by: Lala C. Ballatan
What goes on in your mind whenever you see lawyers being featured in TV programs in handsome suits, sitting in elegant desks on fancy offices, and driving luxury cars?
Have you ever thought about the amount of effort and perseverance they have gone through in terms of money, time, education, and training in order to attain the things that you see they are enjoying? If you have not realized this yet, then it would significantly change the way you think and feel towards your lawyer if you realized just how much hardship he or she has gone through to achieve his or her present status.
So what really makes a successful lawyer who is also expert on his field of specialization?
The course of training undergone by the lawyers:
Requirement in terms of formal education:
- Four years college degree
- Three years in law school
- Pass the written bar examination
Before entering a law school:
- To be accepted in a law school would mean sticking it out with the stiff competition for admission in many law schools.
- In order to succeed in law school, aspiring lawyers must develop a proficiency in the following skills:
o Speaking, Writing, Reading, Researching, Analyzing, Logical thinking
Later on, these skills must further be enhanced when in order for a lawyer to be marked as a success and an expert in his / her profession.
- A multidisciplinary background, notwithstanding the major, is always recommended for a prospective law student to possess. He or she should have taken courses in the following subjects or disciplines for they are essential and useful in the study of law:
o Public speaking, Government, Philosophy, History, English, Foreign languages, Economics, Computer science, Mathematics
Furthermore, law students who are interested in specializing in a particular area of the law need to have a strong background on a related course.
- The applicant must demonstrate an aptitude to the study of law since this is a deciding factor for most law schools in acceptance. This can be determined through the following:
o Good grades in the undergraduate course
o Passing of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
o Quality of the undergraduate school where applicant studied
o Work experience
o Personal interview
Upon being a law student:
During the first 11/2 years in law school, students study core law courses and the remaining time, they are given chance to choose from elective courses in specialized fields.
Practical experience is also necessary and mostly acquired by the student by continued participation in |legal clinic" activities and moot court competitions sponsored by the school. These activities enhance the students' abilities in conducting appellate arguments.
They also get to practice in handling trial cases through apprenticeship under experienced lawyers and judges. Meanwhile the law journal of the school gives them a chance to practice their writing and researching skills.
The degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.) is earned as a first professional degree of a graduate of law school. Those who are interested in specializing on a particular area of law, legal researching or teaching may still need to obtain advanced law degrees. This requires them to study for additional semester or another year of study.
Lawyers have the responsibility to continue being informed about legal and non-legal developments that have a profound effect on their practice. Continuing legal education is presently mandated by the 40 states and jurisdictions, this is carried out by most law schools, local, and State bar associations through various education courses that will help legal professionals stay updated with recent developments.
Now we know that being an attorney is such a great responsibility and thus cannot be attained in a breeze, nor is the lavish life associated with being one.