What's The Difference Between Lawyer And Attorney
What's The Difference Between Lawyer And Attorney

What's The Difference Between Lawyer And Attorney

What's The Difference Between Lawyer And Attorney – “I have some clients who look at my wall and say, ‘Where did you study law?’ and aren’t too happy with the answer.”

This weekend, thousands of young aspiring lawyers across the country will receive the results of the July 2015 bar exam. Those who succeed are one step closer to exercising the law in their country; those who fail are forced to withdraw from society again, stock up on the books, and wallow in the depths of misery until the next exam in February.

What's The Difference Between Lawyer And Attorney

Nearly all those waiting for results have taken the traditional path to the law firm: They spent three years rigorously studying at an American Bar Association-approved law school. They have completed $5000+ bar exam preparation courses. In the summer they got coffee for prosecutors and corporate lawyers.

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However, a select few have completely bypassed these steps. Several US states offer a little-known alternative path to the bar exam room: “reading the law” — or serving as an apprentice in the office of a practicing attorney or judge.

Last year, out of 83,963 bar exam candidates, only 60 were students. Only 17 managed to pass the bar exam and qualify to practice law. It’s a long, hard road, requiring four years of mentorship and thousands of hours of self-directed work, but once completed, it could save a prospective attorney hundreds of thousands of dollars in law school debt.

Today, in most states, it is required by law to study law and obtain a JD degree to work as a lawyer. But in the expanse of American history, this requirement is relatively new.

In the colonial United States, almost all legal professionals were “imported” from England, where they were trained not through formal education, but through an apprenticeship called the Inns of Court. In this system, those who wanted to practice the law had to contact a lawyer (“barrister”), who would train them.

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By the 1730s, a similar apprenticeship system had emerged in New York: In addition to passing a state-administered bar exam, all U.S. attorneys had to complete a seven-year apprenticeship before being eligible to practice. As told in the Washburn Law Journal, this was a relentless, painstaking endeavor:

“The internship program required a lot of individual study. The mentor attorney was expected to carefully select study materials and guide the clerk in his study of the law to ensure the material was included. The student had to combine his notes on his reading of the law into an “everyday book” that he would try to remember. While those were the ideals, in reality the clerks were often overworked and rarely able to study the law individually as expected. They were often used for tedious tasks, such as making handwritten copies of documents. Finding enough legal texts was also a seriously grueling issue, and there was no standardization in the books assigned to the clerkship students as they were assigned by their mentor, whose opinion of the law can differ greatly from that of his colleagues.

In the early 1800s, colleges began to offer law as an alternative to apprenticeships. But with courses focused on a wide variety of subjects—bible studies, Aristotle, Adam Smith, Montesquieu—the schools didn’t, in fact, do much to prepare students for the bar exam. A number of highly influential historical figures chose to stick with the apprenticeship, most famously Abraham Lincoln:

“If you are absolutely determined to make yourself a lawyer, the case is more than half done,” Lincoln wrote in 1855. “It is a small matter whether you read with someone or not; I haven’t read with anyone…always keep in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than anything.”

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Until the 1870s, a combination of self-study and apprenticeship was the prototype of a lawyer. Then the American Bar Association (ABA) changed everything.

Formed in 1878 by a group of 100 attorneys from 21 states, the ABA frowned upon the self-directed study of the law and called for a “national, unified code of ethics.” Over the following decades, it lobbied tirelessly, convincing almost every state to allow only law students to take the bar exam (and eventually become lawyers).

Today, only four states—California, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington—allow aspiring attorneys to take the bar exam without going to law school. Instead, they are given the opportunity to be apprenticed to a practicing lawyer or judge. (New York, Maine, and Wyoming also offer an apprenticeship alternative, but also require some law school.)

In California, this option is called the “Law Office Study Program” (line 4.29 under the state legal code). All lawyers who wish to opt out of law school must meet the following conditions:

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– Sits in a practicing law firm for 18 hours a week for a period of four uninterrupted years – Passage of the freshman law students exam – Positive moral character determination – Pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam – Pass the California Bar Exam

The first major challenge a law student faces is finding a lawyer willing to take on the job. None of the states that offer the apprenticeship alternative offer any assistance in finding an accompanying attorney: “It can be difficult to find one who takes the responsibility of training a new attorney,” writes The New York Times.

Even assuming a student solves this dilemma, completes four years of independent study, and passes all the preparatory exams, the bar exam is not in his or her favor. An exploration through historical exam data (1996 to 2014) through the National Conference of Bar Examiners reveals a wide variation in pass rates from state to state:

But these numbers represent the results for all test takers, most of whom are law graduates. The numbers for those who follow the learning path are much bleaker.

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Of the 60 students who took the bar exam last year, only 17 (28%) passed, measuring an average pass rate of 73% for students attending ABA-approved universities. Historically, student transfer rates have been slightly better, but still among the worst of all types of education:

Since 1996, 1,142 students have taken the bar exam; only 305 have passed. This can probably be attributed to the nature of an internship: in law firm studies, an apprentice works under one attorney, which usually has a specific focus, while law school covers a much wider range of subjects.

While bar exam pass rates in other states range from 18% to 33%, Washington state has a surprisingly high pass rate at 56%. The Washington State Bar, more than any other state, offers comprehensive support to students who choose to enroll, including a volunteer network that sets study standards and monitors progress. Last year, these resources resulted in 67% of students in Washington passing the bar exam, nearly as high as those graduating from ABA-accredited schools.

After graduating from Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree, Christina Oatfield decided to apprentice at the Law Office Study Program in California instead of going to law school. But only after graduating did she become aware of this option. “The state bar doesn’t really advertise this program,” she says. “There’s info on their website, but you really have to look for it to find it.”

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She is now about halfway through her four-year internship with a lawyer at the Sustainable Law Economies Center, a local non-profit organization.

“I don’t think internships are for everyone,” she admits. “Law studies have structure – tests, deadlines, a classroom environment – ​​and some people need that. But at the same time, I don’t think law school prepares you to practice law, and I gain practical experience every day.’

Apprentice rather than law school also brings clear financial benefits. While most law graduates wallow in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and must take “soul-sucking” corporate jobs to recoup losses, students can enter the profession debt-free and retain the option to take on more humanitarian causes.

“There is very little that would tempt me to put $100,000 or more in debt for a degree,” jokes one law student. Many of his colleagues share this view.

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Law school fees based on tuition + fees at Boalt (UC Berkeley); Student grades are averages obtained through interviews with members of California’s Law Office Study Program

Of course, to these costs (both for law students and undergraduates) comes the bar exam preparation courses, which can run from $1,400 to $15,000, and the cost of the bar exam itself (which varies by state, from $250 to $15,000). 860).

But even when law students successfully pass the bar exam, and are officially equipped to practice law, they must face the degree-obsessed nature of their industry. Most prestigious law firms in America only recruit from top law schools, putting the best positions out of reach for students.

After three years of reading law and passing the Virginia bar exam, Ivan Fehrenbach learned it the hard way.

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