How to Become a Lawyer

How to Be a Trial Lawyer

A trial attorney specializes in defending clients in a court of law. A trial attorney can deal with cases ranging from insurance law to criminal defense.

Trial lawyers have extensive experience with representation in courtrooms, are extremely good and persuasive speakers, and know how to convince a judge or jury. Most attorneys can represent their clients in a court of law, but a trial attorney has special training to get the best results when a case does not settle outside the courtroom.

1. Becoming a good trial attorney takes years of experience, but you can develop some habits from an early age that will provide you with many of the necessary skills. Join you school’s debate team to acquire proficiency in public speaking and learn how to raise arguments and counterarguments. Constantly develop your problem-solving skills.

2. Get a four-year undergraduate degree from a college or university. Your major will not prove that important, though an education in political science, history, philosophy or business will help you develop lawyering skills. Do your best to graduate with a high GPA (Grade Point Average).

3. Prepare to take the LSAT test. This test evaluates your writing, reasoning and critical thinking skills. You can purchase books and self-testing supplies to ensure you adequately prepare and will earn a high score. Register for the test and sign up for an online account on the Law School Admission Council’s website (http://www.lsac.org/). You will receive the results via email within three weeks of taking the test.

4. Apply to several law schools. You might not gain admission to your first choice, so have a safety net in place. Build strong application files for all the law schools to which you apply, including letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities and a resume listing your special talents and work experience.

5. Complete three years of law school (or up to five years if you enroll in a part-time program). As a trial attorney, you will have to have familiarity with all areas of the law. Study hard in all your courses and participate in extracurricular activities. Contribute to the school’s journal and keep a record of all the articles you published to put on your resume.

6. Obtain your JD degree and review everything you’ve learned in law school for the bar exam. If you plan to practice law in another state, take the bar exam in that state. The questions will cover both federal and specific state laws. You will need at least a few weeks to prepare for the exam.

7. Pass the bar exam and start looking for a job. You might have to gain some trial experience before working as a trial attorney. Get a job in a law firm and work closely with a trial attorney so you can learn the ins and outs of the profession. When clients contact you, be friendly and helpful and work hard to get good results.