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The United States allows a student wishing to become a lawyer choice to access this profession by going through full-time or in evening classes, over three or four years, in a prestigious school or a modest establishment with only ten students.
For some time now, online law schools have widened the gap, offering flexibility and a cost beyond comparison with more prestigious establishments. They train judges and lawyers who prove every day that the quality of training is not exclusive to the most prestigious establishments.
The majority of lawyers in the United States pass the bar exam after obtaining the Juris Doctor degree and having studied for three years at an American university. In some states, including New York and California, students with a foreign law degree and an LL.M. are admitted to the bar exam. For a foreign student, this means having a master’s degree in law and an LL.M. from an American university.
The main exam takes place twice a year (in February and July) and takes place over two days with three types of tests: multiple-choice questions, the practical test, and the essays. There is no choice of subject at the New York Bar, so the curriculum is very varied and includes contract law as well as family law or criminal procedure. There is also a New York State-specific ethics review and law review that take place several times a year, and usually don’t pose a problem.
Once all of these exams have been validated, various documents must be provided, including certificates from previous employers. Once the file is complete, an interview takes place with the admissions committee, which is generally only a formality. Finally, the oath takes place. Depending on the address provided when registering for the exam, the exam such as the swearing-in will take place in either New York City or Albany (for those who provided an overseas address).
How do I Prepare for the Bar?
Registering for prep is essential because the revision program is dense and the tests are very specific. The university will not prepare you for these exams at all, so it is very important to train well before the day of the exam. There are several bar preparatory classes such as:
Preparations begin about two months before the exam, which corresponds to the end of classes at the university. The day usually begins with a lesson given by a teacher, and the afternoon is devoted to re-reading the lessons and practicing.
Ways to Obtain the Juris Doctor
2. Brick and Mortar Law School not ABA-accredited but mandatorily authorized to award courses and diplomas by at least one state in the United States on a full-time or evening course.
3. Full-time DETC accredited online law school or by evening course.
4. Law school online not accredited by DETC but obligatorily authorized to deliver courses and diplomas by at least one state of the United States full time or by evening course.
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is not compulsory for non-ABA law schools.
5. Full-time law office study is a form of apprenticeship.
Given the duality of the judicial system in the United States (state law and federal law), once we have obtained the Juris Doctor, the new graduates have several choices to:
become an Attorney at Law (or Lawyer) in state law (with bar exam (or by the gateway for law professors) of the state in which one intends to practice or in federal law (with admission to the federal court by examination or by the gateway for law professors) in a company (in house corporate) in as a soldier or by teaching as a professor (law teaching).
The choice between a lawyer in state or federal law is particularly crucial for the future of young graduates.
For the first option, an examination at the bar of the state in which one intends to practice is compulsory. It allows the lawyer admitted to this bar to intervene in all areas of law but exclusively within the state (it will nevertheless be necessary for him to apply for admission to federal courts) He will therefore practice the law of the state of New York (for example) and not the “American law” totally inadequate term.
The second option allows to practice at the federal level but only in federal law: the law of bankruptcy, immigration, intellectual property, federal criminal law comes under federal law.
The practice of federal law is the preserve of hyper-specialized, ultra-mobile lawyers, organized in chambers bearing the name of the lawyer to better assert his (strong) personality. A lawyer practicing federal law is accountable only to the judge of the federal court before which he practices!
What about the foreign lawyer wishing to practice in the United States?
The United States allows foreign lawyers to practice after applying for Attorney Admission to the local bar and/or federal court. There should be proof of practice in the lawyer’s country of origin. The lawyer will have to pay an annual subscription and possibly benefit from the sponsorship of a local lawyer.
In the case of a non-lawyer jurist (student who has validated Law degrees at Master level), he must have a diploma recognized by the ABA as well as by the Federal Courts: Juris Doctor or LLM.
Several states and federal courts accept diplomas obtained online.
Advice to those interested
Interested candidates should be very studious. Start on time to study, and practice the different types of tests every day. However, It is important to save and give yourself time to rest and relax, as the review period is long and you should not arrive exhausted on the day of the exam.
Also, pay attention to the administrative procedures which are quite restrictive. For example, before you register for the exam, you must provide all transcripts and diplomas obtained since the beginning of law studies, (non-English documents must be translated into English) and send them directly by the home university. To avoid the stress of exceeding the deadline for sending documents, it is better to do it in advance.