Becoming a successful lawyer takes more than just intelligence and good grades. It requires hard work, discipline, and determination.
There are many different types of law, but the most common are criminal, family, and business law. Choosing the right kind of practice to specialize in is the first step in making a fortune as an attorney, with a median salary of around $125,000 in the US.
Here is a guide showing you the steps needed to achieve your goal.
How to Go Pre-Law as an Undergrad
If you’re considering law school, you may be wondering how to best prepare as an undergraduate. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, you can do a few things to give yourself a head start.
First, consider taking some classes that will help you develop strong research and writing skills. English and philosophy classes are often good choices, but any class that involves extensive reading and writing will be beneficial
Try to get some experience working with legal documents. This could involve interning at a law firm, working as a paralegal, or even just doing some independent research.
Getting into Law School
Admission to law school is notoriously competitive. A solid academic record is the best way to maximize your chance of being accepted into a top-notch law school.
To that end, you should aim for a high GPA and strong standardized test scores. While your undergraduate grades matter, a high LSAT score can help offset lower marks to a degree.
In addition to your academic record, law schools will also be interested in your extracurricular activities and work experience. Extracurriculars can demonstrate your commitment to public service or interest in a particular area of law.
Work experience shows that you can handle responsibility and meet deadlines. Start your law school application early, so you have plenty of time to apply to backup schools and make your applications perfect.
Becoming a Successful Attorney
After graduating from law school, there are a number of steps that you can take to become a successful lawyer.
You’ll want to gain initial experience by working as an intern or clerk in a law firm. This will allow you to learn about a law firm’s day-to-day operations and develop your legal research and writing skills. Then you can work your way up and land something more prestigious, with a firm full of award-winning trial attorneys.
Who you know is usually more important than what you know, and law is no exception. Network with other lawyers and professionals in the legal field. Attend CLE courses, join bar associations, and participate in professional organizations.
Being a proactive networker will help you to develop relationships with other lawyers and to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the legal field.
Finally, market yourself as a lawyer. Develop a specialty or focus area, create a website or blog, and write articles or speaking engagements. By taking these steps, you can increase your visibility as a lawyer and attract potential clients.
Building Wealth as a Lawyer – The Bottom Line
Building wealth as an attorney is similar to any other lucrative job. Your income is one piece of the puzzle, but it’s the most important piece. Putting extra money to work like an employee is one of the wisest moves you can make for your financial future.
To build wealth, you need to focus on two major things: saving and investments. Set up a budget and transfer a fixed percentage of your income into these efforts. There are tons of online tools to help automate these processes.
Another helpful step is to create a diversified investment portfolio that includes stocks, bonds, and other assets like real estate. Most people who are relatively new to investing put an emphasis on diversification. Their portfolio might have a couple of income properties, some ETFs, a few individual stocks, and possibly some bonds.
Buy what you know and understand when it comes to investing. Take your time, research properly, and focus on making your money work for you, so you don’t have to spend your entire life working for money.
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