How Long Does it Take to Become a Lawyer, Cost, & Salary

Okoma V.
11 Min Read

Becoming a lawyer can take you a lot of years in school, but bet me, it is worthwhile. Because most people who pursue a career as a lawyer, generally take the traditional path of earning a bachelor’s degree followed by three years of law school.

The amount of time it will actually take to become a lawyer depends on whether you attend full-time school and pass the necessary exam from the first attempt.


However, not all states set the same requirements for law, so choosing one state over another can have a serious impact on the time it takes you to become a lawyer.

In this case, I am going to give you a breakdown of how long it will take to become a lawyer, schools needed for law, average LSAT score, Average Required GPA for law school, subjects needed to become a lawyer, lawyer salary, and more.

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But before then, Let’s identify who a lawyer is…


Who is a Lawyer?

A lawyer is a person who is licensed to practice law, and whose obligation it is to uphold the law while also protecting their client’s rights.

Certain duties related to a lawyer include: providing legal advice and counseling, researching and collecting information or evidence, writing legal documents related to divorces, wills, contracts, and real estate transactions, and prosecuting or defending a court.

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What is the average LSAT score?

The average LSAT score is about 150, but if your focus is to get into one of the top law schools, your score should be over 160.

There are about 101 questions in each test, and each question answered correctly accounts for one point of your raw score.

This raw score (0 – 101) is converted into a score ranging from 120 to 180 using a formula that is designed for that particular LSAT.


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For instance, a raw score of 99 out of 101 would usually translate into a 180.

What is the average GPA for law schools?

The average GPA for law schools would never go below  2.95 – 3.0. In general, there are more students with high GPAs than with high LSAT scores.

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This is because, there are more students to go around with a less severe drop-off in GPAs than you see with LSATs, as you go down the rankings.

In this case, no top 100 school has a median GPA below 3.0, and only two schools have 25th percentile GPAs below 3.0.


How Long is Law School?

Typically, Law school does not exceed 3 years. But the question is, why does studying law take up to 7 years.

The answer to that question varies, depending on the path a law student chooses to take. The first step in the educational timeline starts when obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

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A law student might take a path that would fasten the process while others would take a path that slows the process of becoming a lawyer.

Many students will select a typical program from a college or university that can be completed in four to five years as a full-time student.

But if this student can’t attend a full-time program, then it will obviously affect how long it takes for the student to complete their educational program.


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There are also educational programs that can fast-track a bachelor’s degree as well as degree completion programs for students with community college credits.

Another factor is the students’ GPA. A low GPA may slow the highly competitive law school acceptance process. You may calculate CAS Law GPA

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How much does it cost to become a lawyer?

The cost of becoming a lawyer varies depending on where you study. Tuition and fees across institutions vary, and the price of books, food, housing, and supplies are just as variable.

Here is a breakdown of average costs by institution type:



$49,095 Tuition & Fees


National Student

$27,591 Tuition & Fees

International Student

 $40,725 Tuition & Fees


According to U.S. News, the average annual cost of public law school out-of-state is $40,725 compared to private law school at $49,095, while public in-state is $27,591. Even for the least expensive option, in-state public law school, the cost over three years is $82,773.

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Therefore, The total cost to become a lawyer over three years is $82,773 for in-state, public law school, while it would cost $147,285 for private law school. Although the cost may increase a bit.

How much is a lawyer’s salary?

While becoming a lawyer is a time-consuming process, requiring unwavering commitment, it is also financially satisfying and socially fulfilling.

According to BLS, the median salary of a lawyer is $120,910, with the top ten percent earning more than $208,000 per year.

How long does it take to become a lawyer in the UK?

In order to become a lawyer in the UK, you have to understand that lawyers in the UK are divided into solicitors and barristers and there are multiple paths to becoming any of these. This is the direct entry and the non-law graduate entry.


Direct Entry Path


In order to become a Solicitor through direct entry, it will take you about 6 – 7 years to complete. Firstly, you will need to take the LL.B. (Hons), which is the qualifying degree in law – 3 years.

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Next, you will take a Legal Practice Course (LPC) – 2 years normally, but 1-year ‘fast-track‘ for First Class and Upper Second Class degree holders.

After, you then have to join a law firm for 2 years as an articled clerk to qualify as a fully-fledged junior lawyer.


Another is barrister, In order to become a barrister through direct entry, it will take you up to 5 years. Which is 3 years of LL.B. (Hons) qualifying law degree, take the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT).


Next, take Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC, among other names) – 1 year generally nowadays but increasingly 2 years, ‘Pupillage’ under a practicing barrister – 1 year.

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Successful entry into one of the four Inns of Court during the BPTC or the pupillage. Successful admission to the Bar Council (or equivalent) of England and Wales, or Scotland, or Northern Ireland.

Non-law graduate entry

So, to become a Solicitor through Non-law graduate-entry, it will take you about 10 – 12 years to complete. Firstly, you would complete a non-law undergraduate degree – 3 years, in the UK. Next, you would take a Graduate Diploma in Law (CPE/GDL) – 2 years followed by the direct entry path above.

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How long does it take to become a criminal lawyer?

To be a criminal lawyer, it’s important for you to be able to thrive under pressure while working on fast-paced cases. Because of the nature of criminal law, you must enjoy a challenge and be able to think on your feet.


Therefore, if you want to become a criminal law solicitor, you can spend a few days at a solicitor’s office or attend the open day/vacation scheme of a law firm with a criminal law department.

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And if you want to become a criminal law barrister, you can shadow a barrister in the field or carry out a mini-pupillage.

Thereupon, universities provide a fantastic experience for their students in pro bono initiatives giving free legal advice to those who cannot afford legal aid. This type of experience can be invaluable for improving the types of skills that are necessary for a career in criminal law.

What subjects do you need to become a lawyer?

Becoming a lawyer is no cakewalk. It takes a lot of time, effort, and intelligent choices to begin a career in law.

Start by selecting the right classes. Even though you don’t need any specific ones to get into law school, certain subjects can help your chances. Becoming a lawyer is no easy task, but a comprehensive education will ensure a sweet career.


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To become a lawyer according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you need to pass classes in English, public speaking, government, history, economics, and mathematics.

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