Steps To Become An Attorney In New York

Graduating as a lawyer is a demanding pursuit that is not for the fainthearted. Every year, many students aim to study law, but the intense classes and exams can make even the toughest pursuers doubt their abilities. The challenge of becoming a lawyer is significant, but this only reflects the rewards that come with the job. Attorneys, especially those based in New York, enjoy one of the country’s top wages. 

In 2021, the US department showed how New York attorneys made an average of $127,990 annually, making them the third-highest paid professionals in the country. Lawyers are kept extremely busy in New York. Successful firms such as the attorneys at Finkelstein & partners have a never-ending list of clients looking for legal assistance, keeping lawyers in New York going and thriving. Becoming an attorney in New York is tricky, but it is not impossible. The following are the steps to becoming a successful and sought-after New York attorney. 

Earn Your New York Undergraduate pre-law major

The American Bar Association (ABA) notes that students must first attend an undergraduate pre-legal education in an ABA-approved school. Your chances of getting into an ABA-approved law school are far more significant when you earn your undergraduate degree in a school recognized by the US Department of education. During your undergraduate days, you must tick several boxes that will enhance your skills as a lawyer. 

These include basic financial and math skills, a diversity of different cultures, world events, and knowledge of the American political system and philosophy. Other topics include understanding American society and the economic, cultural, historical, social, and political factors involved. 

During this time, the ABA expects students to have a major that can be of us in law school. Many successful law students began their journey by choosing majors in English, history, political science, philosophy, business, and economics. If you are unsure which major to take, this is an excellent time to seek the assistance of a pre-law advisor trained to help students who hope to attend law school after their undergraduate degree. 

Pass the Law School Administration Test (LSAT) in New York 

The Law School Admission Test is a half-day test given quarterly for students hoping to get into law school. When preparing for the LSAT, it is recommended to visit the LSAT website to practice sample questions and answers. The website also features timed practice tests to prepare you for the exam. You can attend LSAT preparation courses in New York for more intense training. 

The exams are broken down into three primary skill sets. There is reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. For reading comprehension, your job is to answer comprehension questions. In analytical reasoning, you must read statements and make conclusions, while logical reasoning is where you will answer questions based on your evaluation. You can only take the LSAT three times every two years. 

Attend law school in New York

The LSAC’s Credential Assembly service is required if you apply for an ABA-approved law school. Once you have the LSAC account and your LSAT score, all that is left to do is follow the instructions requested by the law school of your choice. New York hosts 15 ABA-accredited law schools, including Columbia University, Cornell law school, and Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law. 

The New York state bar requires law students to complete 83 semester hours between 24 to 60 months once they begin law school. These hours include 64 hours of classroom attendance and two credit hours in a course that involves professional responsibility. 30 hours can be used for externships, clinical studies, and field placements. Twelve hours for distance education courses are allowed, and another 12 hours for joint degree options. 

Placing in an internship is a mandatory step in law school. This usually occurs a year after you begin your degree. You can choose to intern in court, participate in research programs, law reviews, or in firms. These internships are unpaid, and you will get one or more off-site evaluations at some point. 

Once you graduate from law school, it is time to take the New York State Bar exam. There are four ways to be eligible to take the bar exam:

Graduate from an ABA-approved law school. 

Work in a law firm for at least four years and acquire 28 hours of study in an ABA-approved law school. 

Graduate from a non-approved ABA-approved law school and have five years of practice experience. 

Complete a foreign course in law that is similar to the ones in the US.

Once you pass the bar, then you are officially a licensed New York lawyer. Now is the time to decide where you would like to practice your skills. Do you want to work in a small law firm or start your practice? If the latter is your goal, working in a firm to garner experience and earn money to pay your student loans is best. Some lawyers take a year or so to open their practice, while others take longer. It is up to you to decide what works best for you financially and for the long term.