There are currently about 8,800 lawyers in New Mexico. About 60% of them were male and the average size of the law firm that they worked for were two to four lawyers. Albuquerque housed 32% of them, while Santa Fe, the capitol city, had 11% of them. Ages 42 to 65 represented the largest number lawyers with a little over 4,000. Those aged 28 to 45 were at about 2.600, If you’d like to become a lawyer in New Mexico, read on.
Get Your Undergrad Degree First
The first step to becoming a lawyer is to get your undergraduate degree. Any undergraduate school that you earn a degree from must be accredited. You don’t have to take any particular coursework in your undergraduate years to gain admission into an American Bar Association (ABA) law school. In fact, just about any degree will do, so take whatever coursework that you want, as long as you enjoy it. Take classes in political science, criminal justice, history. communications and English too. Law students with backgrounds in those areas tend to do better. If you enjoy whatever course of study you’re taking though, that what’s important. Studies have shown that if you enjoy the degree that you’re pursuing, you’ll do better in it. Your grade point average will be higher, and we all know how admission committees think about high grade point averages.
Taking the LSAT
The next step to law school is taking thee LSAT, otherwise known as the Law School Admission Test. The admission committees of the schools that you apply to take notice of LSAT test scores too. The LSAT is a three-hour test of your abilities in problem solving, reading comprehension, analytical reasoning and logical reasoning. The test consists of four 35-minute sections of multiple-choice questions, along with an unscored experimental section. You won’t know which part is experimental though, so you need to perform at your highest level for this exam. Then, there’s also a thirty-minute essay portion of the test. You’ll want to do well on this too. Although it’s not scored either, it’s sent to the schools that you apply at, and it’s considered in their entrance decision. You’ll want to take a class on how to take this test. That class can boost your scores by up to 10 points, and that 10 points can make a world of difference to an admission committee. Several commercially operated classes are in existence. Don’t take the cheapest class. Take the best class.
How to Apply for the LSAT
Applications to take the LSAT are processed online. A $215 application fee is also paid online to the Law School Admissions Council. The LSATs are given on Saturdays and Mondays in November, January and March at a minimum of five locations. About three weeks after taking your test, you’ll get your results in the mail. The only ABA accredited law school in New Mexico is the University of New Mexico. LSAT results range from a low of 120 to a high of 180. The average LSAT score at University of New Mexica was 154.
Applying to Law School
Now that the LSAT has been finished, the next step to becoming a lawyer is to apply to law school. Don’t just apply to the University of New Mexico. There are more than 200 accredited schools scattered across the LSAC Official Guide to ABA Approved Law Schools. Apply only to accredited law schools. The law school that you apply to doesn’t need to be in New Mexico to be accredited.
The Credential Assembly Service
The Credential Assembly Service will be of great help in collecting, authenticating and sending transcripts, letters of recommendation and the like to the law schools that you apply to. Just register online and pay the fee of $215. Registration is good for up to five years, and it also covers preparation of law school records for up to five years. Use of the CAS is mandatory.
Law School Classes
Your next step in becoming a lawyer is to register for law school classes. The University of New Mexico requires you to take the following classes. This list isn’t exclusive either: Constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, torts, real property, corporations, business entities, Indian law, wills and trusts and secured transactions. There will be elective time too for subjects of special interest. You’ll likely be required to complete an internship program in any number of programs. You’ll be graded on those internships, so be certain to do well on them.
Taking the Bar Exam
New Mexico gives the Uniform Bar Exam. The bar exam consists of the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). Completion of the bar exam takes two days. The first day consists of six 30-minute written questions. Also to be completed on Day 1 are two MPT questions in the afternoon. The second day is devoted exclusively to the MBE which consists of 200 multiple choice questions. There will be 100 in the morning session and another 100 in the afternoon session. Remember that you must also pass the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam before being admitted to the bar. A passing score is 75 or above. In July of 2022, there was a 78% total off passers.
You’re finally seeing a return in your effort and hard work. You’ll be notified of the time and place of your swearing in ceremony. Then, its congratulations! You’re a lawyer now. You can practice anywhere in the trial and appellate courts of the State of New Mexico without restriction.