6 Tips for Making a Career Change to an Attorney

Law is an excellent choice for those looking for a career change, as working in a legal career requires emotional maturity, common sense, and many other skills that come with age and experience. If you’ve always thought about becoming an attorney, then it’s never too late, so here are some tips to help you make the big career change.

Get some experience in the legal profession

Many attorneys start their careers working in the legal profession as a paralegal, legal secretary, court messenger, or another administrative role. If you haven’t worked in legal before, then you may want to consider working in one of these jobs for a couple of years to see if you enjoy it. If you don’t have time to study right now but plan to train as an attorney in the future, then getting some experience in a legal role can put you on the right path.

See if you can shadow an attorney

If you know anyone in the legal profession or have a friendly local law firm, who’ll help you out, see if you can shadow an attorney for a couple of days. Becoming an attorney is a big commitment, and you must know what the job involves, so job shadowing is an excellent way to see if you’ll enjoy this kind of career.

Complete an undergraduate degree

An undergraduate degree is essential to begin the process of becoming an attorney, but the good news is, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in law. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject, then you may be able to take a short course to prepare for the LSATs and get into law school. However, more competitive law schools will likely be looking for candidates who have legal-related degrees.

The good news is, if you still need to get an undergraduate degree, you can study online with Wilfrid Laurier, which is a more flexible option for career changers. They offer undergraduate degrees in subjects such as criminology, which can be an excellent basis for those who want to go on and practice criminal law.

Study hard for the LSAT

The LSAT – law school admission test – is crucial for those who want to get into theright law school, especially if you have a non-traditional background or a degree that’s not related to law. It’s worth looking at getting a tutor or taking some practice LSAT exams before the big day, so you can maximize your score.

The LSAT will contain questions related to:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Analytical reasoning
  • Logical reasoning
  • Writing an argument

The good news is, mature candidates often do well on the LSAT, as they may have already had to use the above skills in their working life.

Choose the right law school

To become an attorney in Canada, you’ll need to take an LLB or JD, both of which take three years, so it’s essential to choose the right law school to attend. Again, there are options to study online, but remember, this is an intensive course, so you’ll need to be extremely motivated to fit it all in.

While law schools cover a wide range of subjects, as you progress, you’ll be able to opt for more specialist subjects. This is an excellent chance to learn more about areas of law that interest you, and many attorneys end up finding their career specialism at this point.

Some popular areas of study include:

  • Family law
  • Aboriginal law
  • Criminal law
  • Human rights
  • Immigration
  • Patent law
  • Contract law
Find out what bar admissions course you need to take

Different provinces have different requirements for bar admission. In general, you’ll need to take a bar admissions course, which can usually be completed online. While you’re doing this, you’ll need to go through an articling program, which involves working under a qualified attorney for up to a year. You have to find your own placement for articling, which in most provinces has to be an attorney with five years’ experience.

Once you’ve completed this process, you can take your bar exam, which, once passed, allows you to practice law across Canada. Becoming an attorney is not an easy process, especially if you’re coming into it as a second career. Still, online learning has made it easier for non-traditional students to get into law later in life. While it’s a long process to become an attorney, it’s an exciting field to study, and once qualified, it can be a gratifying career path.

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