Can You Be a Lawyer Without Going to Law School in the United States

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The possibility of becoming a lawyer without attending law school depends heavily on your location and desired practice area. In most cases, a law degree is a mandatory requirement for taking the bar exam and practicing law. However, there are a few exceptions:

Alternatives to Law School:

Apprenticeship programs: Only a handful of states (currently California, Vermont, Washington, and Virginia) allow you to become a lawyer through an apprenticeship program. This involves studying under a licensed attorney for several years and passing the bar exam.

Reading the law: In California, you can become a lawyer through “reading the law,” which involves independent study and passing the bar exam under a judge’s supervision. However, this option is extremely challenging and rarely pursued.

Important Points to Consider: