains equally sage advice for those of you taking care of family members after the first year. California law readers are also required to take monthly exams, complete a Baby Bar Ex… This type of apprenticeship also usually requires participants to complete a set number of study hours. A legal apprenticeship may be able to substitute for one or two years or school. The information on this site is provided as a courtesy. In some states, you can take the bar exam without going to law school. Even if you chose a great lawyer to help you learn (and he was willing, which he may well not be), he probably specializes in just a few areas, some of which may not be tested on the bar exam (for example, labor law), which is going to make it harder for him to instruct you in other areas that are very important for passing the bar. See Also: How to Improve Your Handwriting. There are some exceptions. Apprentices typically must work a certain number of hours every week for a set period, working under the supervision of a practicing lawyer. 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