Lawyers are highly paid professionals. Though studying law takes a number of years and lot of effort goes into it, once established all the hard work pays rich dividends. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, a lawyer in employment, on an average, earns in excess$125000. Lawyers in private practice have the potential to earn even more. Studying international law is even more lucrative. An international lawyer practices international law on trade and business or criminal cases.
Becoming an international lawyer is not easy. It’s a hard grind and requires a lot of hard work and devotion. To become an international lawyer all aspiring students need to go through the below mentioned six essential steps.
Undergraduate Degree Program
The basic educational requirement to get admission in a law school is to have bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in any field of study can apply for admission in a law school; there is no requirement of a degree in a specific field. However, getting a degree in international studies would certainly help in your endeavour to become an international lawyer as such programs can give a strong foundation in international matters. Also, learning a foreign language, any prominent language of the world, can be an advantage as it can help you in your conversation with professionals from other countries whose native language is not English. Learning a foreign language also gives you an insight into their traditions and culture.
Take the LSAT
All law schools admit students based on their Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores. Generally, students take the LSAT during the junior year of their undergraduate course. Many colleges offer preparatory courses for those who wish to pursue law as their career. These courses provide information about the test format and give tips to properly take the test.
The LSAT is a half day exam focusing on analytical reasoning, critical thinking and reading and comprehension skills. A good LSAT score is crucial for getting admission in a premier law school.
Graduate from Law School
Law schools offer three year full time course. First year curriculum focuses on basic laws, such as contracts, property laws, torts , constitutional law etc. In second and third students are allowed to choose their elective subjects. In their third year students can attend judicial internship or on the job training.
Some schools allow students to focus their studies on international law. These include courses in comparative law, comparative legal cultures, international sales and trade, foreign policy, and multinational business. Whether or not you do a concentration in international law, doing an elective study in the same can give you a sound understanding of the subject. Some of the elective subjects you can choose from the field of international law include advanced international business law, arbitration of international disputes, international legal research, and international children's rights. Studying these subjects will give you strong base to foray into international law practice.
The BLS has mandated that lawyers be licensed to practice. Each state conducts its own bar exam passing which is compulsory to get a license to practice in that state. Additionally, you are required to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam and get admitted to a state’s bar association before you get the license to practice. Although the format of the bar exam of different states are different, the exams generally consist of subjective as well as multiple choice questions.
Passing the exam in first attempt is important and for that you need good preparation. So you need to start preparing for the bar exam while still in law school. There are some companies that offer preparatory courses for taking the exam. The courses generally provide instructions on the subjects and techniques to take the test.
Work as an International Lawyer
After getting the license try joining a government agency or a private firm that hire lawyers to practice international law. Quite often the employers expect lawyers to practice other branches of law in addition to international law. However, the experience gained would always stand you in good stead to become an international lawyer.
Consider Earning an LL.M.
After getting your license you may also consider earning Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees. LL.M. programs in international law often focus on specific sectors, such as international business, international human rights, law of international institutions, or public international law
Once you have started practicing international law, it is always advisable to join some international lawyers network as it will give more exposure internationally and help you get more business.