Amy C. Marshall Provides an Overview of the Educational Paths for Prospective Attorneys

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As a successful attorney, Amy C. Marshall is consistently asked questions regarding the educational paths for those who are seeking careers as attorneys at law. She mentions that the path is a long one, however, it helps prospective attorneys better refine their legal skills and set up a foundation for success in their respective areas of expertise along the way.

While there are a variety of paths that attorneys can take, here Ms. Marshall includes details about the traditional educational pathway for becoming an attorney in a majority of states.

1. Bachelor’s degree

Receiving a degree from a four-year college is the first step in the process of becoming an attorney. According to Amy C. Marshall, attorney, it is possible to major in any area of interest. Prospective attorneys will often major in areas that reflect their legal interests.

For example, pursuing a degree in environmental studies for environmental law or business for business law can be helpful but it is far from a requirement. People may also choose majors that reinforce skills that will be utilized later in law school such as critical reading and thinking, writing, and research. Common majors that include these skills are political science, history, sociology, philosophy, etc.


The LSAT is necessary for acceptance into most law schools. The exam is around three and a half hours, consisting of around 100 multiple choice questions that span logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, and an unscored writing portion. The LSAT is a difficult exam, which explains why it is so dreaded by prospective attorneys, but it needs to be tough to properly assess one’s ability to succeed in law school.

The exam is scored on a scale of 120 to 180 with the average score sitting around 150. Top programs will prefer scores in the 170-175 range, and many schools will average scores if an applicant has taken the exam multiple times. This means that it is best practice to study as much as possible before taking the exam.

Amy C. Marshall, attorney, mentions that some law school programs will accept the GRE in place of the LSAT. With this in mind, it is a good idea to check which exam your preferred schools will accept ahead of starting the studying process.

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3. Law School

After receiving a satisfactory score on the LSAT, it is time to prepare for studies at an accredited law school to receive a Juris Doctorate. Most law schools have three year programs that aim to prepare prospective attorneys on various legal processes. Typically, curriculum will start with less specific subject matter before branching off into more specific areas of expertise based on the interest of the student.

The latter half of law school is where students are able to focus on specialized courses to learn about areas such as environmental law, bankruptcy law, tax law, family law, civil law, and other specialties. Amy C. Marshall, lawyer, notes that there will undoubtedly be some tough classes in law school, but staying on the course is critical. Reminding yourself of your passion for law and drawing motivation from your goals can be extremely helpful for surviving law school.

4. Passing the Bar

The Bar exam can differ from state to state, but one thing that each will have in common is that it will test prospective attorneys on their legal knowledge, competency, and skills through a variety of multiple choice questions, essays, and exercises. The exam is usually two days, with the first including six 30-miute essays and the next featuring questions that test one’s knowledge of state law.

The Bar may also include the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) which is, in essence, an ethics exam.

Passing the bar is something that every aspiring attorney wants to do, but it is not an easy process. After taking the exam, board examiners will weigh out factors such as one’s character (as noted through the ethics exam), education, competence, and ability to practice law in the respective state. Granted all of these pan out, a candidate will be accepted into the bar and receive licensure.

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Honing Your Craft as an Attorney

After schooling and the bar is completed, an attorneys job is far from done. It is now time to branch off on one’s career path and really make a name for oneself in the legal field. One of Amy’s favorite things about the legal sector is that it is constantly evolving, which means that staying on the cutting-edge is a never-ending process. Even after traditional education, there is always more to learn!

The best way to really set oneself apart is to draw inspiration from gaining more knowledge. The most successful attorneys are constant students of their areas of expertise and take advantage of opportunities to learn new skills, hone old ones, and ultimately keep growing as professionals.