Oregon expects at least a 5% increase in jobs for lawyers in the next five years, and the average lawyer earns about $120,000 per year there. About 850 lawyers will be needed, and another 3,500 will be replaced by 2030. The state’s population is primarily in the Willamette Valley with Eugene to the south and Corvallis to the north. Salem, the capital, is one of the 10 fastest growing cities in the country. The future looks pretty good in Oregon right now. If you want to become a lawyer there, Oregon is the place for you. Here’s what you need to do to become a lawyer there.
Get a Pre-Law Major
If you plan on attending an American Bar Association accredited law school, you’ll need to attend an undergraduate school that is certified by the U.S. Department of Education. You don’t even need to take any special coursework, but we’d recommend classes in literature, political science, sociology, psychology and communications. You need not have a special major either, especially as there is no such thing as a pre-law degree. You can major in anything from mechanical engineering to design. Admission committees want your major to be challenging. That’s because if it’s challenging, you’re having fun. If you’re having fun, your grade point average is going to be satisfactory for law school. Admission committees will like that.
LSAT is an acronym for Law School Admission Test. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the law, but it’s a good predictor of how well you might do in law school. As you’re competing for a seat nationally, you’ll want to take a class in preparing for the exam. Commercial classes are out there, stake one. You’ll find that by taking that advice, your scores will be higher, and admission committees will look more favorably on your application. Here’s the typical LSAT format:
- Analytical Reasoning: Four logic problems will be followed by four to eight questions testing your abilities on what can be logically inferred or directly stated. This counts for 25% of the exam.
- Logical Reasoning: These questions present your ability to identify the main point of an argument and draw conclusions and identify logical errors. This portion is 50% of the examination.
- Reading Comprehension: You must read four passages of about 600 words each. You’ll identify conclusions, the structure of a passage and what words mean. This portion is 25% of the exam.
- Experimental Section: This could be any of the above three sections, but they’re not going to tell you. They won’t tell you that it’s not graded either, but you still won’t know which one it is. It’s important to do well on every part of the exam.
- Essay Writing: This isn’t graded either, but what you write goes to every law school that you apply to. It’s important to write your essay clearly and succinctly.
How to Apply for the LSAT
You’ll apply through the Law School Admission Council. The cost is $195. The test is given at eight locations throughout the state in November, January, March, June and July on Saturdays and Mondays. It takes about and a half hours. Scores are at a low of 120 and a high of 180. You’ll receive your score about three weeks after taking the exam. There are three ABA accredited law schools in Oregon. The law school and their typical LSAT scores follow:
- Lewis & Clark Law School 158
- University of Oregon Las School 161
- Willamette Law School 154
Credential Assembly Service
If you’ve gone this far, you probably scored well on the LSAT. Your next step is likely going to be through the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). For a fee of $215, the Credential Assembly Service gets all of your transcripts, letters of recommendation and evaluations, LSAT scores and writing samples and send them to every law school that you apply to. The cost for sending them to the law schools is $45 per school. Use of the CAS is mandatory, and you’ll find that it’s considerably easier using them too.
Law School Course Requirements
Any ABA accredited law school will require you to take the following classes. This list is not exclusive| Contracts, torts, civil law and procedure, criminal law and procedure, Uniform Commercial Code, constitutional law, legal ethics, real property wills and trusts. There will be time for electives. Note that you’ll also be required to perform an internship. That job will be graded, so it’s best to perform as well as possible.
Taking the Oregon Bar Exam
Your next step in becoming a lawyer is to sit for the Oregon bar exam. Much like the LSAT exam, there will be commercial bar exam courses that are available. Find out which one your classmates are taking, and take it too. It’s going to make a world of difference on how you prepare for and perform on the bar exam. Oregon administers the Uniform Bar Exam. It consists of the Multistate Bar Exam, the Multistate Performance Test and the Multistate Essay Exam over two days. The MBE is 200 multiple choice questions, with 100 in the morning and 100 in the afternoon, In the MPT, your provided with a file and a library. You’re to complete a task that measures your skills. The MEE is straight essay exams consisting of six 30-minute written tests. Don’t forget about the Multistate Professional Responsibility exam. You’re to take and pass this exam within two years of being sworn in with a scaled score of 85 or above.
Your Application and Pass Rates
You’re to complete your bar exam application by April 15, for the summer exam and by November 15, for the February exam. Pay attention to all details. You’ll be paying $750 to take the exam. Checks should be payable to the Oregon State Bar. The fee for first time takers was $750. As of the fall of 2022, the pass rate for first time takers was 82%.
Results will be mailed to you about six weeks after taking the exam. Assuming that you pass, you’ll be given instructions on the swearing in ceremony. Then, its congratulations! You’re a lawyer now. You’ll be licensed to practice in all Oregon state courts.