Steps to Becoming a Lawyer in Ohio

Ohio has produced eight Presidents, and it’s the seventh most densely populated state in the country. The state is named after the Seneca Indian word meaning good river. Toledo, Cleveland, Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati are just a few of its storied cities. Noted Ohioans include Zane Grey, Roy Rogers, Steven Spielberg and the original Warner Brothers before they moved their studio to California. Both John Glenn and Neil Armstrong are from Ohio too. You can become a lawyer in Ohio. Just follow these steps and continue to read.

Get Your Bachelor’s Degree First

The Office of Bar Admissions of the Supreme Court of Ohio has implemented the rules regarding the accrediting of colleges and universities. It lists six different entities that can approve of a college or university. What they all agree upon is that your degree is required to end with a bachelor’s degree. The major is entirely up to you as there is no pre-law major, but some coursework might prepare you better for the future. This would include political science, government, written and oral communications, business and social studies. Law school admission committees just want to see you happy with your major interest though. Anything from accounting to marine biology will do. That’s because students with a major that challenging, generally do better. That grade point average could make the difference.

Take the LSAT

The next step in becoming a lawyer in Ohio is to take the LSAT, known as the Law School Admission Test. The LSAT is a 3.5-hour test that has nothing to do with the practice of law. It’s more of an aptitude test than anything else that measures how well you might do in law school. As your graded on a national scale, you’re competing for a spot in either one of nine accredited law schools in Ohio, or approximately 200 others in the United States. It’s strongly recommended that you take a preparation class for the LSAT, not so much on what’s on the exam, but for how to take it. You can still work in Ohio if you want to from any of the other schools. Just ask around, and you’ll find the right prep class. Here’s what the LSAT looks like:

  • Logical Reasoning: Each section is about 35 minutes in length. There are two sections. You’ll be asked to analyze statements for errors in logic.
  • Analytical Reasoning: You’ll be asked about 24 questions with 35 minutes to complete the section. You’re asked to complete complicated legal puzzles and games.
  • Reading Comprehension: You’ll have about 35 minutes to answer perhaps 27 questions. You’ll read complicated passages, and then, you’ll answer questions about them.
  • Experimental Section: This section consists of one of the three above sections, but you won’t know which one it is. It could count on your score though, so do your best on it.
  • Writing Sample: You have 30 minutes to complete this task. Your writing sample isn’t graded, but it does go to every law school that you apply to. You want to do well on this.

The Registration Procedure

You register to take the LSAC through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Tests are administered in November, January and March. Tests are given on Monday and Saturday at a cost of $215. They’ll be given at a minimum of 10 locations throughout Ohio. You’ll get your results about three weeks after the tests are given. The lowest score is 120 and the highest is 180. Historically, the law schools with the highest scores are The Ohio State University and the Case Western University School of Law. On the lower end of the scale are the University of Dayton and Capital University Law School, but still, these schools were in the high 140s.

The Credential Assembly Service

As you scored respectably on your LSAT, the next step is to begin applying to law schools. You can’t do that without the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) though. It’s mandatory. The CAS is who you go through to apply at more than 200 accredited las schools in the country. The service costs $195, and CAS  gathers your transcripts, letters of recommendation, evaluations, writing samples and LSAT scores and sends them to every law school you’ll apply to at $45 each.

Your Curriculum

Classes that you must take in your course of studies are strenuous. They include but aren’t limited to the following: Contracts, constitutional law, civil procedure, criminal law and procedure, evidence, torts, real property and Uniform Commercial Code. Aside from those classes and electives, you’ll likely be required to participate in an internship. You’ll be graded on it, so do well. You’re also required to register with the Office of Bar Admissions by November 15, the second year of law school. Your fee of $75 for taking the bar is also due then. Take notice of these requirements.

Passing the Ohio Bar Exam

Now that you’ve earned your Juris Doctorate, you next step is to take the Ohio bar exam. You’ll want to take a prep class for this too. Just ask other third year law students which class they’re taking, and take it too. Devote every waking hour to this prep class. Ohio administers the Uniform Bar Exam. The exam is two and a half days in length. On the first day, you’ll answer six essay questions in the morning and then, in the afternoon, you’ll be drilled on the Multistate Performance Test. On the second day, you’ll focus on the Multistate Bar Exam consisting of 200 multiple choice questions. There are 100 in the morning, and another 100 in the afternoon. On the morning of the third day, you’ll write answers to another six essay questions. Don’t forget the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam either. You must pass this with a scaled score of 85 or above before you can be admitted to practice law in Ohio. In 2022, 80% of all people who took the exam passed, with 21% taking the bar for a second time.

At the latest, you should receive word on how you did on the bar exam with 12 weeks of taking it. If you passed, you’ll be given instructions on when you’re sworn in. Then, its congratulations! You’re a lawyer now. You’ll be licensed to practice throughout all state courts in Ohio.