Steps to Becoming a Lawyer in Florida

Florida has a population of about 22 million residents, and there are more than 77,000 lawyers who are licensed to practice in the state. About 50,000 of those are in active practice. The mean average earnings of those who are in active practice is about $130,000. Both intrinsically and financially, the practice of law can be highly rewarding. Individuals who wish to be come lawyers must take a series of steps over a number of years though to become licensed to practice. The following notes the steps that they must take.

Earn an Undergraduate Degree

For purposes of admission to a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), a bachelor’s degree is the minimum accepted educational requirement. As there is no degree offered anywhere in the United States as a pre-law degree, the ABA encourages undergraduate students to earn their degree in any degree program that they’re comfortable with and enjoy. Members of law school admission committees have noted a direct connection between an enjoyable subject of study and a student’s grade point average. Those programs might range from agriculture to architecture or earth science to physics. It must be noted that the college or university that a prospective law student graduates from is required to be accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. Whether a certain college or university is accredited accordingly can be confirmed through the Database of Accredited Post-Secondary Institutions and Programs.

Take the Law School Admission Test

The ABA requires the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to be taken by every candidate for admission to an accredited law school. The test lasts a half of a day, and it has little or nothing at all to do with the practice of law, but it does assess a test taker’s reading comprehension, critical analysis skills and logical reasoning skills. The LSAT is offered several times a year throughout the state. It’s administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) on a national basis, and test takers are competing on a national level for a limited number of seats at accredited law schools. The current cost is $215, and it can be paid online. Most prospective law students who take the LSAT enroll in a preparation class for purposes of obtaining some experience and strategy on how to take the test. It’s strongly recommended that anybody who is serious about taking the test and getting admitted into law school enroll in and attend an LSAT preparation class. After taking the LSAT, scores will be emailed to test takers in about three weeks.

Apply to an ABA Accredited Law School

If you intend on becoming a lawyer and practicing law in Florida, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners requires you to have graduated from an ABA accredited law school. There are more than 200 of them in the United States.  There are 11 of such law schools in Florida, so don’t limit yourself geographically unless you have to. The LSAC will have your LSAT scores already, so any applications or supplementary materials should be forwarded to it. Your application package will be assembled accordingly, and there will be a fee of $45 for each law school that you apply to. Upon acceptance to an accredited law school and during the first year of attendance, students may wish to register with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. That can be done online, and the appropriate fee can be paid  online too. Upon applying to admission to the bar, the application is easily converted.

Take the Florida Bar Exam

Law students who graduate from an ABA accredited law school anywhere in the United States are eligible to take the Florida Bar Exam. The exam is administered over a course of two days. Like the LSAT, it’s strongly recommended that those individuals who will take the Florida Bar Exam prepare for it through a commercial preparation course. Although several of such courses are offered, you’ll quickly learn which one offers the best preparation by talking with other law students in your graduating class. The Florida bar exam consists of the following;

  • Day One: The Multistate Bar Exam Part A will be given on the first day. There will be three hours of essay questions on the law and three hours of multiple-choice questions on a variety of legal topics.
  • Day Two: The Multistate Bar Exam Part B is given on the second day. This will be 100 multiple- choice legal questions in the morning session, and another 100 of such questions in the afternoon segment.

The Florida Bar Exam Pass Rate

The pass rate for first-time test takers in February of 2021 was 62.4%. Some accredited Florida law schools have higher pass rates than other.

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam

This exam can be taken during law school or at the time of the bar exam. It must be passed within 25 months of the time that a person sits for the bar exam. It’s a two-hour multiple-choice test consisting of 60 questions on legal ethics, 50 of which are scored. A passing score in Florida is 80 or above.

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners requires every person who intends on practicing law in the state to submit to a character and fitness examination. Each such individual will then take the oath of office of attorney. Upon being sworn in, the attorney will be fully licensed to practice law in all Florida trial and appellate courts.