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How to Become a Lawyer

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(I)The law is a prestigious profession and offers exciting opportunities for ambitious individuals to make a real contribution to society. However, legal qualification does not come easy. Studying law is interesting, but demanding. It requires real commitment and stamina. To become a lawyer requires a great deal of education and dedication. In the US a law degree ranks among the toughest academic programs available.

(II) In the US there is one training program that all lawyers complete. They have graduated from high school, college and law school. The first step to become a lawyer is completing high school. If you plan to become a lawyer take advantage of classes and activities that help you develop writing, reading comprehension and public speaking skills. A lawyer must be able to tell a story clearly and present his arguments in a way that convinces the audience that the lawyer is correct.

(III) The next step is a four-year college degree. No particular major is required to become a lawyer. Many college students who want to become lawyers select traditional liberal arts majors, such as history, literature or philosophy. Other students choose majors to prepare them to specialize in a particular area of law, such as technology, medicine, art, the environment, finance, government or other areas. However, there are courses which will be helpful to anyone desiring to enter law school. Courses such as logic, philosophy can help to develop organized thinking patterns. Courses such as composition, which develop a good facility with language may also be useful. Other courses which might prove helpful are political science, government, accounting and psychology. Also courses that require analytical thinking, would be valuable. The most important things college student can develop, are good study habits and discipline necessary to the demands of law school.

(IV) To get into law school, you must take the national Law School Admission Test (LSAT). LSAT is designed to measure skills that are essential for success in law school: the ability to read and comprehend complex texts, organize information and draw reasonable inference from it, ability to think critically, and analyze and evaluate the reasoning and arguments of others. Law schools review your LSAT score and college grades when you apply for admission.

(V) It takes three years to complete law school if you attend full time. Some law schools offer night or part-time programs. In the first year of law school students generally are required to take broad introductory topics. These may include torts, contracts, criminal law, civil procedure, property, and constitutional law. In their second and third years, students can take advocacy and clinical courses that allow them to polish their lawyering skills.

(VI) Typical classes in American law schools contain between 100 and 150 students. American law schools use the “case method”. Students study casebooks that contain actual court decisions in the particular area of law (e.g., contracts, torts) together with commentary useful for class discussion and further understanding of the subject. Moreover, most law professors don’t lecture the students, but engage them in a dialogue. By asking questions about legal concepts and principles, the professor challenges students to articulate and defend their positions. Known as the Socratic method, this dialogue presents students with questions, to which there are no easy answers, regarding some of the most complex legal and social problems. This method prepares students to think in front of an audience, taking everything into account, when the stakes are high in the courtroom, legislative chamber, or boardroom.

(VII) When students graduate from law school, they will receive a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. After law school you must pass the bar exam in the state where you want to work. You will also have to take and pass a national legal ethics exam and take an oath of office. With the oath, the new lawyer becomes subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct. A violation of these rules can cause the lawyer to be suspended or disbarred from the practice of law. Once you have passed both exams, the state gives you a license to practice law in that state.


EXERCISE 3. Skim the text and make up a list of skills that are essential for success in law school.

EXERCISE 4.Read the text and answer the following questions:

1. What are the stages of legal training program in the US?

2. What are the most important things students can develop while at college?

3. What is LSAT?

4. What topics are students required to take in the first year of law school?

5. What teaching methods are used in American law schools?

6. What is the “case method”?

7. What is the Socratic method?

8. What exams does a person have to take after law school to practice law?


EXERCISE 5. Read the text carefully, and complete the sentences given below.


1. To become a lawyer __________ a great deal of education and dedication.

2. A lawyer must be able to tell a story clearly and present his arguments in a way that __________ the audience that the lawyer is correct.

3. LSAT measures your ability to read and __________ complex texts and draw reasonable _________ from it.

4. A lawyer must be able to think critically, analyze and evaluate the reasoning and ________ of others.

5. Law school professors often ________ students to articulate and ________ their positions.

6. After law school you must pass the ________ exam in the state where you want to work.

7. A lawyer can be ________ or disbarred from the practice of law for a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.


EXERCISE 6. Using the paragraph reference given in brackets, find words in the text which have a similar meaning to:

- competence, skill (I)

- dedication, devotion (I)

- energy, resistance, power(I)

- attorney (II)

- understanding, realization (II)

- reason, defense (II)

- main subject of study (III)

- model, method (III)

- logical, well-thought-out, credible (IV)

- logical conclusion, deduction (IV)

- logic, thinking (IV)

- judgment, verdict, conclusion (VI)

- ask, invite, request, provoke (VI)

- support, justify, explain, protect (VI)

- to express ideas clearly, verbalize (VI)

- railing, barricade (VII)

- exclude, forbid, prohibit (VII)


EXERCISE 7. Put the words into the right order (subject-verb-object) to make up sentences.


1. lawyers, training, all, complete, in, the US, program, one.

2. you, to pass, required, law school, the bar exam, are, after.

3. used, and, the Socratic method, are, the “case method”, law schools, American, in.

4. are, some, and, part-time, law schools, there, night, programs, in.

5. is, to learn, cases, studying, the “case method”, specific, general, principles, legal.


EXERCISE 8.Make up sentences using the following words and word combinations:

require, training program, academic program, high school, college, law school, complete, argument, reasoning, be helpful, useful, valuable, demand, challenge, articulate, the bar exam, suspend, practice.



EXERCISE 9. Using the paragraph reference given in brackets, find in the text the English equivalents for these Russian expressions.

- самая сложная академическая программа (I)

- воспользоваться (II)

- умение понять смысл прочитанного (II)

- умение делать публичное выступление (II)

- представлять доводы (II)

- убедить аудиторию (II)

- навыки важные для достижения успеха (IV)

- делать логически-обоснованные заключения, выводы (IV)

- мыслить аналитически, рассуждать критически (IV)

- оценивать обоснования, доводы других (IV)

- вовлекать в диалог (VI)

- юридические понятия и принципы (VI)

- ясно выражать и защищать позицию (VI)

- сдать адвокатский квалификационный экзамен (VII)


EXERCISE 10.Translate the text HOW TO BECOME A LAWYER into Russian.


EXERCISE 11. Read the text given below. Make up questions that may lead to further classroom discussion. Ask your questions to your classmates.




Students in the USA usually attend a four-year college and obtain a degree such as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.). When students graduate from law school, they will receive a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Students will then usually take the bar examination somewhere in the United States. Bar examination is a mandatory examination given in each state which law graduates must pass before they may practice law. They may return to law school later to pursue a Master of Laws degree (LLM) in a particular subject such as international law, intellectual property law, or tax. There are other advanced law degrees available from a few schools. Very few people in the US have these advanced degrees, which may be known as a Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) or a Doctor of Judicial Science (S.J.D.)


EXERCISE 12. Translate the given passage into Russian.


В США выпускники средних школ не имеют права поступать в юридические школы, не пройдя обучение в колледже. Выбор специальности в колледже для получения степени бакалавра не является принципиальным. Предполагается, что курс обучения в колледже дает возможность студентам развить свои аналитические и коммуникативные способности. Обычно будущие юристы выбирают такие курсы как: английский язык, коммуникация, философия, история, логика, социология, психология, информатика. Для поступления в юридическую школу будущему юристу необходимо иметь степень бакалавра наук в любой области и успешно сдать тест для поступающих в юридическую школу. После завершения обучения в юридической школе, выпускникам присваивается юридическая степень доктора юриспруденции.



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