Being an attorney is a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding in many senses. Most prospective lawyers take a traditional approach to becoming a lawyer. That is, they go and get a four-year university degree and head to law school for an additional three years.
While this is the route most take, it is very expensive and time consuming. I know. I did it.
But there’s another approach one can take in an effort to becoming a lawyer.
Instead of going straight from college to law school, they could go through the legal apprenticeship program.
This program allows someone to study under a judge or an attorney for four years. After they meet the study requirements they can basically bypass law school and go straight to take the bar exam.
Once passing the bar exam, they can become licensed to be an attorney in the state of California.
Another good thing about this program is there are no specific prerequisites to take before entering. And since it is a self-study, four-year program, you can be working or doing what you like or need to do while studying to become a lawyer.
While this program prepares you to take the bar exam after four years, one extra requirement is that you sit for the California State Bar Exam, also known as the “Baby Bar” following your first year, which you have three attempts to pass.
But remember, this program should sufficiently prepare you for that test, which is on three of the most basic topics: contracts, torts and criminal law.
Studying at your own pace, you take exams, both multiple choice and essay, during the program and report back to the state bar on your progress. The state bar, in turn, gives you credit for going to law school.
If you’re wondering if you could get a job once you finished the program and without a law degree, the answer is yes. Since you have passed the bar exam you have the rights and privileges as any other attorney and that would make you marketable.
Just remember, while in the program you have to be under the supervision of a judge or senior attorney.
But remember, once you are an attorney, no one asks where you got your degree from or how you got your degree. They just want to know that you can help them.
There is one drawback, however, to going through this program. Since it is a California-specific program, it is not valid if you choose to practice law outside of the state. It is only good here.
Also, in order to be successful you need to be extremely self disciplined. There is no professor yelling at you to get your papers turned in or study for the next test. You need to do that all on your own.
Law school not only has professors and assignments, but also classmates keeping you going and keeping your morale up. There is a ton of structure here, which there isn’t in the program. So, keep that in mind when deciding how to proceed in becoming a lawyer.