Lawyers work in various capacities within the California justice system. This includes providing legal advice to businesses and other entities, representing the government in court (prosecutor), offering legal aid to clients in criminal and civil cases, etc.

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As of 2019, there were nearly 84,000 licensed legal practitioners providing their services in The Golden State. If you want to join their ranks in the coming years, then go through this piece. It will tell you how to become a Lawyer in California.

Should I Become a Lawyer in California?

  • Education
  • Area of Study
  • License/Certification
  • Experience / Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-National
  • Job Outlook(2018-2028)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-California
  • Juris Doctor (JD) Degree
  • Law
  • Passing the Bar Examination is Mandatory
  • Clerkship at a Law Firm (Optional)
  • Oral and Written Comprehension, Active Listening, Communication, Critical and Creative Thinking, Problem Sensitivity, , Complex Problem Solving,
  • $145,300
  • 6%
  • $173,970

Sources: O*NET OnLine and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

As a lawyer in California, you can offer different services within the judicial system of the state. You can also become a law professor at a college/university, enter the cutthroat world of politics, transition into a career as a judge/magistrate, etc. Corporate law firms, government entities and businesses are some areas where you can find lucrative employment as a lawyer.

Career Outlook

There will be a 6% growth in employment opportunities for lawyers from 2018 to 2028. Legal services are regularly required by different entities such as businesses, government organizations, private individuals, etc. Owing to this constantly increasing demand, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the availability of more vacancies in the future.

Steps to Become a Lawyer in California

Following are the steps to become a lawyer in California.

Get an Undergraduate Degree

To pursue a career as a lawyer, you need to first complete a 4-year Bachelor’s degree. Any major is acceptable.

Pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

This is the standard entrance exam to get into law school. You need a high enough LSAT score to secure admission to a good institution.

Get Your Juris Doctor (JD) Degree

After passing the LSAT, you will be eligible to go to law school. Over there, you will spend 3 years studying for a Juris Doctor (JD) degree.

Complete a Law Firm Clerkship to Gain Experience (Optional)

This is not mandatory but can certainly help your employment credentials later on.

Pass the California State Bar Exam

With a law degree in hand and possibly some clerkship experience under your belt, you can take the California State Bar Exam. Pass it to become a licensed legal practitioner in California.

Find Employment

Once you have passed the bar, it is time to look for a job. Your options will typically include law firms, non-profit organizations, businesses, etc. You may also launch your private practice.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Lawyer in California?

You will start off by getting an undergraduate degree. That takes 4 years. This will be followed by 3 years of law school where you will study for a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. After that, you may spend time gaining clerkship experience and preparing for the California State Bar Exam. All in all, it will take around 7 to 8 years to become a Lawyer in California.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Lawyer in California?

Following are the requirements for becoming a Lawyer in California.

  • Complete a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Attain a JD (Juris Doctor) degree.
  • Pass the California State Bar Exam.

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Lawyer in California?

As per information provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Lawyers in California took home $173,970 in annual mean salary in 2019. This figure is considerably higher than the national annual mean income of $145,300.

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