Education lawyers practice in a variety of areas, including anti-discrimination, disability, Constitutional, copyright and employment law. They represent students, teachers and staff members, as well as academic institutions as an entity. The basic licensing requirements to become an education lawyer are the same as those required for other types of attorneys. You must complete a three-year post-graduate law school program, pass your state's bar examination and show that you meet basic moral fitness requirements.
Develop a background in education as an undergraduate student. Although the Law School Admission Council states that there is no single appropriate pre-law program, to best prepare yourself for a career in education law, take courses in child development and educational theory so that you will better understand the ideas surrounding your clients' cases.
Apply to your law school of choice. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, to be considered for law school admissions, you must complete your bachelor's degree, take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), provide the school with letters of recommendation, attend a personal interview and write a statement explaining you interest in studying education law.
Focus on the subjects you will apply as an education lawyer. Over the course of your law school program, take courses that will give you the foundational knowledge you need to practice employment law. These courses include Constitutional law, administrative law, contracts, torts, disability law, employment law and civil procedure.
Find a clerkship that will give you experience in education law. After completing your first year of law school, you will have the opportunity to work as a student law clerk under the supervision of a licensed attorney. To develop your credentials, clerk with an experienced education lawyer, teacher's union, or nonprofit group that specializes in students' rights, civil liberties or civil rights.
Take your state's bar exam. Once you have completed your law school program, you must pass your state's bar examination before you may practice education law. According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, each state's bar exam is different, but the test usually takes between two and three days to complete.
Show that you are morally fit to practice law. As a prerequisite for licensure, you must provide the board of bar examiners with letters of recommendation, in addition to passing a background check, explains the National Conference of Bar Examiners. If your work as an education lawyer will put you in contact with children, your employer may require additional background checks.
- The requirements to practice law vary by state. Check with your law school or state bar administration for the exact requirements in your jurisdiction.
Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.