Accidents happen–it’s an indisputable fact of living. One moment you’re going about your day and in the blink of an eye, life as you know it changes forever. A layer of intensified helplessness is added when you weren’t the one at fault. Unexpected accidents can leave us feeling frustrated, anxious, and worried about cleaning up the aftermath. Fortunately, there is a legal field devoted entirely to helping these kinds of people: those injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault. This type of law is called personal injury law. Accidents that fall under personal injury law include those involving vehicles like cars, trucks, trains, bicycles, and motorcycles. Class action, wrongful death, nursing home abuse, and slip & fall injuries also fall under personal injury law. Personal injury law spans the unplanned and unexpected and strives to bring justice and relief to the unfortunate victims.
Do you possess an innate desire to help others? Does the thought of fighting to restore a sense of normalcy to people’s lives energize you? Are you a voracious reader and writer with a penchant for debating? If your answer to these questions across the board is a big fat Yes, then consider pursuing personal injury law as a career option. But how do you get from Point A to Point B?
For starters, you’ll need a four-year university degree. This kind of degree is a prerequisite for entering law school, let alone any graduate program. There are no undergraduate majors that prevent potential applicants from applying to law school, but the most common majors are philosophy, English, economics, political science, and business. But remember, your major has zero effect on your eligibility for law school; what matters much, much more are your undergraduate GPA and LSAT score.
For those not in the know, GPA stands for grade point average. In the United States, GPAs are measured on a 4.0 scale, 4.0 being a perfect score. The average GPA of applicants varies from law school to law school, but it should go without saying that the higher your cumulative GPA is, the better. Most law schools will not accept applicants with cumulative GPAs below 3.5. So study up, future lawyers!
However, you can still have a killer GPA and not get accepted into law school. The most common way this can happen is if you have a particularly low LSAT score. But what is the LSAT, exactly?
The LSAT, which stands for Law School Admission Test, is a standardized test consisting of four 35-minute sections and a 30-minute writing session that test a law school applicant’s reasoning and analytical skills. Some questions test the applicant’s general legal knowledge. There are two Logical Reasoning sections, one Analytical Reasoning section, and one Reading Comprehension section. Scores range from 120 to 180, and the average LSAT score for law school applicants is 150, which hangs right in the middle. If you’re aiming to get into a good law school, though, try to aim for 160 or higher. You can take classes to prepare for the exam, or you can study on your own. No matter which route you choose to take, make sure you start studying early and consistently to boost your chances of acing the test.
After taking these exams and getting accepted into law school and graduating and landing your first law job clerking at a firm, you still have one more obstacle to clear before you can practice law. You must pass your state bar exam, a comprehensive exam including knowledge of federal statutes and ordinances specific to your state in addition to a writing section. The test is usually administered over two days; the first day is for the general legal knowledge section and the second for the writing section. The prerequisite for bar exam eligibility is having earned a J.D. at a recognized law school, with a few exceptions.
These are just the external requirements for becoming a lawyer. Internally, you’ll need an insatiable curiosity, adaptability to an ever-changing legal world, and the self-discipline to consume large amounts of dry legal material at once. The reality is that practicing law is an incredibly difficult job, and the road to becoming a lawyer is long, expensive, and at times grueling.
Some legal fields can be more stressful than others, and personal injury law is included among these. Given the stressful, draining nature of the disputed incidents, personal injury lawyers are often at risk of emotional burnout. Practicing personal injury law demands high emotional intelligence and tough skin. It is not a career for everybody.
However, the merits of the job far outweigh the drawbacks. Personal injury lawyers often talk about how rewarding their career can be, knowing they are helping people improve their lives after being wronged or enduring a tragedy or accident. The positive feeling that comes from achieving hard-won justice is hard to replicate or replace. Not to mention, this particular area of law lends an air of nobility, as you make your living doing the right thing; this is a highly respectable career. You will also discover that you can learn just as much from your clients as they can learn from you. Practicing personal injury law opens up a unique avenue for human connection that is hard to find and forge elsewhere.
That’s why it’s crucial to make doubly sure that you’re hiring the right personal injury lawyer. Some personal injury lawyers specialize in different areas than others, so be sure to do your homework. Of course, there are some qualifications required of all lawyers, regardless of their field of specialization. These qualifications are traits that make you a decent human being: integrity, kindness, and a sincere desire to help others. Self-discipline, attention to detail, and expert argumentative skills should also be high on the list, as it separates the amateurs from the professionals.
One particular personal injury law firm that checks all these boxes is Hasbrook & Hasbrook. This family-run firm has been helping the people of Oklahoma City and its surrounding area for decades, and they delight in providing the best service they can to their clients. Should you ever be in the unfortunate position of needing legal help for a personal injury–AND you happen to live in the Oklahoma City area–consider contacting Hasbrook & Hasbrook for legal advice. You’ll be relieved that you did.