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Passing the bar is the last step before being let loose upon the world as a new attorney. Now the bigger journey of becoming a Westchester Attorney begins, learning how to navigate the court system in Westchester, working with clients on your own for the first time, operating comfortably within the law firm, and starting your overall career. It is an exciting time, but one that can be fraught with uncertainty. Everyone has to start somewhere, go to school, get hired, make the mistakes, learn from them, and go on to become the best possible lawyer that they can be. Here's what you can expect when becoming an attorney in Westchester, New York.

What is an Attorney?

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An attorney, also known as a solicitor, counseloror lawyer, is defined as someone who has learned the law. It's a simple definition, but it denotes the truth. An individual who has become a lawyer now spends their time using their education in pursuit of justice for a variety of purposes.

The role of a lawyer is to interpret the law in a manner in which the court agrees with, regardless of what she is hired to do. A lawsuit can be filed to correct a wrong, maintain status quo, or ensure that justice has been served. These are general concepts which become more refined as the newly fledged lawyer starts her career as an attorney, helping all that seek her services.

What Specific Requirements Does a Westchester Attorney Need in Order to Practice Law?

It takes at least seven years to get a J.D., or Juris Doctor. There are no Bachelor degrees for law in the U.S., which means that a prospective lawyer needs to go through four years of regular schooling to get a Bachelor's, then go on to law school for another two. The undergraduate degree can be in any discipline, although it helps to pursue studies that are aligned with law down the road. Always remember that no matter what the studies are that a high GPA is necessary. Most law schools are looking for students that prove themselves capable of focusing on their studies.

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a requirement to get acceptance into law schools. It's part multiple-choice, part essay, and takes half a day to get through. There are plenty of courses available to help you prepare for the LSAT, so do some research and find which ones are considered to be the best. Being properly prepared for the LSAT helps you get a higher score. Having a high score not only opens the door to law school, it increases your chances of getting into higher-ranked schools in the nation for a quality legal education.

Make sure that the school of your choice is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Any school that is not approved is only going to waste your time. Prepare to spend three years at law school if you are going full time. Attending part-time is going to increase how long it takes to graduate. Once you've finished all of your studies successfully, you are now a holder of a Juris Doctorate degree.

The next step is to take the New York State Bar Exam in order to be able to practice law in Westchester. The fee for taking the bar is $250, and there are additional fees if you want to be able to use a laptop for the essay portion of the exam. More information is available on the New York State Board of Bar Examiner's website.

After passing the bar, it is time to start submitting applications to law firms in Westchester that are hiring in order to start your career as a Westchester attorney.

What Kind of Work Does a Westchester Attorney Expect to Handle?

Once hired, it is time to start handling cases. New lawyers are not necessarily going to handle the heavy cases, but they are going to be taught on how to handle them. Depending on the practice area of the law firm, a new lawyer is going to be handling minor cases with the guidance of a more experienced attorney. Some of the duties can include going to court to handle routine cases that offer the opportunity to get a feel for how the court system in Westchester works.

A lawyer does a lot more than simply go to court and speak, but it is arguably the most important part of the of any case that goes before a judge or jury. The lawyer's job is to work for their client in order to achieve the best possible outcome. This means being able to persuade the decision makers in the courtroom that your argument is superior to the others, and that they should find favor in your direction.

Westchester has many different branches, each of which handles certain types of cases. The lowest courts are in villages, towns and city courts that handle trials for misdemeanors and lesser infractions. They also handle preliminary hearings for felony trials and small claims court actions.

The next step in the chain is the Westchester County Court, which hears felony cases and civil lawsuits with a maximum value of $25,000. Civil lawsuits that are above the $25,000 maximum go to the Westchester Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is a general trial court, and is not to be confused with the highest court in the state. Wills and estates are handled at the Westchester Surrogate's Court, and family matters are found at the Westchester Family Court.

When all is said and done, a legal career is one that can be very satisfying in terms of providing assistance to others in their time of need. It's not an easy profession to get into, but for those who love arguments, enjoy logic, and want to help their fellow man, there is no higher calling than the legal field.

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Posted in Law Post Date 10/24/2016


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