The 2018 Occupational Outlook report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that lawyers would grow by 6% from 2018 to 2028. A personal injury lawyer is one of the most lucrative types of lawyers. It involves helping injured people to receive deserving compensation for injuries.
Given the prevalence of emotional and physical injuries, personal injury lawyers are ever in high demand. You’ll hardly be out of a job through the year. With experience, your compensation will be quite competitive.
Are you wondering how to become a successful personal injury lawyer? Read this guide to know how you can become successful in this career.
The Roadmap Towards Becoming a Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury lawyers help cases involving personal injury disputes that arise from workplace accidents, product malfunctions, traffic incidents, and other wrongful actions. The trial work involved can be quite overwhelming.
PI lawyers have to interview witnesses, draft legal documents, take depositions, research, negotiate settlements, and represent clients in court. Consequently, these lawyers have to undergo a pretty vigor career path. The education journey is particularly daunting, but the end often justifies the means.
Here are the steps to take to become a personal injury lawyer;
Get a Four-Year Bachelor’s Degree
You can’t enroll in law school if you have not attained a bachelor’s degree. Most schools aren’t specific on the type of degree you need to have. However, common majors that prospective lawyers are likely to take include social science, political science, English, and history.
As you start your educational journey towards becoming a personal injury lawyer, you better be armed financially. A recent report showed that the annual tuition fees for private law schools were $48, 869 in the 2018-2019 academic year, while the fees for public law school was $40,725. Most students end up taking student loans to finance their studies. Once you start working, the returns on investment are almost a guarantee.
Pass the Law School Admission Test
When you’re about to finish your bachelor’s degree program, you’ll have to take the LSAT exam. This multi-choice exam seeks to measure your aptitude to determine if you have the skills often used by lawyers. Some of these skills include task management, logic, critical reading, and research.
LSAT is a half-day test, and the outcomes will influence your application to join a law school. A high score will allow you to land in the best law school. You might want to consider LSAT-prep courses to familiarize yourself with the test.
Earn Your Law Degree
You’re halfway on the journey to becoming a personal injury lawyer! Getting into law school means that you’re almost done. Typically, you will be in a law school for three years, making the total years in school seven! Once you become among the best personal injury lawyers in your region, the sacrifice will pay off.
The first year mostly covers general legal subjects. They include but not limited to criminal law, property, constitutional law, legal writing, and torts. In your second and third year, you will have an opportunity to choose courses related to personal injury.
You need to earn your law degree from an American Bar Association’s approved institution. Failure to which, you might miss an opportunity to be admitted to the bar.
Pass the Bar Exam
Passing the bar exam is the only way you’ll be admitted to the bar before you start practicing as a personal injury lawyer. All legal specialties have the same bar exam. The format will vary based on your state.
Often, the bar exam focuses on national and state-specific laws. A personal injury attorney needs to be certain of the state they will be practicing in as the exam is state-specific. If you want to be a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, a bar exam from a different state won’t be viable.
You might also need to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). This exam is a requirement in most states. It measures if an attorney understands professional conduct.
Get Specialized Certification and Additional Education
Getting specialty certification in injury law is one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise in personal injury law. You can check with your state’s law board to know more about the certification. With such credentials, you’ll be kickstarting your personal injury law career on a high.
A personal injury lawyer can also build expertise in the field by pursuing a Master of Laws degree program. With specialized training, better job prospects are imminent.
Gain Relevant Experience
While education is central in any legal career, the experience is indispensable in your career growth. You need to gain legal experience for career advancement. Working in a personal injury law firm is arguably the best place to start.
You will learn more about what it entails to be a personal injury lawyer. From experience, you’ll get unbeatable skills and networks to prompt you to have your law firm. Seek to gain as much experience as possible before venturing out on solo practice.
Working with insurance companies and doctors is another way of getting more clients and gaining experience. Most of the cases you’ll be handling will be from doctors and insurance representatives. Create rapport with both parties early in your personal injury law career.
How Do You Become a Successful Personal Injury Lawyer?
Did you know that the U.S. has more than 1.3 million lawyers? The American Bar Association further reports that 50% of the law graduates work in law firms while just 1% focus on solo practice. With these statistics, you can establish the route you want to take in your law career.
Once you establish the path you want to take in your personal injury law career, you need to take several steps to stand out. Here are some of the tips to help you succeed as a personal injury lawyer;
As an attorney, you’ll have days where you dread telling a client the truth. Yet, being honest regardless of the circumstances is one of the success recipes you need to embrace. It might cost you a contract, but it will earn you respect in the industry!
It’s always best to tell your clients your honest views about a case. Is the case weak? Does the client have enough witnesses? Empty promises and flattery will make you lose credibility; it will set you for failure in the legal industry.
Understand the Law
Law is quite complex, and it keeps on changing. One court ruling is enough to make a bill, which can influence how a certain issue is addressed. Lawyers have to be updated on local trends as they determine the litigation of cases.
For you to become the best personal injury lawyer, it would help to have a detailed understanding of legal precedent and statutory changes. Don’t miss the continuing legal education seminars to know what’s trending in the industry. More importantly, be active in the law bar associations.
Work on Your Trial and Negotiation Skills
A personal injury lawyer will be spending most working days, either negotiating for compensation, or in a trial. So, do you have what it takes to stand out? You’ll have to be in the courtroom often to know how other seasoned attorneys convey their message.
You need exceptional social skills to work your way around personal injury cases. Engaging with other lawyers and getting involved with relevant discussions will sharpen your skills. If you’re unsure of these skills, you’re probably not cut for the career.
Understanding of the Medical Sector
Personal injury attorneys work hand in hand with doctors. While a personal injury lawyer doesn’t have the qualifications to advise a client on medical stuff, understanding what the industry entails is a plus. An experienced personal injury lawyer has considerable knowledge of injuries, their prognosis, diagnosis criteria, and the involved costs.
If you have insights into the medical field, you’ll be better placed to win a case. An experienced lawyer will ask questions about medical care, which will enable one to get a fair settlement. With the right research, you’ll understand the medical knowledge expected of you.
Successful lawyers will tell you the industry boils down to relationships. You have to maintain and expand the relationship with your existing and prospective clients. As such, you need to engage with others and commit to helping where possible.
Networking opportunities are everywhere. From seminars to social media sites. You’ll interact with people who will propel your career further.
Start by participating in bar events such as conferences and seminars. It could also help to join relevant social networking groups; LinkedIn is a great starting point. Once you open up to interaction, you’ll gain significant knowledge and get enough clients.
Becoming a Personal Injury Lawyer Is Rewarding
Besides helping people get justice, you stand a chance to be in a career with commendable prospects. A career in personal injury law is one of the best decisions you can make. You’ll have an opportunity to grow into one of the best personal injury lawyers in the country.
You can’t become a personal injury lawyer without undergoing the educational requirements. Once you complete your studies, look for opportunities to further your expertise. The investment in your career will be all worth it.
Our site has an online lawyer directory to help you find the right attorney. You can explore the blog further for a range of law-related topics.