Kim Nguyen Wants to Know How to Become a Lawyer With No Law Degree

Below is a comment from Kim Nguyen. Most of her questions were already answered in the original post of how to become a lawyer with no law school. However, I will see what I can do about answering

Dear Michael,

My name is Kim Nguyen, I read your blog I am extremely interested in becoming a lawyer without attending law school and be enrolled in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program. I also read that there was only 80 students who enrolled in this program. Just a little about me, I graduated HS in 2003 and started my career in real estate in 2004 so that I would be able to afford my college tuition and not be completely broke after I graduated college. And I was unwilling to trade my time to get paid only $7/ an hour. After my first year of Real estate I liked it so much and put my schooling in the back burner. I got my Broker’s license in January 2008 and opened my own real estate corporation in August 2008. I still have a passion for law and want to still become a lawyer one day. I ran into your blog and was really excited about this program. I have browsed through the California Bar and wanted to see if you can help me do what you did. I appreciate you reading my letter, and look forward to hearing from you.

My Response: Honestly, most everything is already in the original blog. As far as helping you do what I did, all I can do is give you a firm statement and example that you can do it. Yes you can.

In order to be on the LOSP, you need a lawyer to teach you who has been in practice at least 5 years. I am only in about 4 years, so I simply cannot teach you.

I read on your blog that I would have to contact the lawyer in the field of law that I want to be in.

Does the lawyer who I study under only needs to have 5 years of experience? Is there any other requirements?

If the lawyer who is willing to help me with this program does not have any experience can he/she still do it?

How do I take the CLEP exam ?

Once I pass that how many hours in a month must I study with the lawyer? Are there specific tests that the lawyer must adminstered to submitt to the California Bar. If so how where can we get this information?

Thanks for your help.

You don’t need to contact a lawyer in the field you want to be in, unless that is what you want to do. You can study under any qualified lawyer.

To take the CLEP, I recommend you get a crash course such as Barrons, and then take it ASAP, unless you already have a BA, BS, or equivalent.

Yes I believe it was 18 hours per week of actual study and 6 hours required in the presence of the lawyer.

As far as tests go, the lawyer has to create the tests. There are no canned tests.

How to Become a Lawyer with no Law School.

Edgar Wants to Be A Lawyer With No Law School or College

Below is a post from Edgar about becoming a lawyer with no law school in Illinois.

I have a high school but I want to go law school but I dont have no money and I have a kid on its way, but I seen your web site and it says no college neede how can I get started what do I need to be a criminal lawyer how can I get started or who can I talk too to know more about this? This is Edgar Martinez I live in chicago illinois please contact me at my email or call me at (Deleted)

My response is as follows: Edgar, I want to say that you are going to first need some basic English grammar and writing skills that are not present in your e-mail above to me.

Next, once you master basic English spelling and sentence structure, you will need to contact your state bar in Illinois and try and find out from them what their rules are.

How to Become a Lawyer with no Law School.

Challenges Faced in Becoming a Lawyer Without Law School

Below is a recent e-mail from Latasha seeking information about the challenges in becoming a lawyer with no law school degree. I will respond at the end as best as I can. Obviously, this response is exclusive to California, as I have no real knowledge as to other state’s offering apprenticeship methods with respect to “reading for the law”.

Ms. Carter
to michael

Hi MIchael my name is Latasha Carter and I’m currently taking the CLEP test because I won’t (sic.) to be a lawyer its my dream and my goal to help change the world and fight for people who do not have a voice or the will to fight my area of practice that I am highly interested in is criminal defense but I also want to be a prosecutor.

My question for you is what are the challenges you faced becoming a lawyer without law school, can a laywer (sic.) be a prosecutor and a defense attorney is it possible, can a lawyer without a degree be just as successful as a lawyer with a degree, what study books can I read to prepare myself for the baby bar and the big bar.

Thank you , I know you get a lot of questions but this is something very dear to my heart I’ve never wanted something so much and to be a lawyer is something I have my heart set on
once again Thank you

Q: what are the challenges you faced becoming a lawyer without law school?

A: Let me qualify this a little. I became a lawyer with no law school degree. I was admitted into law school without having to take the LSAT because I had passed the Baby Bar with no formal legal education.

That having been said, the biggest challenge I had was the ordeal of having to clerk for an attorney and not get paid, and then working in a Home Depot. at night for 10 bucks an hour. Other challenges were all the naysayers who kept telling me how I would never get a job, that I couldn’t possibly be smart enough to pass the Bar with no law school degree, etc.

The funny thing is, I make more than those very same people who still work for firms like Lewis Blah Blah and Gibson Dunce and Blah Blah, so my revenge was proving them all wrong. There were more challenges, but being a Marine, it was nothing compared to basic training.

Q: can a laywer (sic.) be a prosecutor and a defense attorney?

A: Not simultaneously as far as I know. I think most City, District, State and Federal Prosecutors would not be too thrilled about a prosecutor defending alleged criminals. I am sure the State Bar would not be too thrilled either.

Q: can a lawyer without a degree be just as successful as a lawyer with a degree?

A: Absolutely. In fact, there are many famous people who became lawyers with no law school.

Q: what study books can I read to prepare myself for the baby bar and the big bar?

A: I used the Conviser Mini Review, the PMBR audio CD’s, West’s “In a Nuthshell”, and a few others I cant remember. But even more important, was seeing Paul Pfau at Cal Bar Tutorial Review. He was a life coach, not just a tutor. Don’t even waste your time with Bar Bri and what not. Just buy the books and learn the black letter law. Then see Pfau to learn how to write and spot issues. It’s a problem solving speed exam, so learn from the best.

Law Office Study and Marketability as an Attorney

Below is a comment from a person about the Law Office Study Program (“LOSP”) and marketability as an attorney. Her law professor warned her that she may have a hard time getting work without a law school degree, or that she won’t be taken seriously if she pursues the LOS. All I can say is those who can do and those who can’t teach. I am doing very well as a California injury lawyer. Better than many lawyers I know. This is because I am a go-getter, so model yourself after someone like me, and you’ll do just fine.

If you want to follow the so-called “traditional model” and work for someone else (e.g., make someone else rich), then do what your law professor implies. 🙂


I found your blog about becoming a lawyer without law school. I have
some questions, and I hope you can at least point me in the right

I started at law school in ****, but I left after one semester
b/c of personal issues. I had stellar grades through undergrad and law school, as well a good LSAT score. I have no doubts about my ability to pass the mini-bar and bar.

Now I am getting ready to return to school in January, but my boss
wants me to do the LOSP. He is willing to supervise me and works in
my field of law.

Below is an email from one of my old professors, and his
concerns reflect mine: marketability. Will a resume without a law
school (not to mention a top 20 law school) seriously hurt me
professionally? I realize that you are successful now, but you also
seem to be a diamond in the rough. I don’t have aspirations to work
at a huge firm, I just want to support my family and make a decent


Subject: RE: what if i don’t go back to law school?
To: ****************

I don’t know. I don’t know of anyone who has gone the apprentice
route. My main concern would be marketability. While you may not
want a big law firm job, many other possible employers would also
likely refuse to consider a candidate that didn’t go to law school.
You may cut yourself off from many potential non-big firm jobs. My
guess is that most people who go down that apprentice path are people
who don’t have the option to go to law school (i.e., no grades/no LSAT
scores/no admission into accredited schools). I would think that many
employers would assume you went down that path for similar reasons.

That said, it would obviously be cheaper in the short run. But I’d
just be somewhat concerned about what kind of job you might be able to
land after passing the bar if you had no law school on your resume.