It’s never too soon to plan for your future. Identifying your preferred career field ensures you know what credentials you’ll need and meet the admissions requirements for suitable postsecondary programs.
Teenagers who enjoy researching topics, have strong writing skills, and are interested in the law might be interested in becoming a lawyer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that lawyers took home median annual salaries of $126,930 in 2020 and expect steady job growth for lawyers between 2020 and 2030, making this a great career option. Let’s look at how teens interested in becoming lawyers can prepare for legal careers.
Talk to your school counselor or a college admissions counselor.
School and college admissions counselors can provide critical information that may influence your academic decisions in high school. They’ll ensure you know which courses you must take to impress college admissions boards. Your counselor will also identify other ways to strengthen your college applications, such as engaging in volunteer and extracurricular activities.
Your counselor will also help you identify suitable postsecondary programs. Lawyers can choose any undergraduate discipline before earning their law degree, but you may want to consider which type of legal practice you wish to pursue. Business lawyers may benefit from earning an undergraduate degree in business administration, while personal injury lawyers may benefit from earning a degree in health administration.
Interview an attorney.
You may have an opportunity to interview a lawyer for a school assignment. Talking to an attorney such as Malliha Wilson is a great way to learn about this profession. Malliha graduated from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in 1981 and has decades of experience. You can discuss her role as a government lawyer, working as the Ontario government’s Senior Appellate Litigation Counsel and Assistant Deputy Attorney General. You can also learn about her role as senior partner of Nava Wilson LLP, where she handles complex cases dealing with corporate, human rights, and labour law. Talking to Malliha can help you decide which legal specialty you want to pursue.
Complete an internship.
Completing an internship enables you to gain practical experience and ensures you’re pursuing the right career. Your school counselor or a college admissions counselor can help you secure an internship at a law firm. Working in the field will strengthen your college applications, demonstrating your interest in a legal career. You’ll also form industry connections to help you secure employment when you graduate.
Develop your leadership skills.
Lawyers benefit from having strong leadership skills. They must be self-motivated, capable of developing effective legal strategies for their clients, and direct paralegals, legal assistants, and investigators to perform relevant tasks. The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) has an Ambassadors leadership program for high school students. NSHSS Ambassadors promote NSHSS and scholarship opportunities. Continue honing your skills by joining the NSHSS Collegiate Council once you enter college.
Apply for scholarships.
Aspiring lawyers must complete seven years of postsecondary studies before they qualify to take the bar exam and receive their law license. Although you can take out student loans to cover your academic costs, you don’t have to repay scholarships. The National Honor Scholarship Society provides detailed information about numerous scholarships you can pursue. While some scholarships reward applicants for their academic excellence, other scholarships recognize artistic excellence, leadership skills, and public service. You may qualify for multiple scholarships, and since you’ll need funds to cover several years of postsecondary studies, you’ll benefit from applying for all scholarships you’re qualified to pursue.
Start saving money.
Save the money earned from part-time jobs and internships to ensure you have the money you need to pay for college. Discuss financial aid options with your school counselor and apply for student loans to cover your college expenses.
Teens can take several steps to prepare for their legal careers. Teens benefit from honing relevant skills, learning how to finance their college studies, and gaining practical experience.