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How do I Become a Constitutional Lawyer?

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  • Written By: Alexis W.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2018
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To become a constitutional lawyer you need to get the right education, become certified to practice law and get relevant legal experience. Becoming a constitutional lawyer generally takes several years of hard work, studying and practice. It begins with getting your bachelor's degree and concludes when you are sworn into the federal court system and begin representing clients on constitutional matters.

The first step to become a constitutional lawyer is to go to a four-year undergraduate institution to get your bachelor's degree. While in college, you can major in any subject, since not all schools have pre-law programs. It might be a good idea, however, to major in political science, philosophy or something related to the law. You also want to make sure you get good grades and participate in extra-curricular activities so you have a strong resume when you apply to law school.

Going to law school is the next step to become a constitutional lawyer. To get in, you will need not only good grades and a bachelor's degree, but also a good score on your law school aptitude test (LSAT). This is a test scored out of 180 points that assesses your ability to solve logical puzzles, interpret what you read and understand principles of arguments.

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During law school, some schools will allow you to focus on constitutional law principles. The actual degree you get isn't different — every law school awards a JD, or juris doctorate, to all graduates. Taking a specialized program in constitutional law if your school offers one will simply get you a certification and a notation on your transcript that can help you get a job practicing constitutional law. Even if your school doesn't offer a specialized program or track, though, you can still take courses in constitutional law and policy while in law school if you want to become a constitutional lawyer.

Upon graduating, the next step is to take the bar exam in your state. This is a closed book exam that tests your knowledge of all areas of law, including the Constitution. It is given on a state by state basis, so you will need to take it where you want to practice. Upon passing, you will take an oath and be sworn in to practice law.

Since the Constitution is a federal law and handled in federal court, you also need to be sworn in to practice in federal court. This requires a recommendation from a lawyer in good standing. Once you have this and have taken your oath, the next step is to begin working for an organization that practices constitutional law. You will need to get this work experience and work for such a firm if you want to become a constitutional lawyer, since those who have constitutional questions will likely go to large and established law firms or public interest networks, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, to bring cases.

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