What does it take to be a lawyer in California?
Have you ever wondered what qualifies someone to be an attorney? Lawyers literally spend years in school and internships before they are able to take on their first case.
There are many steps on the path to becoming an attorney. For most people, one of the first formal steps is to complete a college degree. Then, before being admitted to law school, prospective lawyers complete the LSAT. This test measures ability in reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, and writing to be sure that applicants possess skills essential to being an effective lawyer. Admitted applicants complete a Juris Doctorate, which typically requires three years of schooling.
During those three years, many law students also complete rigorous internships with law firms (or sometimes with judges) to gain hands-on experience. Internships allow them an opportunity to see what they have learned in the classroom put to practice in real life. It also gives them a chance to be mentored by more experienced legal professionals before they begin to practice on their own.
What comes after law school?
After all those years of studies and internships, people are still not allowed to practice law until they have proven themselves knowledgeable of the law and capable of applying it. To prove this, lawyers must pass the bar exam in their state. In the state of California, doing so can be especially challenging. The passing score is set higher in California than all other states. After passing the test, lawyers may apply for licensure through the State Bar of California and begin working as a licensed attorney.
However, that isn’t the end of education. It is important for attorneys to keep their knowledge up to date and growing. Lawyers in California are required to complete 25 hours of continuing education courses every three years to maintain their license. Additionally, most young attorneys work as associates under the mentorship of more experienced lawyers for some time to solidify their expertise.
Are there other special credentials?
Sometimes lawyers will exhibit particular skill and be awarded credentials that reflect that. At Wells, Call, Clark, Bennett & Clawson, we are proud of the credentials our lawyers carry. For example, attorney Stephen Schofield earned distinction as a Top 40 under 40 trial lawyer in California in 2017. Scott R. Bennett is a proud member of Consumer Attorneys of California. Steven R. Clawson has earned recognition and membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which is made up of the top trial lawyers in the country. He was also admitted to argue before the Supreme Court in 2008.
Why is this important to me?
In a world where there are YouTube videos to teach you how to do just about everything, it can be tempting to think that we can handle it all. We sometimes question the need to get help from a professional. But there are some things that you just don’t want to risk handling on your own.
When you’re dealing with a personal injury case, you deserve an expert on your side. You deserve someone who knows the law and can use it to offer you the protection and help you need. Sometimes people will choose to represent themselves. Legally, you have the right to do that. But you will be required to follow all the laws—even if you don’t know them.
Those years of studying and practice cannot be compared to even the best how to article or YouTube tutorial. We want the best outcome for you. And that is why we have put in so much time and energy to learn the ins and out of the law—so we can best serve you.