Many people believe that only smart people can be lawyers. Some say you can become a lawyer even if you are not sharp enough. So, how smart do you have to be to be a lawyer?
Before you can become a lawyer, you need to go through a lengthy and costly education process.
Law school has many boring subjects. There are also a lot of unnecessary topics to learn. You must love to be a lawyer to survive all these subjects. Nevertheless, the question remains, how smart do you have to be a lawyer?
Steps to Become a Lawyer
It takes about seven to eight years to be a lawyer. Here is what aspiring lawyers need to accomplish before they can rightfully be addressed as an “Attorney.”
1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree
Before being eligible for law school, you will need to complete a Bachelor’s Degree. There is no specific bachelor’s degree required to get accepted to law school, although most law students have completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, Political Science, Economics, and Journalism.
It really does not matter what Bachelor’s Degree you complete as long as you have a high-Grade Point Average (GPA).
2. Pass the LSAT
A higher than the median score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) will get you accepted to your law school of choice. An LSAT score of 151 or higher means you are at the top half of LSAT takers. On the other hand, a 150 or lower score means you are at the bottom half of LSAT takers.
LSAT takers are perceived to be smart and have higher than average intelligence compared to a typical college graduate. It is essential to know that only the top half of LSAT takers will make it to law school. This translates to an IQ of 115. Many believe this is the minimum intelligence needed to be a lawyer.
3.Choose the Right Law School
The law school you choose should be accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). There are many law schools in the US, so you can consider location, fees, and accommodations before choosing the right one for you.
To get accepted into your desired law school, you will need to have a high GPA in your Bachelor’s Degree and a passing grade in the LSAT. The acceptable LSAT passing grade varies among law schools.
4.Complete a Juris Doctor Degree
A Juris Doctor Degree is a three-year program (for full-time students) that specializes in your desired area of law specialization. Many law students choose a Bachelor’s Degree that is related to their desired field of law specialization, so if you want to specialize in Corporate Law, it may be best to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics.
Before entering law school, you should condition yourself that you will be doing a lot of reading and studying. You will need to prepare for each class by completing the assigned readings and making case briefs to participate in class discussions.
Most US law schools use the Socratic Method, a technique that requires a professor to ask their students questions instead of directly stating their point or opinion.
The Socrates Method forces you to think accurately and quickly because, as a lawyer, you will be working under a lot of pressure, and when you are late to object, it may be worthless. This teaching technique forces law students to prepare for a class because law professors tend to shame students who cannot defend their opinion.
5.Pass the Bar Examination
Passing the bar exam is the second hurdle would-be lawyers need to face. Bar exams are not passed by merely memorizing facts. Bar exams are passed by applying reason so that you can write passing essays. You also need to use your right judgment to get the correct answers on multiple-choice questions when all choices seem to be accurate.
The Bar Exam consists of multiple-choice law-related questions and solving a legal problem (case study). Passing the Bar Exam means you have proven that you are a reliable and competent person who is ready to be a lawyer.
Qualities of an Ideal Law Student
Most of the qualities of an ideal student are also qualities of an ideal lawyer.
•Excellent Communication Skills
As a lawyer, you need to have above-average listening, oral, and written skills. You also need to be good at outlining and note-taking. In law school, you will be doing a lot of public speaking, persuasive, and clear writing.
Creativity in law school and as a lawyer means thinking outside the box to become a creative problem solver.
Law schools entail a lot of reading. Therefore, you will need to have the ability to analyze your readings and break them down into digestible and manageable information. As a lawyer, you will need to rely heavily on logic and analytics or looking at situations from all angles to find a solution to the problem.
Law school involves doing a lot of readings, completing assignments, and preparing for each class. You will be assigned voluminous readings aside from the many things you need to do and prepare for class. You also need to allow some time for rest and recreation to prevent being burned out.
All these activities require that you master the art of time management. The best technique in time management is to create a routine and stick to it. The best way to manage your time while in law school is to study smart instead of studying hard.
When you enter law school, you need to have a serious commitment to do your best and complete your Juris Doctor degree with a good GPA. Being a lawyer also requires full commitment to help your clients with their legal problems.
What does it mean to be Smart?
People will always say you are smart, but seldom will they say that you are intelligent. Are you book-smart, or are you street-smart? It will be great if you are both!
When you are street-smart, you are usually aware of what is happening in your surroundings, and you know how to prepare and respond to all types of challenges. You do not start any trouble, but you can handle any problem when it comes your way.
When you are book-smart, you are excellent and diligent in school. You pass your tests in school with flying colors. You can handle all subjects well in school and not just the topics you love.
If you want to be a lawyer, you need to be street-smart and book-smart. But how smart do you have to be?
• You Need to be Smart Enough to Process Information Fast
Many people say that you need to be exceptionally smart to be a lawyer. In law school, you will be doing a lot of reading, so you need to be able to process information fast. This requires being able to break down a topic into small details, so the absorption of information is organized in an understandable manner, especially to the client.
Some students do not make it to law school. They are smart because they have completed their Bachelor’s Degree; however, they are not smart enough to have the capacity of understanding law.
As a lawyer, you will be listening to many legal problems from people with different characters and personalities. You must be smart enough to pick up information and process them fast in your mind to determine the specific law that applies to their situation.
When in court, you need to be smart enough to determine where the opposing lawyer is heading to with his arguments. You also need to be smart enough to refute his claims and present your rebuttals.
• You Need to be Smart Enough to think with reason
As a lawyer, you need to master the art of defensive thinking. You need to be able to protect your client and yourself. You need to have the skill to proceed slowly to find traps and calculate the risks of your reasons.
More importantly, an overly smart lawyer never lets the opposing counsel see that they are sweating with their arguments.
• You Need to be Smart Enough to be Assertive
Being smart means, you are assertive and not aggressive. Smart lawyers assert themselves by stating their opinions while remaining respectful. Aggressive lawyers tend to ignore the views of others and only believe in their own views.
Some aggressive lawyers are not smart enough to understand the opposing counsel’s position when it varies from their own. This characteristic makes them ineffective in analyzing the problem and does not allow them to provide the most effective solution.
• You Need to be Smart Enough to know that Success and Perseverance are One.
Perseverance equates to success. Lawyers who are smart enough know that they need to keep on trying, keep on working, and keep on going until they achieve their success goals. Great lawyers are smart enough not to walk away when things do not go their way. They simply take a break to re-charge and come back more energetic and ready to fight once again.
• You Need to be Smart Enough to have Good Conveying Skills.
A smart lawyer is an excellent communicator, as they are good listeners. They should also be able to write well and clearly. Lawyers need to be smart enough to have excellent conveying skills to effectively deliver their case conduct to the judges or juries in the courtroom.
To be a great lawyer, you should possess many different skills to defend your clients in court or help solve their legal problems.
How smart do you have to be to be a lawyer? You need to be smart enough to be client-focused to be able to use your knowledge and skills in the best interest of your clients to achieve the best possible results.