Becoming a divorce attorney in the state of Florida is simple, but will take a lot of time and dedication. Four of the top law schools in the United States are located in Florida. These schools were selected by U.S. News and World Report, and they are the University of Miami, the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law, Florida State University, and Stetson University. There are five steps to becoming an attorney in the state of Florida.
Step 1: Obtain a bachelor’s degree
To qualify for entrance to law school, you must complete your undergraduate education. You’re not required to have your degree in a specific area of study, but studying business, political science, politics and government, history, or economics can give you a leg up. Whatever area you decide to study, they recommend your coursework aids in your development of the following skills: problem-solving, listening, oral communication, critical reading, writing, research, and a few others. If you’re looking for additional guidance, check with your school’s pre-law advisor and they will help you make the right choices when selecting courses.
Step 2: Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
All law schools that are ABA-accredited will require a passing score on the LSAT before gaining admission. Preparation for this 4-5 hour long exam is crucial. You can find a preparation seminar near you or find online courses to help you study. The exam contains five sections: logical reasoning, reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, an experimental section used for future exams, and a writing sample. Your score will only come from the first three sections, but the writing sample will be sent to any law school you apply to. The LSAT costs $160 each time you take it. The exam is typically offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays during February, June, October, and December. You will receive your score via email roughly three weeks after the exam.
Step 3: Law School
Under the law of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, to practice in the state, you must graduate from an ABA-accredited law school. The school does not have to be in the state of Florida, but it must be in the United States. Florida is home to twelve ABA-accredited law schools, including Florida International University and Florida State University. While in law school, you must obtain a degree in either Juris Doctor (J.D.) or Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B.).
Step 4: Florida State Bar Exam
The bar exam is an extensive exam that consists of three parts. The first part, Part A, is three hours of multiple-choice questions and three hours of essay questions. The next part, Part B, is the multistate bar exam which is six hours long and consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. The last part is the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam which can be completed at the same time as parts A & B or while still attending law school. Whichever you choose, it must be completed within 25 months of passing the Bar exam. This last part is a two-hour exam of 60 multiple-choice questions. There is a fee of $400 to sit for the Florida State Bar Exam. If you don’t have your application in on time, you could incur either a $325 or $625 late fee.
Step 5: Maintaining your license
To maintain your license in the state of Florida, every three years, you must complete 30 hours of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). Of these 30 hours, five must be in the area of professionalism, ethics, substance abuse, or mental illness awareness. You must post these MCLE credits online.
Carin Maxey’s blog posts are not legal advice and are meant for informational purposes only. If you require legal advice, please seek a licensed professional in your jurisdiction.