For some, becoming a family law attorney is a lifelong dream, as it provides the opportunity to mitigate the often painful situations that occur among unsatisfied family members. But unfortunately while many individuals may wish to dive into this new and exciting field, few understand the prerequisites and training necessary to emerge as a skilled professional of family law. If you are hoping to start a new career as a family law attorney, here are the steps you need to take, and what you should expect as you head through the process:
Finish University and Law School
Like with any other field of law, those wishing to practice must first finish an undergraduate degree from a college or university, and subsequently complete the three required years of law school at an accredited institution. Generally, most law schools in the United States offer similar curriculums in the first year, consisting of classes such as torts, constitutional law, and legal research and writing.
Once these prerequisite subjects are completed, law students have the ability to branch out into more specific fields of study, at which time you can take classes geared towards family law and mediation. These classes will cover topics like divorce and separation, marriage and its facilitation, and the overall process of adoption. This will give an aspiring family lawyer a comprehensive understanding of the realm into which they are heading.
Take and Pass the Bar Exam
Though a law degree from an institution may highlight your knowledge of the law and its depths, you will not be permitted to actually practice until you have taken and passed the bar exam, a standardized test that examines your knowledge and application of what you learned over the three years in school.
Because the bar exam is known as one of the most difficult and intimidating form of examination in the United States, studying with a mentor and qualified exam instructor will give you the best chance at success. Though you may believe that your knowledge of the law is sufficient, having someone experienced to prepare you for the test can payoff greatly in your future.
Realize Your Options
After you have taken and passed the bar exam, you are then licensed by the state to practice as a full-fledged lawyer. And if you are sure in your desire to practice family law, but you haven’t chosen a specific channel yet, now is the right time to make a decision.
If you hope to spend one-on-one time with individuals or multiple family members that have legal issues, working for yourself, or even in a small firm, can ensure that you have a more personal experience, working on issues such as divorce, adoption, and any other marital issues.
If you enjoy the idea of family law, but would rather work in a government or large law firm setting, you can still do so, although this may land you a position working largely on the financial side of proceedings.
A Future as a Family Lawyer
Although it may seem difficult at times,, becoming a family law attorney is a manageable task that can land you in the career of your dreams. And if you wish to start down this journey, remember to consult this guide as you work towards a job that you will love.