Sign up to our Newsletter

How To Become a Family Lawyer

August 22, 2023


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 01/17/23

If you’re interested in pursuing a legal specialty that deals directly with family law matters, read on to learn more about how to become a family lawyer. 

We’ve all heard the statistic that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. While the matter is a little more complicated than this, what isn’t complicated is the involvement of family lawyers in these cases!

Like divorce, family lawyers are interested and involved in any issues relating to families. This guide will go into further detail about the other types of cases family lawyers deal with, their typical salaries, and more!

How To Become a Family Lawyer: Steps To Take

Steps to becoming a family lawyer

If you’re considering becoming a family lawyer, there are several steps you must take to do so successfully:

Step One: Obtain an Undergraduate Degree

The first step to take before you even attend your first law school lecture is to complete an undergraduate degree from an accredited university. This prerequisite is required for admission to any law school.

During your undergrad, ensure you maintain a high GPA in order to get into your dream law school. There is no perfect pre-law major, so just choose one that interests you the most so you’re more likely to do well in it.

Consider taking courses from various disciplines to expand your knowledge base and prove to admissions committees that you’re talented in various fields! Having a wide skill set will impress the committee far more than any particular major. 

Step Two: Join Extracurriculars

While you’re still in your undergrad, make sure to join useful extracurriculars to fill up your law school resume. While these extracurriculars likely won’t be law-related, ensure you demonstrate good leadership, collaboration, organization, and responsibility in these extracurriculars. 

As law is part of the service sector, it’s a good idea to gain volunteer experience as well. Doing so will demonstrate that you already have a commitment to and passion for serving the public!

Step Three: Choose Your Top Law Schools

As you get to your last couple years of your undergrad, you should start deciding which law schools you’d like to apply to! By picking out your top law schools early, you give yourself enough time to meet their admission requirements to maximize your chances of acceptance.

For instance, you should keep note of their median GPA, median LSAT, and other important factors they look at.

When choosing your law school, look for colleges that let you concentrate in family law. For instance, DePaul University is well known for its family law program that gives students the opportunity to join externships, practicums, and clinics that handle a diverse set of topics in family law.

Step Four: Write Your LSAT

Once you’ve figured out your target LSAT score, you should create a comprehensive study plan to meet your desired score! Begin with a diagnostic LSAT test to gauge your base abilities and plan your studies accordingly.

Ensure you give yourself enough time to retake the test in case you score lower than expected!

Step Five: Complete Your JD

Once you’ve gotten into your desired law school, it’s time to begin your actual legal education! Maintain high grades, join any extracurriculars that can offer you legal experience, and ensure you find useful summer employment that will help you land a job post-graduation!

Step Five: Write the Bar Exam

After successfully completing your JD, you’re almost at your final destination of becoming a family lawyer! The last step before you can officially practice is to write your bar exam. This exam will license you to practice family law as an independent attorney. Ensure you create a good study schedule in order to ace it!

(Optional) Step Six: Get an LLM Degree

As an optional last step, if you wish to further specialize in family law, you can complete an LLM. This LLM will allow you to have more expertise in this area of law, can differentiate you from other candidates, and ultimately lead to more job prospects!

What Does a Family Lawyer Do?

Family law serves various purposes, including:

  • Wills and estate issues: any disputes over who owns investments, properties, or other valuables 
  • Separation and divorce: decide legal terms, spousal support, division of assets
  • Child and Custody Support: custody battles, terms of custody, help decide the amount of child support owed
  • Prenuptial agreements: decide what the spousal support and division of assets would be in the event of divorce
  • Adoptions: help move the adoption process along, advise people on their adoption rights, and handle any other legal matters
  • Domestic abuse: often called domestic abuse lawyers, these lawyers help victims of domestic abuse file and submit their reports and file motions for safety

While most people associate family law with just divorces, these lawyers actually cover a range of topics! Some lawyers may choose to only focus on one of these types of cases or may tackle them all!

Family Lawyer Salary and Job Outlook

While becoming a lawyer itself is challenging, getting an actual job as a family lawyer is too! Like most areas of law, there is a lot of competition in this specialty!

The majority of family lawyers work in large or small firms. The average salary of these lawyers largely depends on their experience:

  • Little to no experience: Around $60,000 a year
  • One to four years of experience: Around $70,000 a year
  • Five to nine years of experience: Around $$83,000 a year
  • 10 to 18 years of experience: Around $86,000 a year
  • 20 or more years of experience: Around $200,000 a year

Accordingly, while you may not earn as much in the first few years of your career, you have high earning potential if you stick with it!

It’s also worth noting that your salary is highly dependent on the state you work in! For instance, Los Angeles pays 30% higher than any other state, whereas Texas salaries are 22% lower than the average. 

Regardless of which state you choose to practice in, rest assured family law will always be in demand – so long as families exist!

FAQs: Becoming a Family Lawyer

If you have any remaining questions, here are the answers to frequently asked questions about how to become a family lawyer!

1. What Major Is Best for Family Law?

It’s highly possible you’ll get into law school with any degree, but it’s not so easy to get into law school with a low GPA. As such, there is no perfect major for family law, only a perfect GPA! 

Your desired law school will have a median GPA that you should aim to maintain or surpass during your undergrad. In order to do this, you should choose a major you enjoy!

2. How Long Does it Take To Become a Family Lawyer?

It’ll take at least seven years to become a family lawyer. Your undergrad will take four years and your JD will take three. If you choose to also obtain an LLM, it will take an additional year or two.

3. How Do I Become a Family Lawyer In Florida?

To become a family lawyer in Florida, you can follow all of the same steps except step five. While you still have to write a bar exam, it isn’t the UBE. It's a Florida state bar exam which includes the MBE. Students must also take the MPRE

4. How Do I Become a Family Lawyer In Georgia?

The steps to become a family lawyer in Georgia are the same as the ones listed above, except Georgian lawyers must take the Georgia state bar exam not the UBE, as well as the MBE and MPT. 

5. How Hard Is It To Become a Family Lawyer?

Becoming a family lawyer will be challenging. Not only will it be a long journey, but it’ll be academically rigorous! Aspiring family lawyers will have to maintain high grades throughout their undergrad and legal education and work hard to land a good job post graduation!

6. Which State Pays the Most for Family Lawyers?

Los Angeles currently pays 30% more than the national average for family lawyers.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about how to become a family lawyer and what family law entails, you should be able to decide if it's the right area of law for you! While the journey will be long and challenging, in the end, you’ll be able to help countless families handle stressful and sensitive matters!

Schedule A Free Consultation

Plan Smart. Execute Strong. Get Into Your Dream School.

You May Also Like