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How to Become a Lawyer 101 | Joseph D. Nohavicka
Do you find yourself drawn to movies like The Firm or To Kill A Mockingbird? Do you get excited when you can binge on TV shows like Boston legal or Suits? Or are you a hardcore fan of Cup of Joe? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, and you are not a lawyer, well, there just may be a lawyer inside of you waiting to burst out like that thing in Alien that tore out of that guy’s abdomen.
Then again, if you are reading or listening to this discussion, then the thought has entered your mind at least once: Do I want to become a lawyer? The next question could then be, how?
First, you need desire, opportunity, love for reading, and a thirst for knowledge.
It would also be a good idea to start learning how to use acronyms as a mnemonic to remember things for exams. (You know what mnemonics are: Like HOMES for the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior)
Wait -- Desire, Opportunity, Reading, Knowledge -- that would make the mnemonic for my list of needs, DORK. Not important.
- DESIRE: You really have to want it. It is a sacrifice. They even tell you on your first day of law school, “Say good bye to your loved ones.” It was an exaggeration, but there was some truth to it. You will have to make an investment of time. But it is do-able.
- OPPORTUNITY: Not everyone is lucky enough to have the opportunity to take the time needed for a legal education. Or the money. It can be expensive. There are loans available. But wil you be able to sink yourself into debt. Of course, if you do well and you land a good job, or you get lucky and get that big case out of school, you’ll have no problem paying back the loans.
- READING: You have to love reading. And if you don’t like reading that much now, you can teach yourself to love reading. Reading is a habit that can be cultivated. Start growing it now. Even if you decide not to go to law school, reading is good for you. Lots of attorneys who went to law school who did not love reading before law school look back with nostalgia to those idyllic days in the law library reading interesting cases about cannibalism on the high seas, and old ladies getting blown up with cherry bombs on the LIRR platform.
- KNOWLEDGE: You need a thirst for knowledge. That is what is going to drive you and help you push through those days when you didn’t get much sleep. It is a fascinating experience learning all the different areas of the law. You will find yourself wondering often, how can people go through their lives not knowing about this?
So study hard for that LSAT. Even if you did not grade-on to the Dean’s List in college, if you do well on your LSAT you will get into a law school. Maybe not the best, but a law school, nonetheless. We all study the same books and take the same Bar Exam. And remember what Bon Jovi said in his Monmouth University commencement in 2001: “Just because someone has fancier sneakers doesn’t mean that they can run faster.” The LSAT is not a test for intelligence; it is a test of endurance and commitment. You have to practice the sample questions over and over and be committed enough to see why you got answers wrong. Endurance and Commitment.
I hope that this introduction to our “Becoming a Lawyer” series has answered some questions for you. (Questions that you may even have had for yourself.). I want to leave you all with one more quote from Bon Jovi’s college speech.
He even used a mnemonic: The three Ps: PPP – “Passion plus Persistence equals Possibility.” And he was just a guy from Jersey who made it all the way -- A cowboy, on a steel horse he rides.
Stay tuned for part 2.