Personal injury lawyers are everywhere these days. Their ads can be found on every major TV network, on billboards nationwide and on countless park benches.
There is a reason for this rapid growth and it’s because this is a very lucrative industry if you speak the legal lingo and have the qualifications to back it up.
But how can you become a personal injury lawyer, what does it take and what sort of money can you expect to earn? Let’s find out.
How Much do Personal Injury Lawyers Make
Aspiring lawyers are often put off by this career path because they see it a cheap and they believe that they will spend their days dealing with crash-for-cash schemes, fake medical claims and slips and falls worth nothing more than a few hundred bucks. There is some truth to that because these claims do exist, but this industry is so much more.
For every fake claim there are dozens of legitimate ones and these people deserve to have professional, capable lawyers on their side.
These lawyers still help people. In this day and age it seems like everyone is trying to avoid liability and wipe their hands of a crime and it is basically their duty to find who is liable and make them pay and they can do this with everything from workplace slips to uncooked food and even fireworks on July 4th.
The average claim in in the tens of thousands, with some of them totaling several million dollars. If a lawyer is operating on a no-win no-fee basis, then they may be taking as much as 40% of the money.
What’s more, many of the smaller cases are settled outside of court following some simple litigation, with the lawyer essentially playing the role of a mediator.
If you run your own legal firm, then this cash is all yours and you can make a very healthy 8 figure salary. If you work for someone else, you can still expect to earn in excess of $70,000 a year at the lower level. And that’s only if you avoid the bigger cases.
These days big blue chip companies like GSK have multi-million and even multi-billion dollar class-action lawsuits filed against them because of issues with medications; hospitals are being forced to payout millions after messing-up surgeries and general care; and nursing homes are also finding themselves on the receiving end of huge lawsuits.
Then you have the many product liability claims, which have been brought against everything from the legal cannabis industry to defective products in all of our homes.
It’s a big money business and a very good one to target as a lawyer. So, just how do you become a personal injury lawyer?
Step 1: Degree
These days everyone is a little dismissive of personal injury lawyers, as mentioned already. But they have gone through law school just like everyone else and if you want to make it in the legal world you need to attain a Bachelor’s Degree and then use this to make it through law school.
In your first year you will learn basic law, such as property and constitutional law. In the second and third year you can start to learn personal injury law, medical malpractice law and other high-earning areas.
Step 2: Intern
Once you have the degree then you need the experience. A lawyer isn’t made in the classroom, they are made in court and at the negotiation table. For this, you need to work in the field.
Ask around at local law firms to see if they are looking for an intern. They will likely be more than happy to take you onboard.
It is also worth noting that some schools will actually require you to have experience as an intern before going any further.
Step 3: Pass the Bar
The Bar Exam is required before you can practice law in most states. The exam is the same for everyone and is not specific to any area of law. However, they do tend to focus on specific state laws and can therefore vary from state to state.
Step 4: Pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam
This exam is required by most states and is a corequisite to the Bar Exam. There are only 2 states where the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination is not required—Maryland and Wisconsin (if you live in Connecticut or New Jersey and earned a C or more in the Bar, then this exam is waived). If you live anywhere else then you will need to sit this 60 question, 120 minute exam before you can go any further.
Step 5: Keep the Education Going
In order to attain Bar status as a personal injury lawyer, most states in the US require you to continue your education. This is more than just red tape as it also means that you can stay abreast of the latest changes in the law. It is an ever-changing ever-growing beast after all, so continuing to learn is the only way to stay on top of it.
You can learn through the Center of Professional Development, as well as many law schools nationwide.
Step 6: Get Experience
The final step is to break away from the educational setting and get some real life experience. By this point you will have already had some under your belt, but if you want to further your career by opening up your own law firm or taking a high position within a firm then you will need a few years’ experience in the courtroom.
If you have made it this far and have excelled in your education, then there should be no shortage of firms willing to take you on and give you this experience. And don’t think for a minute that this industry is to saturated and that it would be impossible to profit from opening your own law firm.
Every day there are hundreds of personal injury claims and medical malpractice claims just waiting to be picked up, with some clients being turned away.
There is always going to be an opportunity and if you think you can make it on your own, then there is no shortage of clients waiting for you.