The law profession is a fascinating one; hence, so many desire to find out how to become a lawyer. According to Aristotle “The Law is a reason free of passion”. Hence, becoming a lawyer has been the most interesting career destination for many young people. The practice and application of the power of law permeate all nooks and crannies of the globe, however, it can differ a little from one society to another.
For example, the practice of law as a profession in the United States is different in each of the States which all have their own Bar Association. With a focus on the Florida bar, thelawaroundhere reveals all the details that are meant to guide you on how to become a lawyer in Florida.
The Study of Law in Florida
To become a lawyer in Florida takes 7 years of full-time study after high school. This includes 4 years of undergraduate study, followed by a 3-year law school and a written Bar exam.
Applicants for law studies must have a bachelor’s degree to be allowed to apply. However, some requirements may vary by state. Competition for admission to most law schools is extremely competitive. Acceptance by most law schools depends on the candidate’s ability to demonstrate an aptitude for the study of law. Undergraduate grades are used, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the quality of the candidate’s undergraduate school, any previous work experience if any and sometimes a personal interview.
A year of tuition in a public law school is estimated at $ 20,000 per year, and the average tuition fee in private law schools is around $ 35,000 per year.
Once admitted to law school, students prepare for a three-year law degree, the Juris Doctor (JD). The first year provides training on the basics of American law. At this level, the students then choose subjects in the areas of law that interest them most.
At the end of the three years and once the JD diploma is acquired, students are free either to take the Bar Exam or to specialize for a year as part of a Master of Law or LLM.
To be eligible for the bar exam in most states, a candidate must graduate from a faculty and graduate from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) or the authorities. competent state authorities. ABA accreditation means that the law school, especially its library and teachers, meets certain standards.
Preparing for the Law School Admission Test
There is an LSAT preparatory test material made available by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for applying students.
Alternatively, candidates can also enroll in an LSAT preparation course or seminar in their area.
Below are locations where you can enroll for the LSAT prep classes:
Florida State University Libraries
Educational Testing Consultants
LSAT Areas of Concentration
Candidate preparing for the LSAT should focus on the following areas:
Logical Reasoning: Logical thinking tasks present you with reading passages laden with argumentative challenges. You do not need any special expertise for this. Instead, your ability to understand and recognize points of strengths and weaknesses in an argument is required to recognize relationships and to draw the right conclusions from the information available.
Reading Comprehension: Candidates are given few passages to read, comprehend and answer some follow up questions. The reading comprehension section is meant to test your ability to:
- Read and comprehend test;
- Define words based on the context they are used,
- Recognize the structure and organizational style used in a passage, and then draw inferences
Analytical Reasoning: You will be presented with five logic puzzles and questions for each puzzle. A series of statements and requirements will be presented. You must make inferences from the information provided.
Experimental Section: This section is not scored, and consists of multiple-choice questions that are being tested for future LSAT exams. You will not know which section is the unscored, experimental section when you are taking the test, as it will resemble one of the scored sections.
Writing Sample: While this section is also unscored, it is sent to each law school to which you apply.
How much does LSAT cost?
According to the LSAC, the registration cost of the LSAT is $200 as of 2020/2021.
How to apply for the LSAT
To apply for the law school admission test, visit lsac.org and create an account. Texts are taken on select days in January, March, and November. There are about 42 LSAT testing locations in Florida, you can check out the one nearest to you:
- Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton
- Broward College, Coconut Creek
- Broward College-Central Testing, Davie
- Florida Atlantic University-Davie Campus, Davie
- Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach
- Stetson University, Deland
- Miami Dade College-West, Doral
- Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale
- Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers
- University of Florida, Gainesville
- Miami Dade College-Hialeah Campus
- Miami Dade College, Homestead
- Florida Coastal School of Law, Jacksonville
- Jacksonville University, Jacksonville
- Florida Atlantic University – Jupiter
- Florida Keys Community College, Key West
- Florida Southern College, Lakeland
- Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne
- Florida International University, Miami
- Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens
- Miami Dade College-Medical Center Campus, Miami
- Miami Dade College-North Campus, Miami
- Miami Dade College-Wolfson Campus, Miami
- Miami International University of Art and Design, Miami
- Nova Southeastern University, Miami
- Talmudic College of Florida, Miami Beach
- Saint Thomas University School of Law, Miami Gardens
- Barry University, Miami Shores
- College of Central Florida, Ocala
- Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, Orlando
- Florida A&M University College of Law, Orlando
- University of Central Florida, Orlando
- St. Johns River State College, Palatka
- Gulf Coast State College, Panama City
- University of West Florida, Pensacola
- Keiser University – Port Saint Lucie
- Thomas M. Cooley Law School-Tampa Bay, Riverview
- Eckerd College, Saint Petersburg
- University of South Florida-Saint Petersburg
- Florida A&M University, Tallahassee
- Florida State University, Tallahassee
- University of South Florida, Tampa
After passing the LSAT, What next?
Once you have aced the LSAT, the next thing to do is to apply to any law schools accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Attending an ABA-approved law school is the only way you can be admitted to practice law in Florida.
Take advantage of the Credential Assembly Service at LSAC to gather and email your LSAT score, transcripts, recommendation letter, and all other required documents for each of your law school applications.
What Courses are Studied in Law School?
ABA-approved law schools are mandated on the following course areas:
- Substantial law
- Legal analysis
- Legal research
- Oral communication
- Legal writing (including briefs, memorandums, letters, contracts)
- Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association
- Other necessary professional skills
- Internships, live client or real-life practice experiences. These may be clinical placements, fieldwork, pro bono work, mock trials, etc. and your performance will be periodically evaluated by a faculty member as well as by an on-site supervisor
After completing the course outline vis-a-vis the course duration, you will earn Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, with an option of pursuing any other of the many degree programs.
What is the next step after law school?
Upon being admitted into law school, you are encouraged to register with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners Law.
You may file online as a First-Year Student by visiting the board’s website and paying the filing fee. Then, during your last year in law school, an online conversion form is filed to convert your student registration into a Bar Application. The Board then carries out its character and fitness investigation before you sit for the Bar exam.
If you excel in the bar exam, you will be admitted into the Florida bar. This qualifies you to get assistance with starting your legal career through the Florida Lawyers Assistance Service.
The practice of the law profession in Florida
In addition, courts and federal agencies set their qualifications for those who practice before or within them.
To practice law in the courts of any state, a person must be authorized according to the rules established by the higher court of the jurisdiction. All states require that Bar admissions applicants take a two-day written bar exam. Most states, like Florida, also require applicants to take a separate written ethics exam. Florida requires lawyers to take continuing legal education courses which are chargeable.
The United States legal system does not distinguish between lawyers who appear in court and those who do not. Many other customary law jurisdictions, as well as some civil law jurisdictions, make distinctions such as in the United Kingdom the division between barrister, solicitor or advocate.
Lawyers who have passed the bar exam can practice in all areas of law. The conditions for registration with the bar depend on the rules decreed by the State of practice. In general, candidates are required, in addition to passing the exam, to have a clean criminal record and to provide good character certificates from their law schools.