There were about 75,000 active attorneys in Texas. Two areas were the highest paid. Those were the Houston-Woodlands-Sugarland area at about $176,500 per year and the Dallas-Plano area at about $156,000 per year. Even the average earnings of an attorney in Texas were at about $147,000 per year. There are 24 areas of specialization in Texas, so there’s got to be one for you. If you’d like to become an attorney in Texas, here’s what you need to do.
Get Your Bachelor’s Degree First
The Texas Board of Law Examiners requires you to get your undergraduate degree first. The college or university that you get it from must be accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. Aside from that, there are literally thousands of schools that you can attend. As there is no such degree as a pre-law major, you can major in any study area that you wish. Majors like literature, history, administration of justice or sociology or psychology are all fine, but if you want to major in agriculture or nuclear engineering, that’s also fine. Law school admission committees want to see you be challenged in your choice. That’s because if you’re challenged, you’re grade point average is going to be higher. If your grade point average is higher, you stand a better chance of getting in.
After getting your bachelor’s degree, the next step toward becoming a lawyer is taking the LSAT, otherwise known as the Law School Admission Test. Any person seeking to get into an accredited American Bar Association law school must take the test. It takes about a half-a-day to get through it, and it will cost you $215. You’re forewarned to take a preparatory class before taking the exam. You’ll be competing for a seat in a Texas law school nationally. If you don’t take that class, the person who gets that seat might be from 2,000 miles away. The preparatory class can add on 10 points or more to your score. The LSAT is given four times per year in November, January, March and June. Two of the sections are on logical reasoning with another on analytical reasoning. Yet another is an experimental section, but you won’t know which section that is, so you had better give the LSAT your best effort. Then, there’s a written section on a topic that’s selected by the administrators of the exam. That section isn’t graded either, but it’s sent out to every law school that you apply to.
Scores and Applying
Your scores on the LSAT will range between a low of 120 and a high of 180. You’ll register for the test by contacting the Law School Admission Council. The test costs $215, and $45 per law school that you apply to. You’ll receive your scores about three weeks after taking the exam. The highest pre-law averaged score was 159.8. That was in literature. Of course, there were scores higher and lower than those who studied literature. The ten ABA accredited law schools in Texas follow:
- Baylor University School of Law in Waco
- University of Houston Las School in Houston
- University of North Texas Dallas in Dallas
- Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio
- SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas
- South Texas College of Law in Houston
- University of Texas School of Law in Austin
- Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth
- Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall College of Law in Houston
- Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock
Credential Assembly Service
The Credential Assembly Service handles all of the details in applying to an ABA accredited law school for you. The cost is $215, and it assembles all transcripts, letters of recommendation, evaluations, writing samples and LSAT sores and sends them to the law schools that you apply for. Use of the service is mandatory. Just tell it where you want to apply, and your application will go out for you. The service is valuable and of great convenience to potential law students. Everything is sent out electronically.
The Texas Bar Exam
The Texas bar exam is probably the most important exam you’ll ever take in your lifetime. It’s for that reason that you’ll want to take yet another preparation class for the exam. Just ask your fellow students, and they’ll tell you which test prep course that they’re taking. You’ll be cramming three years of coursework into about six weeks. You take it too, and live and breathe testing materials until you take the bar exam. The bar exam in Texas consists of three parts over two days. The procedure and evidence exam asks you 40 short answer questions Texas evidence and procedure, as well as federal procedure and evidence. The Multistate Performance Test consists of a file of source documents and library of cases, rules and laws from which you perform an assigned task. Those might be a brief, memorandum, letters, agreements or proposed agreements. The Multistate Bar Exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions. There will be 100 in the morning and another 100 in the afternoon. In addition to these exams, you must also take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam with a passing scaled score of 85 or above. This part of the bar exam may be taken in law school.
Applying for the Exam
When you’re ready to apply to take the Texas bar exam, you can do so through your account with the Texas Board of Law Examiners. Notify them if you wish to use your laptop, as there will be a charge for same along with a special test. Check on the charge for taking the exam too, especially if you’re an out-of-state student. Make sure that all items sought on your application are sent. After taking the bar exam, you’ll get your results in about eight or nine weeks.
The passing rate on the Texas bar in 2021 held steady at about 71%. If you’re one of the lucky ones, congratulations, you’re a lawyer now! You’re now licensed to practice in any state court anywhere in Texas. That last step of the bar exam was well worth it.