A custody lawyer is a type of family attorney that specializes in custody cases. This area of law can be exciting for those with a passion for protecting children's rights. Trying to become a custody lawyer requires most of the same steps as any law career, but can be expedited by making careful choices early on in the educational and professional process.
In most regions, aspiring lawyers of any kind need an undergraduate degree, such as a bachelor's degree, before they can attend law school. An undergraduate degree need not be in a law-related subject, though some pre-law specializations do exist for those who have already chosen their career paths. For a person looking to become a custody lawyer, some other interesting major choices may include psychology, social work, and philosophy. Each of these majors can result not only in a degree but a unique education that may help tremendously down the line.
Applying to law school is a rigorous and often stressful part of the path to become a custody lawyer, but it is a necessary step. Take time completing all required application letters, and be sure to find former teachers or professionals that can provide honest but enthusiastic letters of recommendation. Most law schools also require applicants to submit standardized test scores that focus on law, such as the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Experts often recommend studying for these tests for six months to a year before sitting the exam; so be sure to prepare early if planning to go straight from undergraduate work to law school.
While in law school, try to tailor any elective courses toward family law subjects. In order to become a custody lawyer, a young attorney frequently must be conversant in all areas of family law, including divorce law, trusts, estate law, and child abuse cases. A well-rounded education in these subjects can help land a job in a family law firm after graduation, which may be a critical step to specializing as a custody lawyer. During undergraduate schooling and while at law school, it may be advisable to look for internships or even secretarial or assistant jobs with a family law office. Not only can this type of training provide a wealth of insider information, it can also help create a network of professional contacts.
Once law school is complete, it is important to sit and pass any bar examinations relevant to the region. These tests are notably rigorous, even for the best students, and may take hundreds of hours of preparation. Upon passing the bar exam, a lawyer can then start to look for work as a fully qualified attorney that will help him or her become a custody lawyer. Becoming known as a custody specialist will depend on what cases are chosen, expertise on custody issues, and track record of cases. This reputation may take years to establish, but can help turn a desire to help children and families in difficult situations into a satisfying and lucrative career.