Steps to Becoming a Lawyer in Illinois

There are more than 70,000 lawyers in Illinois, with about 48,000 of them in private practice. Many luminaries came out of Chicago, including Barak Obama, Adlai Stevenson and Mayor Richard J. Daley. The average lawyer in Chicago earns $120,000 per year, and in the suburbs, they earn even more than that. So. if you want to work as hard as you can, Illinois is where you should be.

Board Certification

So as to become accredited by the board and the American Bar Association, certain requirements must be met. One of them is to have your educational institution accredited by a national legal institution. That’s the job of Database of Accredited Post Secondary Institutions and Pograms, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education. Without that registration, there is no admission.

Degree Options

Lake all other American Bar Association law school, the ABA requires law students to attend an ABA accredited program. They insist that you have a bachelor’s degree in any field in order to be a candidate for law school. It can be in any major though, ranging from climatology to the tiniest creatures in the world. It doesn’t really matter what a student majors in, so long as he or she knows how to think. Classes in English, political science, philosophy and western civilization are all equally important. Then, he or she can sit for the LSAT.


The Law School Admission Test is what a pre-law or a post graduate might take. How difficult is the LSAT? About half of all test takers take the test and never ever come back. Of those that do, a significant number of them drop out during their first classes. What’s remaining is a microcosm of the word. They’re the survivors. But who are they really? There no different than you or me. Maybe a little smarter than the rest of the class, but that doesn’t really get you anywhere faster. It’s all about taking the test.

Taking the LSAT

The last thing that the LSAT prepares somebody who wants to become a lawyer someday is for law school. The LSAT website does a good job at preparing you for the test, but that’s hardly representative of it. We strongly recommend taking an actual class to prepare how to approach it. We won’t mention any names, but you’ll learn who to look for to see if they’re around when the time comes. Subjects on the LSAT follow:

  • Reading Comprehension: Your ability to read and understand what you read is tested.
  • Logical Reasoning: You’re going to be tested on your ability to identify conclusions assumptions and evaluate strengths and weaknesses.
  • Analytical Reasoning: You’ll need to solve problems and infer conclusions from the drawing of analytical strategies.
  • Provide a Writing Sample: This part of the LSAT isn’t scored as such, but it’s sent to the schools that you apply to. You are given a topic to write on, and you must respond to it.

The Law School Admissions Council

You’ll need to create an account with the Law School Admissions Council. This is done before you take the LSAT. You’ll also need to pay the current $215 testing fee and a minimum of $135 for three law schools. Each law school after that costs an additional $45. You shouldn’t find any difficulty taking the test. The one thing about the LSAT is its consistency. Exam results are sent out about three weeks after the exam is given. The lowest score is 120 and the highest is 180. Scores range from between 170 at University of Chicago down to 147 at the John Marshall Law School. Don’t let John Marshall fool you though. Some of the best lawyers in Chicago came out of there.

Law School

After getting your results from your law school, its time to start getting serious and applying. The ABA requires you to go anywhere in the country, so long as you graduate from an ABA law school. There’s no reason to restrict yourself geographically or to any of the state schools either. The LSAC lists 9 law schools in Illinois that fulfill its requirements. You’re required to attend law school for a maximum of 2 years and no longer than 7 years.

Study for the Bar Exam

You need to get ready for the bar exam by studying for it. There’s a right way and a wrong way of going about that. Test preparation agencies have come a long way in preparing law students in taking the tests. Without answering the question, ask around in the middle of the third semester of law school. They’re overwhelmingly in favor of one certain provider. Go with that provider and study ever day and hour. You’ll pass.

Take the Illinois Bar Exam

The first part of the Illinois bar exam consists of the Multi-State Bar Exam. This test takes 6 hours to complete. It consists of 200 multiple choice questions. For example, there are questions on contracts, evidence and real property. The second part of the Illinois bar exam is the Multistate Essay Exam. This tests a person’s knowledge of the law in Illinois in a variety of topics like business organizations, secured transactions, Illinois civil procedure or wills or estates. The third part of this test is the Multistate Performance Test. Your lawyering skills will be tested with a file and a library.

The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam

As opposed to many other states, Illinois requires its lawyer so pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam before then can practice law. This consists of 50 multiple choice questions. The MPR is offered in March, August and November every year in numerous locations. Remember that if you don’t pass the entire bar exam, you don’t get to practice law in Illinois.

About six or eight weeks after taking the bar exam, your results will be mailed to you. Information regarding your swearing in ceremony will be provided to you if you passed the exam. After admission to the bar, you must complete a 6-hour Basic Skills Course. You’re now licensed to practice law throughout Illinois and its appellate courts.