There are fewer than 5,000 lawyers in America’s largest and least populated state. Only about 2,300 of them are in active practice. Newly admitted lawyers start out in the $75,000 per year range, while those with significantly more experience are into the low $100,000 range. Alaska has its own requirements for becoming licensed to practice law in the state. The follow below.
Undergraduate Degree Requirements
The Alaska Bar Association governs admission into the practice of law in the state. Candidates for admission to practice are required to have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university. The accreditation agency must be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and listed in the department’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. A law school admission candidate’s major isn’t determinative. A person’s major can range anywhere from physical education to physics, accounting to zoology or general studies to gender studies. Oral and written communications skills are stressed. Grade point average over the four-year degree program is a strong consideration for law school admission committees. Another important consideration is a candidate’s performance on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
Before somebody can be considered for admission into an accredited law school, he or she must perform satisfactorily on the LSAT. Most people take this test after completing their undergraduate studies. It’s administered by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), and it measures the skills necessary for law school success. It offers recommendations for resources to help law school candidates prepare for the test. Skills tested with the LSAT primarily include reading comprehension, analytical reasoning and logical reasoning. Admissions candidates can register to take the LSAT online through the LSAC. The current cost of the LSAT is $215, and it can be paid online with a credit card. The test can be taken in Anchorage, Juneau or Fairbanks. Scores on the test range from a low of 120 to a high of 180. Results will be sent by email about three weeks after the exam. Dissatisfied test takers can take the test again with payment of another fee. Test takers are generally limited to three times in two years.
The Law School Application Process
Alaska is the only state in the country without a law school. Assuming that you’re satisfied with your LSAT score, you can start applying to law schools anywhere else in the United States. The American Bar Association (ABA) publishes a list of all currently accredited law schools in the country. For purposes of convenience for both candidates for admission and the law schools themselves, the LSAC maintains its Credential Assembly Service for purposes of applying to any ABA accredited law school. The current charge for utilizing this service is $195.The service assembles educational transcripts, letters of recommendation and online evaluations. Upon law school admission, ABA Standards 302-303 notes the areas that an accredited law school’s course of study must cover.
The Bar Exam
The final step to being licensed to practice law in Alaska is passing the bar exam. It’s given tice a year in February and July. It consists of the following parts, and it’s taken over two days:
- Day One: Six 30-minute Multistate Essay Exam questions in the morning session. Then, two 90- minute Multistate Performance Test questions in the afternoon segment.
- Day Two: The 200-question multistate multiple choice bar exam with 100 questions in the morning and another 100 in the afternoon.
The Professional Responsibility Exam
Candidates for a law license in Canada must also successfully complete the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam with a score of 80 or above. This can be taken before or after the actual bar exam, but they’ll be unable to practice law without passing this exam.
Preparing for the Bar Exam
There are a number of services that offer bar exam review and preparation. Without making any specific recommendations, law school grads will learn soon enough which one is most successful in preparing test takers for the exam.
Applying to Be Admitted
Candidates seeking admission to practice law in Alaska must submit an Application for Admission to the Alaska State Bar along with ab $800 admission fee that can be paid online. An Authorization and Release Form for a character and fitness investigation must accompany the application. If the application is incomplete, you’ll be notified at least 10 days before your scheduled bar exam. About 75% of all exam takers pass the test on the first attempt.
Swearing in ceremonies are held about three weeks after bar exam results have been released. Upon taking the oath and lowering your right hand, you’re an attorney who is licensed to practice anywhere in the State of Alaska.