The Traditional Path to Becoming a Prosecutor
Prepare for College
Work hard to prepare for getting into the college of your choice.
Select Your College
Get into college and keep your grades up in preparation for the LSAT and applying to law school.
Law school is typically three years and results in your earning your J.D. Degree.
The Bar Exam
Prior to practicing, law you will need to pass the state bar exam and pass a separate written ethics exam.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Most law schools require a bachelor's degree in order to get into law school. There are no required courses or recommended majors for law school admission. However, courses that develop skills in writing, reading, public speaking, logic, and research can be helpful. Some law schools may prefer applicants who have taken intellectually challenging courses.
Step 2: Take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
LSAT scores are required to be submitted along with your law school application. This test is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and is used to assess your reading, comprehension, reasoning and critical thinking skills. The LSAC test is administered in a multiple-choice format and is given in five sections (www.lsac.org). If you take the LSAT and feel that your scores do not reflect your ability, you may choose to retake the test.
Step 3: Earn Your Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degree
Law school typically lasts for three years, although some offer night classes and take four years if you need to work while you earn your J.D. You begin law school by taking courses in constitutional law, property law, legal writing, contracts, and torts. You then take elective courses based on your interests, such as corporate law, tax law or labor law. During your time in law school, you may participate in mock trials, attend legal clinics and write for a law journal.
Step 4: Consider Participating in an Internship or Clerkship
As a law student, you may be given the opportunity to complete a part-time or summer internship or clerkship. These programs allow you to gain experience by working in a prosecutor's office (county district attorney, city attorney/prosecutor, or Attorney General's office), a law firm, corporate office, government agency, or for a judge. For some, these programs can lead to an employment offer following graduation from law school. A clerkship can be a major step towards employment for those wanting to know how to become a prosecutor.
Step 5: Pass Your State Bar Examination
Before you may practice law in the United States, you are required to pass your state bar examination and earn a license. In most states, like California, you need to pass a written bar exam, as well as a separate written ethics exam. If you would like to practice law in multiple states, you generally need to pass a bar exam in each state.