Becoming a lawyer is arguably one of the most challenging career paths in the spheres of professional services. Between the long and difficult academic pursuits that one must go through during their time in law school and the seemingly impossible Bar certification exam, it comes as no surprise that this profession is considered to be incredibly difficult to break into. Nevertheless, becoming a lawyer is something that millions of people dream about. For them, the necessary education and certification is just another obstacle that they must overcome.
Fortunately, the current day and age make it possible for experts to share their opinions in a way that will reach thousands of people instantly. In the past, for instance, one would be limited to what they could learn from their professors and mentors. Today, however, successful lawyers that have already reached their goals can explain how to pursue this field to practically anyone willing to listen. One of those lawyers is a criminal defense attorney, Mike G Law. And according to him, there is a clear-cut list of important steps that prospective lawyers should keep in mind while pursuing their passion.
Prioritizing Academic Endeavors
Although everyone who graduates from law school will essentially get the same diploma, grades do matter. According to Mike G, large companies that are looking for law interns who might turn into associates will rule out the candidates with lower grades immediately. The reason why is that the Grade Point Average (GPA) is a perfect indicator of how well someone can balance their responsibilities while achieving results. Thus, having a high GPA is one of the most important factors that will open doors to a series of opportunities within the industry.
Covering Law School Expenses
As an aspiring criminal defense attorney, one will have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on their education. In fact, it is not uncommon for that amount to morph into hundreds of thousands rather quickly. To be able to cover such a mind-blowing amount while still attending courses, aspiring attorneys can look for part-time jobs during their semester and full-time employment during the breaks. Luckily, law firms from around the country are in constant need of interns and paralegals who are compensated for their services.
Additionally, given that interns will usually not be entitled to full packages of benefits, they tend to get overtime pay that is 1.5 times the normal rate. Thus, making anywhere from $35,000 to $40,000 a year as an intern is possible, though rare. Although that type of income is minuscule compared to the compensation of an average Bar-certified attorney with a few years of experience, it is more than enough to help cover some of the early law school costs. This is also where the GPA above will come into play again as students with high grades are very likely to get scholarships and grants.
Choosing a Practice Area
Once the student reaches a certain point of their law-school career, it is time for them to figure out what particular area of law they are interested in. For instance, Mike G chose to pursue criminal defense as his specialty. Other common choices range from broad demographic-based options like elderly law all the way to specialized routes like contract law. Regardless, figuring out how to differentiate oneself from the competition and discovering the perfect fit for their set of skills will be the easiest way to choose the right practice.
Selecting a Market
Additionally, this is the time when the student will normally start their recruiting process and begin interacting with large law firms that operate anywhere from New York City and Los Angeles to Houston and Tampa. In other words, the vast majority of law schools around the nation are plugged into the system of recruiting that involves companies from all over the place.
Therefore, this is when the student should generally choose if they are more likely to thrive in a fast-paced environment like that of New York City or a more relaxed market like Tampa. Regardless of their choice, however, it does not mean that they will be stuck with that particular location permanently. After all, one of the benefits of being an attorney is the fact that there is a lot of flexibility that can be utilized to relocate or switch practice areas.