How to become an Attorney Lawyer in Alabama USA

Career Law

Then, follow the steps or choose the situation that best fits your needs:

  1. Explore Alabama Undergraduate Pre-Law Education
  2. Take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
  3. Find an Alabama Law School
  4. Take the Alabama State Bar Exam and become an Attorney
  5. Whats Next After Passing the Bar in Alabama

Law Careers in Alabama, USA

The American Bar Association says that in 2017, Alabama had 14,717 lawyers who lived and worked there. At the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States government, they say that a lawyer in Alabama made $101,010 a year on average in May 2017.

Lawyers in some parts of Alabama made more money than the rest of the state, like the Huntsville area, where they earned a mean annual wage of $109,350; the Birmingham-Hoover area, where they earned $112,220; and Mobile, where they earned a mean annual wage of $106,570.

In Alabama, there are a lot of jobs for lawyers. There are a lot of chances for lawyers in the state, so if you want to take advantage of them, read on.

Step 1: Get Your Alabama Undergraduate Pre-Law Major

The Board of Commissioners of the Alabama State Bar says that you must finish your undergraduate education and get at least a bachelor’s degree before you can go to law school.

At the time you apply to become a lawyer, you must show that your pre-law education came from a college or university that has been approved by an agency that is recognized by the US Department of Education.

Accreditation

An agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education must accredit your undergraduate school. It is very important that your school has this type of accreditation when you apply to law school and when you later apply to join the Alabama State Bar.

Requirements and Standards

The Board doesn’t set rules for pre-law education, but it follows the advice of the ABA. The classes you should take, no matter what your major is, should cover the following:

  • History
  • English
  • Politics
  • Economics
  • Business
  • Sociology
  • World Cultures
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Mathematics

Degree Options

Do not graduate from an ABA-approved school: If you did not, the Board wants to see proof that you got your undergraduate degree from a school that was accredited by any standard national or regional accrediting agency when you got your degree.

This degree must be earned before you can go to law school. You can figure out from the course requirements above that any of the subjects listed there would make good undergraduate majors for people who want to be lawyers.

Pre-Law Advisor

If your undergraduate college or university has a pre-law advisor, use them. They can help you get ready for law school. A pre-law advisor can help you choose the best courses, minors, and majors to make sure you’ll be successful in law school when you go to college.

Step 2: Alabama LSAT (Law School Admission Test)

If you want to go to a law school that is approved by the ABA, you must pass the LSAT or Law School Admission Test. This is not required by the Board, but it is very important. This test is given four times a year all over the world.

How To Prepare

Use the free test-prep services on the LSAT website to help you get ready for the LSAT test. You can use practice tests and sample questions and answers to help you get ready for the exam. If you don’t want to pay for LSAT preparation, the following courses are available:

LSAT Exam Prep Courses in Alabama:

  • LSAT Test Prep Classes, Kaplan, Birmingham
  • LSAT Test Prep Course, Auburn University, Office of Professional & Continuing Education, 301 OD Smith Hall, Auburn, AL 36849
  • LSAT Test Prep, LawPreview.com

Exam Content

There are three sections to the LSAT:

Reading Comprehension –This exam assesses your ability to read complicated materials and respond to multiple-choice questions based on what you’ve read.

Analytical Reasoning – Also known as the games portion, this section requires you to play reasoning games in which you must analyze the situation in order to find the proper solution.

Logical Reasoning – Also known as the arguments component, this section requires you to assess arguments and draw conclusions, as well as to detect and correct false assumptions and logic flaws.

Application Process

The LSAT application is completed online. In July, September, November, and January, it is provided on Saturdays and Mondays, but not at every test location on every Saturday and Monday of the month. Alabama has the following test centers:

  • Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849
  • Miles College, 5500 Myron Massey Boulevard, Fairfield, AL 35064
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1720 2nd Ave S., Birmingham, AL  35294
  • Spring Hill College, 4000 Dauphin St., Mobile, AL 36608
  • University of South Alabama, 307 N University Blvd, Mobile, AL 36688
  • Auburn University at Montgomery, 7430 East Dr, Montgomery, AL 36117
  • Faulkner University, 5345 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery, AL 36109
  • Alabama A & M University, 4900 Meridian St. North, Huntsville, AL 35811
  • Troy University, 600 University Ave, Troy, AL 36082
  • University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

Fees

To take the LSAT, you must pay a baseline price of $190. (not including auxiliary fees which can be seen here). Fees can be paid by credit card, cheque, or money order payable to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) through your online account with the LSAC.

Receiving Your Score

The LSAC will email your LSAT scores to you about three weeks after you took the test. Low: 120. High: 180. The average LSAT score for people who apply to the University of Alabama School of Law is 163.

Remember, though, that your LSAT score is just one of many things that law schools look at when they decide whether or not to accept you. According to information from the LSAC, LSAT scores aren’t always a good predictor of how well you’ll do in law school.

Limitations

Take the LSAT three times in two years (even if you cancel your score and it is not reported to the LSAC). If you want to take the test more than once, send an email to accom@LSAC.org or fax it to 215-504-1420 with the date you want to take it again. The LSAC will send you an email to let you know if your request has been approved or turned down by them.

Step 3: Go to Law School in Alabama

Application Process

You’re ready to apply to law school once you’ve passed the LSAT. Consult this list of admission services required by ABA-approved law schools in the United States if you are applying to an ABA-approved law school.

Credential Assembly Service

In order to go to a law school that is approved by the ABA, and some non-ABA-approved law schools, you must use the services of the LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service.

This service helps you to put together transcripts, recommendation letters, and evaluations for your applications. When you sign up for an LSAC.org account, you can ask for letters of recommendation and other documents online.

In order to get the Credential Assembly Service, the LSAC charges $195. This service includes summaries of your transcripts, law school reports, and online applications to the law schools of your choice.

Accreditation

The Board of Commissioners of the Alabama State Bar does not require that the law school you graduate from be ABA-approved. If you go to a law school that is accredited by the American Bar Association, you’re more likely to get a good job. List of ABA-accredited law schools across the country: Check this list.

ABA-Accredited Law Schools in Alabama

The following law schools in Alabama hold ABA accreditation as of May 2012:

ABA-Accredited Law Schools in Alabama

The following law schools in Alabama hold ABA accreditation as of November 2018:

Course Requirements

The Board doesn’t say which courses should be in a law school’s curriculum that is approved by the ABA. If you went to law school outside the United States, its territories, or other places where it is legal to be a lawyer, the Board says that the following coursework must be taken:

  • 24 semester hours in legal studies covered on the Alabama bar examination, including (but not limited to):
    • Alabama civil litigation including:
      • Appellate practice
      • Civil procedure
      • Arbitration
      • Remedies
    • Business associations
    • Real property
    • Family law
    • Torts
    • Federal civil procedure
    • Conflicts of law
    • Constitutional law (Federal and Alabama)
    • Criminal law and procedure
    • Evidence
    • Wills, trusts and estates
    • Uniform Commercial Code

The Board has told you that you must go to law school for at least three years, with 30 weeks each year. It must be at least 130 days long and cover at least eight months. 56,000 minutes of instruction time, or 80 semester hours of credit, should be added up to get this figure.

Online Law Degrees

  • View Online and Campus Law and Legal Studies Programs
    • (For students who choose to focus on a subset of law other than an attorney.)

Internship

If you go to an ABA-approved law school, and most non-ABA-approved law schools, you’ll have to do a field placement or internship in your last two years of law school. You will be put in a real-life legal setting and have your work looked at by on-site supervisors and by law school teachers who will also look at it. This is a great time to meet people who could help you get a job after you finish law school.

Registration with the Bar

Registration with the State Bar must be done before you can start your work experience. The Bar wants you to register with the Board within 60 days of starting law school, so you need to do that first. If you register online before you start law school, there is no fee.

If you sign up for law school between 60 and 180 days before you start, the fee is $50. A $100 fee will be charged if you register between 180 and 390 days after you start law school. If you join the Bar after 390 days, the fee is $250.

When you become a member of the Bar, you give the Committee on Character and Fitness permission to do a character and fitness check on you. As part of their investigation, they may ask for a set of fingerprints from you at some point. If you register, it does not mean you want to take the Bar exam.

Graduates of Non-ABA-approved In-State Law Schools

Following are some of the Alabama law schools that do not have ABA approval. If you graduated from one of these Alabama law schools, you may be able to apply for admission to the Alabama State Bar through examination.

Graduates of Non- ABA-approved Out-of-State Law Schools

There are rules for people who graduate from a non-ABA-accredited law school. They must first be a member of the state bar in the state where that school is located and have been practicing law there for at least five years. If you went to a law school outside of the United States, you must also have been able to practice law there. You must have taken the classes above as part of your education.

Degree Programs

There is a law degree called a Juris Doctor (JD) that you need in order to take the Alabama bar exam. Law schools in Alabama that are approved by the American Bar Association also offer other degrees. These other degrees are:

  • JD/MBA – combination of Juris Doctor and Masters in Business Administration
  • JD/MCE- combination of Juris Doctor and Masters in Civil Engineering
  • JD/MA- combination of Juris Doctor and Masters of Arts in Political Science
  • JD/PhD – combination of Juris Doctor and Doctorate in Economics
  • JD/MA – combination of Juris Doctor and Master of Accountancy
  • JD/MPA – combination of Juris Doctor and Master of Public Administration

Step 4: Take the Alabama State Bar Exam

At least 19 years old, you can apply to take the Alabama State Bar Exam if you have registered as a law student with the Alabama State Bar, passed a background check, and earned your J.D. degree. A lot of times, it’s available in Birmingham in February and July.

Preparation

It can help you pass the Alabama State Bar Exam on your first try if you study for it. There are a lot of online courses, like one from AmeriBar, that you can take. There are also books like this one that can be bought to help you study for the bar exam.

Exam Content

The Alabama Bar Exam consists of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), which includes:

You also need to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) with a score of 75 within 12 months before or 20 months after taking the Alabama bar exam, depending on when you took the exam.

Within 7-10 days of completing the Alabama Bar Exam, you must also pass an online course in Alabama law.

On the Alabama state bar exam, you will be assessed on the following topics:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Business Associations
  • Corporations and Limited Liability Companies
  • Federal Civil Procedure
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts  
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Real Property
  • Secured Transactions
  • Torts
  • Trusts and Estates
  • Problem Solving
  • Legal analysis and Reasoning
  • Factual Analysis
  • Communication
  • Organization and management of a Legal Task
  • Recognizing/resolving Ethical Dilemmas

Application Process

You must fill out the form to take the Alabama state bar exam online. Make sure to add the correct fees (listed on the first page of the application). Fill out the application in its entirety, giving the Bar the right institutions, references, and employers to call on your behalf.

Print and sign each of the four authorization and release forms that are given to you. Fill out the special forms (in the application Appendix) as needed to answer questions on the application form. Do this as many times as needed.

Pass Rates

Alabama State Bar information says that in the July 2018 bar exam, 74.6 percent of people who took the first time passed.

Reciprocity

As long as you meet all of the requirements below, you can get into the Alabama State Bar without having to take the bar exam:

  • You were already admitted to practice law in another state, territory or in the District of Columbia
  • You hold a J.D. or L.LB. degree from a school approved by the ABA at the time the degree was awarded
  • You have actively practiced law for five of the past six years
  • The state, district or territory in which you are licensed to practice law allows attorneys from Alabama similar reciprocity
  • You are a member in good standing of all jurisdictions in which you are licensed to practice law
  • You are not subject to any disciplinary action in any other jurisdiction
  • You possess good moral character and fitness
  • You have not taken and failed the Alabama bar examination in the past ten years
  • You are currently a permanent resident of the state of Alabama or intend to conduct the primary practice of law in Alabama for more than 75 percent of your time
  • You passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) with a score of 75 or better
  • You have paid the appropriate application fees to the Alabama State Bar

Another thing to keep in mind is that, if you have been teaching full-time for the last three years at an Alabama ABA or American Association of Law Schools-accredited law school, you may be able to get the same benefits.

Licensing and Admission to the Bar

Results from the bar exam will be sent to you in the mail about eight to nine weeks after you took the exam. The Alabama Supreme Court will also get a list of people who did well on the test. It will be sent to everyone who took this Bar Exam.

The Supreme Court will get a list of the people who passed it that day. To become an attorney, write and speak your Oath of Office. You will be told about the formal Admissions Ceremony that you must attend.

Step 5: You’ve Been Admitted to the Bar in Alabama

Congratulations on becoming a member of the Alabama State Bar. You now have to decide how to start your law practice, so you need to think about that. Should you go alone? Join a small or big company? Do you work for a nonprofit or a for-profit business?

The Young Lawyers Section of the Alabama State Bar Association can help you make these important decisions, and they can do that for you.

It’s possible to work for well-known law firms in Alabama, such as Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Birmingham and Huntsville; Hand Ardenall LLC in Mobile, Birmingham, Jackson, Athens, and Fairhope; and Lanier Ford Law Firm in Huntsville.

CTG Power Systems International, based in Auburn, and EBSCO Industries, based in Birmingham, are two of the big businesses in Alabama that might hire lawyers.

Legal specialty certification

Legal specialty certification can help you get a better job as an attorney in Alabama. The Alabama State Bar has approved certain organizations to certify lawyers to practice in certain fields. People in Alabama can get certified by these organizations and fields of work:

Approved Certification Agencies and Specialties in Alabama

AgencyAddressContact DetailsApproved Certifications
American Board of Certification101 Second Street, SE, Suite 904, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401.(319) 365-2222 or director@abcworld.orgBusiness Bankruptcy,
Consumer Bankruptcy,
Creditor's Rights
National Association of Estate Planners and Councils1120 Chester Avenue, Suite 470
Cleveland, OH 44114.
(866) 226-2224 or email: admin@naepc.org
Estate Planning Law
National Board of Trial Advocacy and National Board of Civil Pretrial Practice (divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification)200 Stonewall Blvd, Suite 1, Wrentham, MA 02093. (508) 384-6565Civil Trial Advocacy,
Criminal Trial Advocacy,
Family Law Trial Advocacy
National Association of Counsel for Children13123 East 16th Ave, B390, Aurora, CO 80045. (888) 828-6222Family Law,
Child Welfare
National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy (a division of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification)200 Stonewall Blvd, Suite 1, Wrentham, MA 02093. (508) 384-6565Social Security Disability Advocacy
National Elder Law Foundation, Inc6336 North Oracle Road, Suite 326, Box 136
Tucson, AZ 85704.
(520) 881-1076Elder Law
National College for DUI Defense, Inc445 South Decatur Street, Montgomery, AL 36104. (334) 264-1950 or rhea@ncdd.com
DUI Defense (Criminal Law)

Requirements for maintaining a License

The Alabama State Bar wants all of its lawyers to keep their licenses by meeting Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements every year. If you want to go to college, you have to take 12 credit hours each year, with one credit hour of ethics each year. In addition, new members of the bar have to take a six-hour course on professionalism during their first year.

It only counts if you go to live in-person events and meetings, webinars, and teleconferences, or if you watch them on TV. It’s best not to take self-study or online courses. You can look for courses that have been approved by the school here, as well. As you meet your MCLE requirements, you must report them online through your CLE Transcript.

Court Systems in Alabama

The Alabama Unified Judicial System consists of five levels:

  • District Court – As there are 67 districts and 103 judges in Alabama, district courts are only allowed to deal with minor crimes and small claims, but they have a lot of power. When it comes to juvenile and civil cases that cost between $3000 and $10,000, it has the same power as the Circuit Court, but it has sole power over civil cases under $3000.
  • Probate Court and Municipal Court:
    • Probate Court– The state has 68 courts and 68 judges. It has limited power over things like wills, guardianships, land split, and name changes.
    • Municipal Court – The state has 273 courts and 279 judges. Has limited power over violations of municipal ordinances.
  • Circuit Courts – Statewide, there are 41 courts and 143 judges. These are the courts that have general jurisdiction over all felonies, civil actions over $10,000, and family law cases. In juvenile and civil cases between $3000 and $10,000, the District Court has the same power as the Circuit Court.
  • Court of Civil Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals:

(334)229-0733. There are five judges on each of the panels that are made up. Assists with civil appeals of up to $50,000, as well as domestic relations, worker’s compensation, administrative agency appeals, and civil appeals from the Supreme Court that have been thrown out.

(334)229(334)229-0751. There are five judges on each of the panels that are made up. Handle all of the writs for Criminal Trial Courts that deal with appeals, post-conviction writs, and remedial writs.

  • Supreme Court of Alabama, It is 300 Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, AL 36104. The phone number is (334) 229-0700. The highest state court in Alabama has the power to decide all civil appeals over $50,000, appeals from the Alabama Public Service Commission, and petitions for certiorari from the Courts of Civil and Criminal Appeals. There are nine 9 justices on each panel of five.

Elective Membership Organizations

Now that you are a member of the Alabama State Bar, think about joining one of these professional organisations for lawyers across the state:

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