How to become a lawyer?

Unless you are a doctor of law or have practiced for more than eight years as a lawyer, if you want to wear a black dress one day, you have to go through a series of exams, which require serious preparation. Zoom on the course that leads to the courtyards.

Want to take the bar exam? Start by enrolling in a judicial studies institute (YEI), where you can prepare for the entrance examination at the Regional Center for Professional Legal Education (CRFPA). It is in this structure that you will prepare a second (and final) exam: the famous Capa (certificate of aptitude to the profession of lawyer).

IEJ: compulsory registration, but optional courses

To pass the bar exam, you must hold a M1 in law, or an IEP diploma (or any other diploma deemed equivalent by a commission). Future lawyers then enroll in an Institute of Judicial Studies (YEI). One can opt for one of his faculty of origin, or another of his choice (knowing that the examination is more or less difficult according to YEI). Attached to the university, this structure has for mission to organize the examination of the CRFPA but also to prepare, during a school year, the students by means of courses of legal news and sessions of white exams.

Courses are not mandatory and you can choose to prepare yourself by other means, but one tip: you have to start working a year in advance.

More and more candidates are turning to private preparations, such as ISP or Capavocat, which provide quality intensive courses over summer periods of six to eight weeks. However, if the success rate within these structures is high, registration fees (between 800 and 2500 €) may limit more than one.

The CRFPA Entrance Exam: The “Grand O” Course

Regionally organized, the relatively selective examination (around 35% admitted) consists of two types of tests:

● written eligibility tests

● oral tests, which determine admission. Among them, we find: the large oral commonly called “big O”, the bête noire of student-lawyers. And for good reason: this decisive test that focuses on fundamental rights and freedoms is more like a job interview than a simple control of knowledge where the candidate will be judged on his ability to bounce and express his ideas.

Attention: to enter the CRFPA, you must obtain the average on the exam, so you are not competing with the other candidates, but you can not attend more than three times. Beyond that, you will have to turn to other careers.

CRFPA training

The training at the bar’s school is divided into three periods of eighteen months, knowing that the order varies according to the school:

● A relatively light theoretical training on the fundamentals, particularly on the ethics, status and practical aspects of the legal profession. This training is common to all student lawyers.

● The realization of an individual educational project (PPI) which consists of an internship in a company or a jurisdiction, or even with other legal professionals such as notaries or bailiffs. Objective: to broaden its field of observation in social and professional circles directly related to the practice of law. Note that it is also possible to do a professional Master 2 with the agreement of his CRFPA.

● An internship in a law firm during which the student will discover his future job for the first time since the beginning of his studies. The internship makes it possible to acquire the professional skills necessary for an activity of full exercise but above all, it often leads to a collaboration. For this reason it is recommended to choose your course carefully, knowing that it is sometimes better to opt for a less prestigious firm that will offer you real prospects for the future.

The Capa (Certificate of Aptitude of the Profession of Lawyer): the last straight line

The test is much less selective than the CRFPA, as evidenced by the figures (98.8% of success in 2013!), Capa issued at the end of the training at the school allows graduates to take immediate oath before the Court of Appeal and to register at the bar of their choice. If they wish, they can create their own firm or, more frequently, become a collaborator within a firm with the significant possibility of developing their own clientele in parallel.