What Are the Different Types of Lawyer Qualifications?

Lori Kilchermann

Many lawyer qualifications vary from area to area, but there are some uniform qualifications, such as a four-year undergraduate degree, several years of law school and, in many areas, passing a bar examination. Eloquent speaking and writing habits, clear and concise thinking and research abilities are some of the more common lawyer qualifications. Logical thinking also is a common trait among lawyers. The willingness to work long hours, spend countless hours in a legal library and the ability to handle tremendous amounts of pressure also are qualifications that a potential lawyer typically should possess.

Lawyer qualifications include passing a bar examination.
Lawyer qualifications include passing a bar examination.

Becoming a lawyer is a very time-intensive undertaking for most people. The requirement to obtain a four-year, undergraduate degree before enrolling in law school is only one of the many qualifications that are required of an aspiring attorney. The prospective lawyer typically must register and take an admittance test before being allowed to enroll in law school. Knowledge and patience are some of the lawyer qualifications often required because of the enormous competition for admittance into certain law schools. Other qualifications, such as logical thinking, clear and concise writing skills and the ability to conduct extended amounts of research to put together a case, are all beneficial to a law student.

Lawyers must have excellent research abilities.
Lawyers must have excellent research abilities.

The ability to communicate clearly and understandably is critical to a prospective trial lawyer. Logical thinking also is crucial to any lawyer who is going to examine a witness or listen to the testimony of witnesses. By thinking logically, the lawyer is better able to put together timelines, raise suspicion among jurors and confuse the testimony of an opposition witness. Also among the list of lawyer qualifications is a good memory. A good lawyer must be able to bring up prior testimony when cross-examining a witness in an attempt to discredit the witness.

There are many types of lawyers practicing law around the world. Some of the best lawyer qualifications are acquired from classes and coursework that aspiring lawyers take as undergrad students. Real estate lawyers can often benefit from contract and building code courses, and patent lawyers might benefit from engineering and science courses that can help with the identification of why and how an item operates. Corporate lawyers could be aided by taking international commerce courses and international customs studies to gain knowledge about the types of comments and actions that might be seen as disrespectful by some cultures.

Becoming a lawyer is a very time-intensive undertaking.
Becoming a lawyer is a very time-intensive undertaking.

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Discussion Comments


@Logicfest -- I have known more than a few science majors who have gone on to law school. Some of them have become environmental lawyers. That makes a certain kind of sense, really.

Meanwhile, most lawyers I have talked to have one thing in common. They stink at math. Almost all of them absolutely hated it in school.


One thing that people do not seem to understand about becoming a lawyer is that it does not really matter what degree one pursues in college. Law school is full of people with political science, history, music and art degrees. Oh, and a lot of people with English and business degrees, too.

Yes, you have a lot of pre-law and criminal justice majors, but they are actually in the minority if you look at a few law school surveys that cover those kinds of things (those are freely available -- just run an Internet search).

The only disciplines not represented terribly well in law school are the natural sciences and engineering. Those folks typically go off to do other things.

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