The process required to become a cerebral palsy lawyer is similar to pursuing any legal specialty — it requires an education and significant real world experience. Though the road is long, it is well defined and fairly straightforward. Once you have an undergraduate degree, you'll need to go to law school. Lawyers in this field often specialize in medical malpractice, so a background in biology or medicine can help prepare you for this field.
Cerebral palsy lawyers practice a specialized area of law, focusing on medical malpractice suits related birth injuries that cause cerebral palsy. This condition can occur as the result of genetic abnormalities or congenital defects; however, it can also be the result of brain injury caused during the birth process. Children who are victims of medical malpractice may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, permanent disabilities, and pain and suffering. Cerebral palsy lawyers focus on helping these people.
The first step toward this professional career is to attend a college or university with a major in pre-law or a medical-related field. Learning the basics of the law makes sense during this time, but it's also a great opportunity to get a health or medical education as well. This background will likely be of use to you if you're working on medical malpractice cases.
After graduating with a bachelor's degree, those interested in this career should apply to law school. Applicants must have completed the school's pre-requisites before being accepted. This includes taking and performing well on standardized admissions tests, such as the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, in the United States.
It generally takes about three years to earn a law degree. This time will be spent on coursework, internships, and community service. For those who want to become a cerebral palsy lawyer, it's important to find a law school with a reputable medical malpractice program and to apply for clerkships at cerebral palsy law firms. Once they graduate from law school, all lawyers in the United States must pass the bar exam and be licensed in their state. In addition to passing a state bar exam, most states require candidates to also pass the Multistate Bar Exam.
Once you've passed the bar, to become a cerebral palsy lawyer you'll want to look for a position at a law firm with a specialty area in medical malpractice and cerebral palsy. It is possible to become board certified through the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), in this specialized area of law. Having this certification can help show your clients that you're dedicated to this field.
The ABPLA is unique in the United States, providing certification for attorneys in medical and legal malpractice. In order to become board-certified through this organization, lawyers must be in good standing with their state bar association, spend at least five years practicing in the medical malpractice field, and complete at least 36 hours of continuing legal education in medical professional liability. Applicants must also provide character references from three judges and three attorneys in the medical malpractice field. Cerebral palsy attorneys should also consider joining respected state and national associations such as The American Association for Justice, formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
Accruing the knowledge and experience to become a cerebral palsy lawyer is time-consuming. It requires diligent study, but also experiential learning in the way of an apprenticeship or internship. Find experienced, trustworthy mentors to make your efforts worthwhile.