Constitutional lawyers are involved with disputes related to the United States Constitution. Aspiring lawyers of all types should be aware of extensive education requirements that include both a bachelor's degree and a law degree.
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Constitutional lawyers deal with legal disputes involving the U.S. Constitution, such as the division of power between branches of government, interpretation of the Bill of Rights and eligibility requirements to run for public office. Typical clients of constitutional lawyers include prisoners, bureaucrats and citizens suing the government.
Like all attorneys, constitutional lawyers need a bachelor's degree and a law degree and must pass the bar exam in the state where they wish to practice. During law school, they may be able to choose elective courses that will help them in their field of interest and perhaps work in externships with agencies or firms engaged in the practice of constitutional law.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree and law degree|
|Licensing||Must pass state bar exam|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for all lawyers|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$136,260 for all lawyers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Education Requirements for Constitutional Lawyers
Students interested in applying to law school might have earned a bachelor's degree in one of many relevant areas, such as political science, history, economics or English. Admission to law school is extremely competitive and requires students to have maintained high grades throughout their undergraduate education. Applicants must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) before entering law school.
Once enrolled, law school students engage in the intensive study of contracts, constitutional law and courtroom procedure. Individuals interested in careers as constitutional lawyers should also take electives in constitutional litigation, constitutional theory and arguing before the Supreme Court.
After graduating from law school, aspiring lawyers are required to earn admission to a state bar association. This is accomplished by sitting for and passing a 2-day bar exam. Specific rules for admission to the bar vary by state. For example, California admits some individuals to the bar without a law degree. The bar exam is administered by individual states but usually contains the same three parts: an essay section, a multiple-choice section and a performance section.
Constitutional lawyers may choose from a variety of career paths. Some may choose work for law firms, while others may be self-employed or run their own practices. There are also employment opportunities for constitutional lawyers within different branches of government and within some private corporations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), lawyers can expect stable career prospects with 6% job growth between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2015, the BLS reported that lawyers earned a mean annual salary of $136,260.
Constitutional lawyers need formal schooling via law school, and they may be able to focus their studies on the constitution through elective coursework. While growth in employment opportunities for all lawyers is expected to be average, above-average earnings are often possible.