In 2021, there were about 22,500 lawyers practicing in New Jersey. About 7,000 of them practiced solely in New Jersey, while most of the balance also worked in New York. Jobs for lawyers were expected to grow by 4%. New Jersey isn’t just Newark and Atlantic City either. Both inland and costal landscapes and seascapes invite you. Lawyers in New Jersey also earned some of the highest salaries in the country with an average of $145,000. If your goal is to become a lawyer in New Jersey, and live with nature while just a short drive from major cities, read on.
Get a New Jersey Pre-Law Degree
The New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners requires you to have graduated from an American Bar Association law school before you can sit for the bar exam. It doesn’t matter where you have graduated from, so long as you received your degree from an institution that is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. There are courses that will help you though like history, English, western civilization, communications and political science. The truth is, there is no pre-law degree program though. That means that just about any major that suits you will be fine with any law school, so long as it’s a major that makes you do your best. That means having your grade point average as high as possible. Law schools see that as a big plus.
LSAT stands for Law School Admission Test. As it your first hurdle in getting into law school, you shouldn’t really take it for granted. There are test preparation companies out there that will prepare you not on the correct answers, but on how to take the test. Take one of them before the test, and you’ll likely see your test scores increase. The LSAT doesn’t really have anything to do with the practice of law, but it’s an excellent predictor of how well you’ll do in practice. The LSAT tests your abilities in five critical subjects. Those follow:
- Reading Comprehension: After reading a passage, is it able to be analogized with other arguments in that same passage?
- Critical Reasoning: Can you recognize arguments from different types of reasoning?
- Analytical Thinking: This section evaluates your analytical abilities based on single-linear, multi-linear, grouping and networking games.
- Mystery Question: One of the above three questions will be asked again. It won’t be scored, but you won’t know it. That’s why it’s necessary for you to do your best on all parts of the exam.
- Writing Sample: You’ll be given a short time for a writing sample. It won’t be scored either, but it will go wherever you apply, so you need to do your best on this too.
The LSAT is given four times a year in about 10 locations on Saturdays and Mondays throughout New Jersey. The fee for taking it is $215. Just set an account up at the Law School Admissions Council. Payment can be made online there. New Jersey has two law schools. Those are Rutgers and Seton Hall. With a low of 120 and a high of 180, the average score at Rutgers was 155 with a 156 at Seton Hall.
The Third Step
Now, you’re ready to begin the third step in the process. It includes applying to ABA accredited law schools in New Jersey. This involves employing the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). This service is instrumental in working with any ABA accredited law school that you might apply to. The CAS helps in obtaining your transcripts, letters of recommendation, evaluations and LSAT scores, and sending them to the law schools that you apply to. The fee for CAS is $196.
Law School Course Requirements
The following courses include but aren’t limited to the course requirements at an ABA accredited law school in New Jersey. Constitutional law, contracts, real property, criminal law and procedure, evidence, corporations, agency and partnership, uniform commercial code and wills and trusts. There will be time for electives that are of special interest to students too. You’ll likely be required to perform an internship in your final year of school. That’s going to entail hands-on experience. You’ll be graded on it too, so do well on it.
The New Jersey Bar Exam
The New Jersey bar exam consists of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). It comes in three parts. Those are the Multistate Examination (MBE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPE) and the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). We strongly advise you to take another preparation course for this exam too. It can make the difference between passing and failing. Every spare minute out of every day should be spent preparing for the bar exam. Ask your fellow students which preparatory class they’ll be taking and follow suit. You won’t go wrong. The bar exam in New Jersey consists of the following:
- The MBE: This has 100 multiple choice questions in the morning, and another 100 in the afternoon.
- The MEE: This consists of six 30-minute essay questions.
- The MPT: Two 90 minutes essay tests that are based on your lawyering skills.
- MPRE: If you didn’t pass the MPRE in law school, you must pass this exam.
Applying to Sit for the New Jersey Bar:
Creation of an online account is the first step. Complete the Character and Fitness Questionnaire online. Then, submit your signed and notarized Application for the Bar Examination online too. Don’t forget to send the following with the application:
- $675 payable online or by check or money order.
- Upload an acceptable photo.
- Upload a signed and notarized Authorization and Release form.
Upon receipt of the above, you’ll receive further instructions in the mail.
New Jersey enjoyed a 65.3% pass rate for all takes of the bar exam. Upon passing the New Jersey bar exam, you’ll be required to sign the attorneys roll and take an oath. You must be sworn in no more than 90 days from passing the bar exam. Public swearing in ceremonies are usually held about a month after bar exam results are published. Then, its congratulations! You’re a lawyer now. You’re licensed to practice anywhere in the New Jersey state courts.