Attorney Anthony O. Van Johnson–The Thrill of Becoming a Lawyer

People who seek out a profession for their career often consider law school. Attorney Anthony O. Van Johnson chose that path and has no regrets. For anyone wondering what it’s like becoming an attorney, here’s the scoop. In a nutshell, it’s an exciting ride!

First of all, a Bachelor’s Degree is required in most states before one may attend law school. Before even graduating from undergraduate school, a future attorney must prepare for the LSAT exam (Law School Admissions Test). It’s the moment when one first orders the study materials and figures out how to register for that critical test that the excitement first really begins. 

Questions fly

“Can I do well on this?,” “What if I don’t score high enough for a law school to admit me?”, “If I do well, what law school should I apply to?” and “If I don’t do well, will I want to try again?” Those are just a few, but all the while, even when some moments make one take pause, it’s all remarkably thrilling. 

The thrill of setting a prestigious, challenging goal for oneself and then actually starting on the path to reach it is always a wild ride, and it’s just like that for those pursuing a career as an attorney. Even for Attorney Anthony O Van Johnson becoming a lawyer was a stirring journey, and he had already been:

  • A U.S. Army Infantry Squad Leader,
  • A professional musician in Europe and San Francisco, and
  • A martial arts competitor and instructor

What are the major steps toward becoming a lawyer?

If all goes smoothly (meaning specific law exams are passed on the first try), these are the major hurdles to standing for the state bar to be sworn in as an official attorney at law. Here’s the list in chronological order:

  1. Study for the first law exam–The LSAT. This test is usually offered two to four times a year in any given state. The test is to determine whether a student has certain skills required to be an effective attorney. The skills include analytical thinking, logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and problem-solving. 
  2. Take the LSAT test and get a good score. 
  3. Apply to law schools. This is a technical process, different from applying to undergraduate school. Information is available for students to use the officially managed portals for law school applications. Prospective students provide all of the relevant information to one entity, and that servicer forwards it to the law schools on your behalf. Included in the package are the LSAT score, application, personal statement, college transcripts, and whatever else the servicer or law schools request.
  4. Finish law school. Attorney Anthony O Van Johnson earned his law degree from the prestigious Loyola University School of Law.
  5. Take the state ethics bar.  Each state requires a professional responsibility test to be passed by every student before being eligible to sit for the state’s bar exam. This requires a few weeks of study and a day-long test. 
  6. Take and pass the bar exam! This is the one. After all those years and other tests, this one decides whether the student will become a licensed lawyer. 

What’s each step like?

For Anthony Van Johnson, it was another exhilarating journey to something big. Of course, there are the butterflies that go with taking the LSAT because it’s the first step related to obtaining the coveted law license. But the nervous energy helps keep one alert and able to study long and hard to pass it. 

Once it’s time to choose a law school, it feels like shopping for a new car or some other major, desired purchase–so much to research and consider. It’s actually fun because the search is to find an excellent fit for the applicant himself or herself. Plus, entering a new school with like-minded students, new professors, and fresh academic subjects is always exciting!

The experience of law school itself is a roller coaster. Students may “get” some areas of law much faster than others, so one can easily despise, say contracts class, while at the same time loving property class. Most find torts (personal injury) and criminal law pretty intriguing. On the other hand, evidence and civil procedure could be a major yawnfest for many.

No matter what, though, it’s all for that goal–a career as an attorney–so it’s easy to stay driven no matter which class gives one the hardest time. Remember, law students, while competitive people, do lean on each other for motivation and help, too, so students aren’t in piles of homework and studying all alone.

Lastly, once law school has been conquered, all that’s left are those to other tests–the ethics exam and the bar exam. However, as long as one makes the time to study diligently and do tons of practice tests, the tests will also be conquered, and there is no greater feeling of accomplishment than receiving those life-changing notices that say, “Congratulations, we are pleased to inform you…” 

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