According to Canterbury Law Group, every day in the US, 2,400 people file for divorce. Family law is a particular area that needs to be understood deeply. Social pressures, personal feelings, and legal liabilities are very serious determinants when dealing with divorce, separation, and custody.
While no divorce is necessarily alike, one thing they all have in common is that they are emotionally charged and time-consuming. Experienced divorce attorneys at Jensen Family Law can provide an objective perspective on your divorce situation. Are you passionate about family law and related litigation? Read to learn how long you need to be a family lawyer.
To Become a Family Lawyer, How Long Do You Need?
It takes about seven years to become a family lawyer. You will undertake an undergraduate course in the first four years and be in law school for the next three years.
What’s the Process of Becoming a Family Lawyer?
Becoming a family law lawyer is long and arduous, but it’s one of the most rewarding careers you can pursue.
Get an Undergraduate Degree
You’ll need to get an undergraduate degree in some area that will serve as your foundation for studying law. You can choose almost any significant, but it’s important to note that your degree does not need to be in the same field you want to practice law in—just something relevant. Some common majors for family lawyers include psychology, sociology, social work and English. Your GPA should be above 3.5 to qualify.
You will take the LSAT standardized test that evaluates candidates for admission to law school. American Bar Association (ABA)-approved law schools accept it. It consists of multiple-choice questions scored on a 120-180 scale and an essay used to evaluate the candidate’s ability to persuade through writing, logical reasoning and comprehension.
You can retake the LSAT up to three times, but you should do so six months before the application deadline. You’ll also need recommendation letters and a compelling personal statement.
Apply for Law School
During your first year, you’ll learn the basics of family law, such as what types of cases get handled in family court and how laws apply to those cases. You’ll also learn about the legal system, including how courts work, what happens during trials and hearings, and what kinds of evidence are allowed in courtrooms.
After your first year, you’ll begin classes focusing on family law cases. These classes will teach you about the following:
- Different custody arrangements and how they affect children after a divorce or separation
- What kinds of alimony payments are available for divorced couples
- How to prevent someone from getting custody over a child who doesn’t want it or doesn’t have any legal rights over them already
- How to determine who should get physical custody over kids instead of joint physical custody
- How much are child support payments
Once you complete these classes, you will move on to more advanced topics like estate planning.
Take Bar Exam
After finishing law school, the next step is to sit for the bar exam in the state or country where you want to practice law. The test aims to ensure that the prospective attorney has the necessary background and training.
The bar examination is challenging; therefore, prepare yourself. You will get admission to the Bar upon passing the examination. A background check and character review conducted by the state bar association are additional requirements for admission to the legal profession.
Find a Mentor
You must find a good mentor because they help you make the right choices early in your career. They will give honest feedback on your abilities and help guide you toward good decisions.
Find someone who has been practicing family law for at least ten years. It will ensure that they have gained enough experience and knowledge to fully advise you on what steps to take next to succeed and get along with clients better than other attorneys might. You can find a mentor in law school programs or faculty members.
Once you’ve found your mentor, it’s time to get some experience! You’ll start by working for free as an intern under your mentor’s supervision. After gaining enough experience from interning, you can take on cases independently and work with clients directly.
Apply for Jobs
Next, you must apply for jobs in the field! Once you’ve submitted your application, ensure your resume is up-to-date and ready for review by hiring managers. You should also research what companies are hiring in your area so that you know exactly where to apply!
By setting realistic expectations and fully understanding the demands of this particular legal field, prospective family lawyers should take seven years to complete their studies.
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