Everything you need to know about becoming a divorce attorney
If you’ve been contemplating a career as an attorney, at some point, you’ll need to choose an area of expertise that will best suit your interests. It helps to figure out what type of lawyer you’d like to specialise in early into law school so that you can take the necessary courses that will be useful in your career. If you’re passionate about listening to people’s problems and guiding them through emotional situations, becoming a divorce attorney could be a career worth considering.
Reports suggest the first quarter of the year brings with it a surge in couples separating or seeking a divorce. Following the strains of 2020, divorce rates are expected to jump in 2021. Quarantine has been a challenging time for even the strongest of couples – for some, it was an experience that pushed them over the edge.
Divorce parties are always in a hurry to get their divorce over with quickly. Divorce proceeding, however, could take three to 12 months to complete. In the meantime, there are often plenty of issues that need to be resolved. This is why a good divorce attorney is usually a person many are willing to pay top dollars for.
What qualifications will you need to become a divorce attorney?
So, what qualifications will you need to become a divorce attorney?
The first step to becoming a divorce attorney is to earn a bachelor’s degree. While there is no required major for law school acceptance, aspiring divorce attorneys might benefit from studying pre-law for a solid foundation in legal concepts and to ensure all prerequisite courses are included in their undergraduate study.
The American Bar Association (ABA) suggests that students engage in multidisciplinary studies that include philosophy, government, mathematics, and English. A degree in sociology, political science, or history would likely fulfil these recommendations.
Additionally, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recommends that aspiring attorneys participate in mock trials hosted by either a school or lawyer’s office. Mock trials allow students to work alongside licensed lawyers and learn how court proceedings work.
Once you’ve earned an undergraduate degree, passing the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) should be your next priority as the exam is part of the law school admissions process in the US.
The exam uses multiple-choice questions to test students’ abilities in logical reasoning, reading comprehension and analytical reasoning.
The programme usually begins with a broad education in law and ends with specialtiy courses; it takes about three years to complete.
Courses usually begin with classes in legal writing, torts, contracts, and constitutional law before moving on to upper-level courses such as family law, where you’ll learn the basics of family discord, divorce settlement, property management, domestic violence, and child custody.
Graduating from law school doesn’t give divorce attorneys the power to practice just yet. Once you’ve completed all the above, you’ll have to pass the state’s bar exam.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) notes that eligibility to take the bar exam comes after completing bachelor’s degree coursework and graduating from law school. The exam is offered twice per year: February and June.
Once status is achieved, it has to be maintained. Continuing education (CE) is required in most states in the US for attorneys to do so. While it ensures these professionals maintain their ability to practice, continuing education can also help them stay up-to-date with current laws and the latest advances in their field.
For those that are willing to undergo the rigorous process of gaining the qualification, the rewards are tremendous. According to BLS, the median annual wage for lawyers was 122,960 US dollars in May 2019 – a figure that is expecting to grow in 2021 and beyond.