Education & Training in Law

The life of a lawyer is turbulent, to say the least.

It fluctuates between wins and losses, ups and downs. A lawyer often goes without food and sleep, and has very little family life. Whether they are in private practice or in the Prosecutors office, they are all equally stressed out. Yet, thousands of inspired youngsters graduate school and make a beeline for law school, burning with the passion to fight for justice for the wrongly accused. They bury their heads in their law books, memorize the laws of the land, fight mock court room battles and emerge triumphant from law school. Some of them even provide free legal aid.

The study of law began in 1763 in the USA – when Delaware introduced the first bar exam. Very soon, the other American colonies did the same. Each state enforced its own guidelines for admission to the bar and the right to practice law in the state. When a lawyer is admitted to the bar of a particular state, s/he becomes a member of just that ‘bar’. Hence, each state mandates its own standards of admission to its bar.

A lot depends on the state you live in, study law in and practice law in. This dictates whether you are allowed to offer legal aid in Miami or legal aid in Ontario. American lawyers are expected to earn a degree known as Juris Doctor, or Doctor of Jurisprudence. Unlike the British system, law is not taught at the undergraduate level in the USA.

Some courts permit law students to function as ‘certified student attorneys’ provided they complete their first year of law school, with specific second year and third year courses like ‘evidence’. Certain states also permit law students after completion of at least half their law education, and participation in their law schools ethics class, to argue in court as a CLI (certified legal intern) under the supervision of a qualified, licensed attorney.

Regardless of the location they study law in, students are expected to pass the bar exams with excellent grades. Some states conduct a two day bar exam, while others conduct a three day bar exam.

Either way, the practice of law calls for long years of relentless study and grueling exams. However, all those aspiring lawyers graduate from law school armed to wage war in the legal battlefield.