There are more than 40,000 lawyers in Maryland, and their median salary was more than $110,000. Lawyers in Rockville made more even money with a median salary of $138,500 annually while lawyers in the California/Lexington Park area were at about $130,000. If you’d like to join these Maryland attorneys, here’s what you’ll need to do.
Get a Pre-Law Major
The Maryland State Board of Law Examiners has implemented the requirements of the American Bar Association (ABA) from the start of becoming a lawyer. One of the many requirements is assuring your acceptance into an ABA accredited law school. This is done be graduation from an undergraduate institution that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. If it’s recognized there, there shouldn’t be any problems. Since there is no requirement on a prelaw major, the matter of what you’ll major in is quite open. There are some considerations though. Those follow:
- History and related social, economic, social and societal factors that have operated to influence a still emerging American society.
- A fundamental conceptualization of American political ideals and the ideals of its political system.
- Fundamental monetary and mathematical skills.
- Knowledge of the diversity of cultures outside of this country and the United States.
Type of Degree Necessary
In reality, you really don’t need a specific type of degree though to get into law school. The ABA doesn’t recommend one. It does note that your course of undergraduate studies should help you in gaining problem solving and analytical skills. Those are typically found in English, political science, economics and social sciences. In reality though, you can have any type of a major that you wish. The one thing that the ABA stresses is majoring in something that you enjoy. If you enjoy it, your grade point average is going to be higher. We all know how important that is to your skills and development.
The LSAT is an acronym for Law School Admission Test. In order to become approved at an ABA accredited law school, you must pass the LSAT. It’s a six-hour test that’s given at testing centers around the world. It really has little to do with the actual practice of law, but still, it’s a major requirement. The LSAT gauges your basic reasoning and analysis levels. Preparation for this exam might be difficult, but we do recommend that a preparation class be taken from a commercial entity that has been doing this for many years. You’d be remiss in not taking it as it’s just about guaranteed to boost your score.
Content of the Exam
The LSAT gauges levels of skills that are integral to a successful law school experience. It tests five areas that follow:
- Reading Comprehension: You’ll read a passage of maybe 600 words. Your understanding of long and complicated passages is measured.
- Analytical Reasoning: You must read certain statements and then, you’re required to make deductions and conclusions. It measures your ability to make complex analyses.
- Logical Reasoning: In this section, you must read and evaluate a passage based on your understanding of the materials. It measures your ability to think critically, draw supported conclusions and apply strengths and weaknesses in arguments.
- Experimental Portion: This may or may not be used in evaluating your skills. You just don’t know. It’s important to do as well as possible on this portion.
- Written Section: This section is to be answered by all test takers, but it is only to go out to those law schools that the individual applies to.
Applying to Take the LSAT
You can apply to take the LSAT online. Your payment to take the test can be sent online too. The cost is $215 and there is a fee of $45 per school that you wish to apply to. There are currently 11 sites that the LSAT can be taken at. The lowest score that a person might receive is a 120, while the highest score that they might receive is a 180.
Attending Law School
To apply to law school in Maryland, you’ll need to use the Credential Assembly Service. It’s also the easiest way of applying to an ABA approved law school in Maryland. Using the LSAC is best way of getting all transcripts and letters of recommendation to the law schools that you’re applying to. The current cost of the service is $195. There are only two law schools that are accredited in Maryland. Those are the University of Baltimore Law School and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. There are more than 200 other ABA accredited law school that are scattered throughout the United States though. Don’t limit yourself geographically. You’ll find one that will suit you.
Legal Classroom Work
ABA Rule 303 sets out the requirements of the courses that are mandatory in law school. These include practice in a legal clinic, pro bona or field placement office. It will take two years but no more than seven years to earn your Juris Doctor degree. Typically, three years a good time frame.
Taking the Maryland State Bar Exam
The Maryland State Bar Exam is given in July and February. It lasts for 2 days in total for 12 hours. Its again strongly recommended that you study for this exam by taking a class from a commercial bar exam preparation program. There is one program in particular that stands out. Just ask your fellow students in your third year of law school, and you’ll find out who it is. Use every waking moment at this endeavor.
Maryland uses the Uniform Bar Exam. It consists of the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). The MBE is six hours in length. It covers 200 multiple choice questions, 100 in the morning session and 100 more in the afternoon session. The MPT is two 90-minute legal skills essay questions. The MEE is made up of six 30-minute written essay questions. Candidates for admission must also take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam. About 68% of all takers of the 2021 bar exam passed.
If you’re picking up your bar admission certificate from the Offices of the Appellate Court, you will be charged $20 for it. If it’s mailed to you, the charge will be $25. You must be sworn in within two years of becoming a lawyer. Then, its congratulations. You’re now a lawyer.