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How many years do you need to go to school to be a lawyer?

Wayne Cohen, Lawyer, Answers

Wayne Cohen LawyerInterested in law? You may be asking, “how many years do you need to go to school to be a lawyer?” Wayne Cohen, experienced lawyer in DC, explains in this post the relative time it takes to become a practicing lawyer. There a few factors beside school to take into consideration when asking, “how long does it take to become a lawyer?” The simple answer to, “how many years do you need to go to school to be a lawyer?” is a total of 7-8 years of school. First, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree, which typically takes about four years. After that is accomplished the next step is go to a law school for 2-4 years for a Juris Doctor, or J.D. degree. Once both of these degrees have been satisfied many people go on to study in a specific field of law, such as criminal law or civil law. However there are many other areas of law such as environmental law, international law, tax law, or bankruptcy law that are also popular career fields for practicing lawyers.

All of this adds up to 8-12 years of school, depending on the field in which one chooses to pursue. After all the schooling is said and done, in order to become a practicing lawyer in any US state, one must pass a Bar exam to be licensed. This is a rigorous test meant to weed out those who have not grasped the entirety of what is needed to effectively practice law. The bar exam can differ from state to state, however most people end up taking the Multistate Bar exam, which covers most of the USA. Once the bar exam has been passed, a license to practice law is received and one can start working in their state. Although passing the bar exam is the ultimate test, school indeed plays the longer role when wondering, “how long does it take to become a lawyer?”

When wondering, “how many years do you need to go to school to be a lawyer?” the answer may be intimidating, but the reward can be enticing. The income potential for a lawyer is good, and expected to get better according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics who predicted the salary for a lawyer would increase 10% from 2012 to 2022. Much of a lawyer’s earning potential is based on how long they have been practicing. Lawyers who have been practicing for more than 5-8 years can earn $150,000 or more, whereas a lawyer who has only been working for 2 years can expect to make around $80,000. With the salary almost doubling every four years, the potential for earnings for a successful lawyer can be very high in the long run. If you are considering becoming a lawyer don’t focus on the question, “how long do you need to go to school to be a lawyer?” but instead think of the rewarding and fulfilling career that comes with being a practicing lawyer. Don’t let the question, “how long does it take to become a lawyer?” discourage you from pursuing a highly lucrative and fulfilling career, much like Wayne Cohen, attorney in DC.


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