How to Be a Lawyer for Kids
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A lawyer for kids, also called a child advocate lawyer, helps children who have a variety of legal needs. These can include serving as a guardian ad litem for a child in a custody case or an abuse case, helping bring charges to people who commit crimes against children and representing the child in court, and also working on adoptions and child welfare policies. The path to becoming a child advocate lawyer is difficult and requires years of education.
Complete your bachelor's degree with a good GPA. The grades you get in college will help determine what law school you are able to get into. Although you can get into law school with any bachelor's degree, helpful ones for a child advocacy focus include psychology, child development, English, public speaking and communications.
Take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). You'll have to register for the LSAT on the LSAC website. You should study extensively for the test, even taking part in an LSAT preparation course if you can. The score you get on the LSAT, combined with your GPA, will play the major determining role in what law school you're accepted into and scholarships you're offered.
Apply for law schools. This is also done through the LSAC website. You'll need letters of recommendation, transcripts and your LSAT scores, in addition to completing each law school's application packet. Most law schools also require that you write a personal statement.
Graduate from an accredited law school with a juris doctorate. It will be helpful if you take some classes that focus on child law, criminal law and family law. You should also try to get an internship while in law school that focuses on child advocacy, such as the one offered by the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law.
Take and pass the bar exam for the state that you will be practicing in. After you pass the exam and pay your fees, you'll be licensed to practice law in your state. The bar exam is a difficult test, lasting two or three days depending on your state. You should take a bar preparation course to be fully prepared, and allow two to three months for studying.
Apply for a job as an attorney with child advocacy organizations. You may need to do some networking first, talking to your professors and attending conferences and seminars. Places that offer child attorney jobs include nonprofit law centers, public defender firms, social services, bar organizations and private law firms. Include references and have a polished resume with relevant work experience. You may want to ask your law school's career services department to help you.
With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.