How to Become a Texas Lawyer

How to Become a Texas atttorney

Is Texas a good state to be a lawyer?

Lawyers play an intricate part in our legal system in the United States. No matter which type of law an attorney chooses to practice, they will spend time advising clients of their rights under the law, acting as an advocate, and representing clients in court and/or other legal proceedings.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 760,000 lawyers who held various jobs practicing law throughout the United States in 2019.

Most of these positions are held in the corporate and non-profit sectors as well as many government positions. Approximately twenty-five percent of lawyers choose self-employed private practice according to the BLS.

Becoming an attorney means a candidate will possess a good understanding of human character, be able to speak well, and think logically, systematically, and be able to critically analyze complex data, information, and circumstances.

Specializations and Places of Work

Most lawyers will choose a specific field of law to specialize in. Our laws are complex and touch upon most aspects of our society. From the moment a person is born, until their death, they are surrounded, and affected in one form or another, by lawyers who uphold the law.

For instance, the hospital a person is born in will likely have attorneys who oversee issues that may arise in medical practice. Patient advocacy groups may have attorneys who see that the rights of mother and child are adhered to while in the hospital’s care.

As a child grows and enters school, the laws that govern our schools will affect how the child is educated. School districts usually have attorney representation to ensure those laws are carried out. When a person buys a home, an attorney is often involved in the transaction. When a person dies, they will usually have an attorney enforce their Will, and often oversee their estate.

Here are other areas of attorney specialization:

Roles and Duties as a Lawyer

What does an attorney do on a day-to-day basis? Many of us are familiar with Defense Attorneys from TV–trial lawyers who spend time in courtrooms defending clients accused of crimes. While many lawyers may eventually represent a client in court, much of their job takes place outside that realm.

Most lawyers spend time reading, drafting paperwork, giving advice, and working with contracts and other legal documents. They also invest hours researching, speaking to other attorneys, and formulating arguments or negotiating.

The legal duties of an attorney are born out of the ideal that, in our society, a person has rights. Lawyers are there to represent, and defend those rights on our behalf. They also have a duty to uphold the rules of law, and adhere to a high standard of moral and ethical excellence.

Education and Training

While an undergraduate degree is required prior to law school, the type of degree is not specified. Considering what type of law a student is interested in and seeking a complementary degree is advised. For instance, a corporate attorney may do well with a business degree.

One common undergraduate degree pre-law students pursue is a political science degree. It broadly prepares a student with many necessary skills needed to succeed in law school. This degree teaches how our government works. Familiarizes students with our legal system, and teaches skills such as public speaking, communication, and analytical problem solving.

What degree do you need to be a lawyer in Texas?

Ultimately, the degree you will need is a Juris Doctor degree or equivalent degree.  To begin with, for those students who wish to practice law, earning a Bachelors of Law Degree, or Legal Studies, can prove invaluable to their career. Courses promote skills and knowledge needed for the many demands of our complex legal system, including analysis and critical thinking, as well as strong communication skills, and research.

Choosing a school will likely be one of the first considerations a law student will encounter. Not every school offers a Bachelor’s Degree. Those that do will have a variety of other factors that will bear on a student’s choice of colleges. Some of these include cost, length of program, reputation, and ease of entrance. The student who sets their career sights on law, desiring to become an attorney, either for a public or private organization, will also need to pass a state bar exam as well as other state requirements. The school a student chooses should prepare them for this step in the process. A student’s counselor can assist with the student’s goals, pointing them in the proper direction.

The time that it takes to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Law will vary from student to student. These days many students who enter law school are older adult students. In fact, one major law school in the United States has a graduating class with an average age of twenty-four. Older students entering law is not uncommon. Because of this, the older student may also be employed full or part-time, and perhaps married, and/or have a family. These factors will all play into how long it will take to finish your degree program.

The law student’s classes in a brick-and-mortar college will often consist of learning in a traditional educational setting. Other colleges may offer distance learning, off-campus sites, or online classes, or some combination of all these. Most schools, regardless of type, require some form of practical experience in the way of volunteer work, internships, or actual job experience. Some schools may give students credit for participating in research programs or research groups. They may also give credit for participation in journals, lectures, conferences, and special events.

Coursework for the law student will cover a wide range of topics allowing the student to learn skills, such as strong analytical and critical thinking, communication, understanding procedural law, legal research, and legal ethics. Some of the possible classes will cover topics such as:

  • Legal Administration
  • Supreme Court Advocacy
  • Children and Youth Advocacy
  • Election Law
  • Law and Immigrations
  • Corporate Law and Finance
  • Behavior and Institutional Economics
  • Constitutional Law
  • Litigation Practice
  • Criminal Law
  • Study of Contracts

Prior to making a final decision, a student should meet with a counselor in order to maximize the time, and money they will invest in college. A good counselor will be able to lay out an education track that will help the law student make the most of their experience, allowing them to enter the workforce in a timely manner. One other thing that would help the future law student is talking to other students who have already completed school. They can offer advice on things that they felt were beneficial to them, as well as advising the student on things to avoid when getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Law.

Master Degree in Law

If a student plans on going to law school after receiving their undergraduate degree in law, there are a few things that will help them succeed. Admission committees look at many things when deciding who will be admitted into law school. Each category will hold different weights in the admission process depending on the law school a student applies to. Each school usually offers tips and advice on entering law school on their website. Here are a few keys to successfully applying for a master’s in law.

The first thing most committees consider is the undergraduate major. While certainly not a necessity, a law major is a good choice for an aspiring law student, especially if they plan for a career in politics. It tells the admissions committee that the student has a focused course of study, and a well thought out plan. It also speaks of the contribution a student will make to the classroom environment.

The next critical key is a student’s GPA. This is especially true if a student is seeking a master’s in law at a highly competitive law school. A lackluster GPA will alert the admission committee to a person who isn’t likely to succeed in law school. The course of study is rigorous and requires a serious academic outlook. A student’s GPA can either boost their chances or diminish them.

The next key for entry into law school is a track record of leadership roles, work history, volunteer positions, clubs and associations and other training a student obtained throughout their life. If a student followed an educational path void of any breaks, their work history will of course reflect that. If a student is older, their work history will hold greater weight.

If an undergraduate law major has their sights set on a career in politics it will benefit that student to have a history of participation in leadership roles and participation in the political process. This can start as early as high school running for student council. Throughout the undergraduate years, a student can volunteer to work as a political intern, or at a campaign headquarters. They can also join community organizations taking on leadership roles.

One dreaded component for many would-be law students is the admission essay, another key in the law school application process. There are volumes written on how to write the winning college essay. There are also books written specifically for students applying to law school. While many of these books offer good advice, in the end, it is the entire package that will earn a place in law school. The main things that need to reflect in the essay are a student’s passion for the law, career and community dedication, and career goals and focus. A student also needs to indicate their open mindedness, and awareness of the competitive nature of employment in the legal field.

One final college admission key is obtaining letters of recommendation. Consider for a moment the weight of a letter of recommendation from an alumni Senator whom a student has personal contact with, compared to a college buddy who shared their dorm. Letters of recommendation can show the admission committee that a student has already spent time fostering important relationships, and impressing key leaders prior to law school. They are interested in whom students know, and who knows them. Great connections cannot only benefit a student, but the law school as well.

Seeking a master’s degree in law after receiving an undergraduate degree in law is a great track for the aspiring attorney. Laying the proper foundation early, taking studies seriously, fostering good relationships, and knowing the tips for law school admission will increase a student’s chances for success, and the efforts will benefit their political career for years to come.

What kind of lawyer makes the most money?

According to the BLS, the median salary range for an attorney is $48,000 to $108, 500 annually. Government lawyers are at the lower end of the pay scale, and corporate and private practice attorneys are on the high end. The BLS projects the job market for lawyers will continue to rise. From 2018 to 2023, the increase is predicted to be 13% across the United States.

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