There are any number of reasons why somebody might want to become a lawyer in Michigan. One of them is the money. A salary of about $100,000 per year is one good reason, and that just the median salary. They go upward from there with lawyers in the Detroit area earning $108,000 per year. In the Ann Arbor area, they’re seeing salaries of $112,000 per year or even higher. Michigan also has its share of pro bono services. Whether you want to work in for-profit, not-for-profit or even donate time to pro bono services, you’ll get to your goal of doing so by hard work. Here’s how you do it.
Earning Your Major
Just about all law schools that are endorsed by the American Bar Association require a bachelor’s degree before entering law school. What this means is that if your school is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, it’s highly likely that you meet this requirement. There is no particular course of study that a pre-law student must take. There is however, a certain course of study that is recommended. That would be in English, sociology, economics, political science, history, international studies and spoken and written communications. In fact, the law is so diverse that just about any type of a degree will suffice. The admission committee is looking for a degree that you favor as opposed to another degree. That’s because if you favor it, you’re going to do better in it. If you do well in it, your grade point average will be higher and you’re more likely to get into law school.
Getting the LSAT Out of the Way
LSAT is an abbreviation for the Law School Admission Test. It’s a six-hour test that really has nothing to do with the law, but it’s a predictor of how you will fare in law school. You’ll be gauged on analytical reasoning, logical reasoning and reading composition. There’s also a mystery section that repeats itself. It might not get scored, but it’s best to perform as well as possible on this part of the test. Then, there’s the writing sample. You’re not scored on this portion of the test either, but it is mailed out to the various schools that you apply to, so it’s equally as important.
Preparing for the LSAT is critical to your success on the test. There are several preparation commercial businesses that you can use to get ready for the LSAT. Select the most popular one, and not the cheapest. You’ll definitely notice higher scores and a better chance at admission into the law school of your choice.
Signing Up to Take the Test
The LSAT is offered twice a week, three times a year in a total of about 18 locations throughout the state. It costs $195 to take the exam. After taking the exam, you have about three weeks of time before the results are made known. The lowest LSAT scores are 120, and the highest you can possibly get is 180. There are five accredited law schools in Michigan. The median LSAT score per school follows:
- University of Michigan 168
- University of Detroit Mercy Law School 151
- Michigan State University College of Law 154
- Wayne State University 159
- Thomas M. Cooley College of Law 141
The Credential Assembly Service
You’re not restricted to the five Michigan law schools. There are over 200 ABA accredited law schools to choose from in the United States. Nearly all of these use the Credential Assembly Service. This valuable service gathers all of your transcripts from the universities you have attended along with all of your recommendations. Along with your LSAT scores, it sends those records to the law schools that you’ve applied to. You can even choose the law schools that you wish to apply to online. There’s a $195 charge for this service.
These subjects are going to be on the Michigan bar exam. This list isn’t exclusive either. They include contracts, criminal law and procedure, Michigan civil procedure, evidence, torts, uniform commercial code and the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct. You’ll also be required to take an internship, either paid or unpaid. This would be at an in-house legal clinic or at a real work setting. It’s important for you to do well in these classes too. You’ll be graded.
The Michigan Bar Exam
The fist thing about the Michigan bar exam is that you should take a class on this too. Take the class that most of your classmates will be taking. They’re taking it, so competition means that you should take it too. Pay particular attention to the essay questions and how they’re answered. The bar exam extends over two days, a minimum of six house a day. It includes the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). A total of 15 essay questions will be asked over this time. The second day of the exam is the Multistate Exam, consisting of 100 multiple choice questions during the day, and another 100 of like questions over the afternoon exam.
Applying to Take the Bar
The first thing that you need to do to take the Michigan bar exam is to have your number registered on the National Conference of Bar Examiners. You’ll need this number for future reference. For the July exam, applications must be submitted by May 15, and for the February exam, applications must be submitted by December 15. The payment fee of $400 is due as is a $375 investigation fee. Late fees apply. A finalized version of Personal History must also be provided. If can be provided electronically.
The Passing Rate
For 2021, the overall pass rate with 646 takers was 64% for July. For the February exam, the pass rate with 312 takes was 48%.
You’ll receive notice of the date and time of your swearing in ceremony. You’ve done it. Congratulations! You’re now a lawyer in Michigan. You can now practice in the state and appellate courts anywhere in the State of Michigan.