How to Become a Lawyer in Louisiana: Education Requirements, Law School Rankings, and Bar Admissions

Becoming a lawyer in Louisiana involves navigating a unique legal landscape, as the state’s civil law system sets it apart from the rest of the country. This blog post will guide you through the steps required on how to become a lawyer in Louisiana, exploring the state’s legal intricacies, top law schools, and the process of obtaining a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Get ready to embark on an exciting journey towards a rewarding career in Louisiana law.

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Becoming a lawyer in Louisiana requires an undergraduate degree, LSAT preparation and law school attendance, as well as passing the Bar Exam.

  • Law schools such as Tulane University Law School, Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law offer dual courses to become proficient in common/civil law.

  • Career opportunities for lawyers are abundant with estimated growth rate of 80 new jobs per year. Average annual salary is $99,490 plus continuing legal education & networking essential for success.

Path to Becoming a Lawyer in Louisiana

The journey towards becoming a lawyer in Louisiana involves several steps:

  1. Obtain an undergraduate degree.

  2. Prepare for and ace the LSAT.

  3. Choose a suitable law school in the state.

  4. Earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree.

  5. Pass the Louisiana State Bar Exam.

  6. Navigate the bar admissions process, which includes registering for the exam, undergoing a character and fitness review, and ultimately being admitted to the bar.

A J.D. degree is required to take the Louisiana Bar Exam, and the registration period for the Law Student Registration Program is from August 1 to October 1. To fulfill the bar examination process, you must achieve a scaled score of 80 or higher on the MPRE exam. As a Louisiana law student, you’ll also need to submit the online “NCBE Character Report Application” with the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Unique Aspects of Louisiana Law

Louisiana’s legal system is founded on civil law, which makes it distinct from the common law systems in other states. This means that aspiring lawyers in Louisiana need to become knowledgeable in both common law and civil law, adding to the challenge of passing the bar exam. Additionally, the Louisiana State Bar Association Plan of Legal Specialization administers specialty certifications for lawyers practicing in the state, requiring them to pass an examination and fulfill continuing legal education (CLE) requirements annually.

Given the unique facets of Louisiana law, it becomes imperative for law students to attend aba accredited law schools that offer dual courses in both civil and common law. This approach allows students to develop a thorough understanding of the state’s legal system, thereby furnishing them with the requisite skills and knowledge for a fruitful career in Louisiana law.

Pursuing an Undergraduate Degree

Before applying to law school, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. There is no specific undergraduate degree required to become a lawyer in Louisiana, allowing you to select any major that interests you. However, to increase your chances of law school admission, it’s beneficial to pursue coursework that develops the following skills:

  • Critical analysis

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Critical reading abilities

  • Written and oral communication skills

  • Organizational/management skills

Pre-law students should consider enrolling in courses which cover a range of topics such as:

  • history

  • human behavior

  • politics and government

  • international cultures

  • mathematics

This will help them achieve their educational goals as well as prepare them for the legal profession. Building a robust academic foundation prepares you effectively for the challenges of law school and paves the path for a prosperous career in the legal field.

Preparing for and Taking the LSAT

The LSAT is a six-hour standardized test. It is mandatory for admission to schools that are approved by the American Bar Association. This crucial exam evaluates your knowledge and abilities in various areas and plays a significant role in determining your eligibility for law school admission. The LSAT is offered on Saturdays and Mondays in the months of November, January, and March, with testing centers located throughout Louisiana.

The cost of taking the LSAT is $190, and the minimum and maximum scores attainable are 120 and 180, respectively. To streamline your law school application process, you may also utilize the Credential Assembly Service, which assists in gathering transcripts, letters of recommendation, and evaluations.

Preparing well for the LSAT is of utmost importance as it can greatly influence your odds of getting accepted into your preferred law school.

Choosing a Law School in Louisiana

Choosing an appropriate law school plays a significant role in shaping your future legal career. In Louisiana, the top law schools are ABA-accredited and provide dual courses in both civil and common law. Consider factors such as GPA and LSAT averages when submitting applications to law schools in the state to maximize your chances of admission.

We will now explore the top law schools in Louisiana, including:

  • Tulane University Law School

  • Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center

  • Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

  • Southern University Law Center

Tulane University Law School

Tulane University Law School is a private law school located in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is ranked among the top law schools in the United States. Here are some key statistics about Tulane Law School:

  • Median GPA: 3.46

  • Acceptance rate: 53.4%

  • Bar passage rate: 90.7%

  • Employment rate within 10 months of graduation: 78.3%

Tulane Law School is renowned for its environmental law program, offering students the opportunity to gain expertise in a highly relevant field. With a strong reputation and a wide array of courses, Tulane University Law School is an excellent choice for aspiring lawyers in Louisiana.

Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center

Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, located in Baton Rouge, offers a unique Juris Doctor degree combined with a Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) due to the civil coursework completed by students prior to graduation. The school is ranked as the 82nd best law school in America according to the U.S. News and World Report, with a bar passage rate of 90%.

To join LSU Law Center, applicants must have an LSAT score of no less than 155 and a GPA of 3.48 or higher. This prestigious law school offers a comprehensive education in both civil and common law, preparing students for a successful career in Louisiana’s unique legal environment.

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law:

  • Ranked as the 150th law school in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report

  • Median LSAT score: 151

  • Median GPA: 3.15

  • Acceptance rate: 77%

  • Primary focus: social justice, providing students with a strong foundation in this important area

Loyola Law School offers a curriculum that covers both common law and civil law, enabling students to gain expertise in Louisiana’s unique legal system. Students have an array of options to specialize in while pursuing a certificate. These include:

  • Civil and common law

  • Health law

  • Environmental law

  • International law

  • Immigration law

  • Tax law

  • Social justice

  • Law, technology, and entrepreneurship.

Southern University Law Center

Southern University Law Center, located in Baton Rouge, is one of Louisiana’s four ABA-accredited institutions offering both full-time and part-time programs. The school is ranked #145 in the US News & World Report’s list of best law schools and is accredited by the American Bar Association.

The institution’s acceptance rate for 2019 applicants was 65.2%, and the median GPA for 2018 was 2.83, with a median LSAT score of 144. Although the bar passage rate of 57.8% is lower than the state rate of 76.6%, Southern University Law Center remains a viable option for aspiring lawyers in Louisiana.

Earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degree

Upon acceptance into an ABA-approved law school in Louisiana, you’ll commence your journey to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. This professional law degree equips students to become attorneys or judges and is a three-year program requiring a bachelor’s degree.

The process of obtaining a J.D. degree involves:

  • Completing the necessary coursework, which varies depending on the law school you attend

  • Upon successful completion of your J.D. program, you’ll be eligible to take the Louisiana State Bar Exam

  • Begin the bar admissions process

The Louisiana State Bar Exam

Spread over three days, the Louisiana State Bar Exam takes place on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of the final week of February and July. The exam consists of a nine-part examination, featuring separate essay examinations on civil code, commercial law, civil procedure, evidence, and professional responsibility, as well as four non-code exams.

To take the Louisiana State Bar Exam, you must be qualified. This includes having achieved a J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school or satisfying the education equivalency requirements. The MPRE exam is also a requirement for admission to the Louisiana Bar, and a passing scaled score of 80 or higher is necessary.

Admission to the Louisiana Bar

Once you pass the Louisiana State Bar Exam, the next step involves completing the bar admissions process to become a licensed lawyer in the state. This includes undergoing a character and fitness review, which evaluates your moral and ethical qualifications for bar membership.

The deadline for requesting accommodations for the bar exam under the Americans with Disabilities Act is November 1 for the February exam and February 1 for the July exam. The fee for filing a Bar Application after the due date is $850, and a passing score on the MPRE exam remains valid for a period of five years from the date of the examination.

Career Opportunities for Lawyers in Louisiana

Being a lawyer in Louisiana opens up a variety of career paths and job opportunities for you. Louisiana-based corporations such as Entergy, Century Link, and Shaw Group regularly employ lawyers, and prestigious law firms in the state have been featured in the US News & World Report’s Best Lawyers/Best Law Firms.

With an estimated growth rate of 80 new lawyer jobs annually in Louisiana, the state offers promising prospects for aspiring legal professionals.

Salary Expectations

The average remuneration for lawyers in Louisiana is approximately $99,490 annually. However, the earning potential for lawyers in the state depends on various factors, such as the type of law they practice, the size of the firm they work for, and their amount of experience.

Loyola University New Orleans, for example, honors esteemed individuals like Blanche and Norman C. Francis is well-known for their legacy of service to higher education. They have also provided immense service to the Roman Catholic Church and have been a great contributor to the city, state and country. By pursuing a law career in Louisiana, you have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact while earning a competitive salary.

In addition to building a successful career, Louisiana lawyers must fulfill continuing legal education (CLE) requirements. The state mandates a minimum of 15 hours of CLE annually, ensuring that practicing lawyers remain up-to-date on the latest legal advancements.

Networking also plays a vital role in a lawyer’s professional growth. By participating in professional organizations such as the Louisiana State Bar Association and local bar associations, you can connect with other attorneys and expand your professional network.

Through continuing education and networking, you can stay current in the ever-evolving field of law and maximize your career opportunities.


In conclusion, becoming a lawyer in Louisiana requires a unique understanding of the state’s civil law system, dedication to obtaining a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, and perseverance in passing the Louisiana State Bar Exam. By selecting the right law school, fulfilling continuing education requirements, and networking with fellow legal professionals, you can build a rewarding career in the diverse legal landscape of Louisiana. Embrace the challenge and embark on an exciting journey towards making a difference in the lives of others through law.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is law school in Louisiana?

LSU Law Center offers a 3+3 program that allows students to complete their law degree in six years, enabling them to obtain both a bachelor’s and law degree in this amount of time.

What do you need to be a lawyer in Louisiana?

To become a lawyer in Louisiana, you must be at least 18 years old, a US citizen, of sound mind and good moral character, and a graduate of an ABA-accredited law school.

Is Louisiana bar exam hard?

The Louisiana bar exam is a unique and lengthy test, with a high cut score of 650 out of 900. It requires careful study of material taught in Louisiana law schools, so those planning to practice in the state should plan accordingly.

Louisiana’s legal system differs from those of other states as it is founded on civil law, rather than the common law systems used elsewhere.

What is the importance of attending an ABA-accredited law school in Louisiana?

Attending an ABA-accredited law school in Louisiana is essential for gaining comprehensive legal education to practice law in the state, as these schools offer dual courses in both civil and common law.

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