Q: What is the exact route to become an American lawyer?
Hi, I'm doing research for a book & I'm based in London but the book is about a character who is training to become a lawyer & wondered if I could ask you what the normal route normally is? I would love if I could get typical ages of when someone would typically qualify & how long training contracts are etc? My character is dealing with financial assets of a client who's expecting a potential divorce - what type of lawyer would typically do this?
Each state has slightly different rules to become an attorney. Generally you have to get your Juris Doctorate degree (law degree that is 3 years of graduate degree study) after you complete 6 years of bachelors & masters degree study. Then you have to take and pass a bar exam in the state where you wish to practice law (when I took the bar exam in California it was a 3-day test but it recently changed to a 2-day test--covering laws in 12 or 13 different areas of law such as contracts, criminal, torts/civil, civil procedure, constitutional law, etc.), then take an ethics exam (1 day), get an extensive background check completed through the police finger-printing system, and then get sworn in by a Judge.
In California, there is a loophole where you can skip 6 years of schooling if pass College Level Equivalency Program (CLEP) tests and go straight to law school. I did that & I passed the California bar exam the first time I took it. Some people need to take the bar exam multiple times before they pass (it is offered 2 times a year).
Division of assets & debts in a divorce is handled by a family law attorney. CPAs and Private Investigators sometimes help trace assets a and locate hidden assets. This is especially true in larger estate cases. Hope this helps.
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