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How do I Become a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

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  • Written By: Alexis W.
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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A medical malpractice attorney is a lawyer who represents patients, or the families' of patients, who believe they have been injured due to the action or inaction of a doctor or other medical care provider. The first step to become a medical malpractice lawyer is to become an attorney. After you have become an attorney, you will need to work for a personal injury firm that specializes in medical malpractice law. You will need to be able to attract clients and present cases in a court room to become a medical malpractice lawyer.

To become a medical malpractice lawyer, you must first get the required education that is mandated for every attorney. In the US, the first step is to get your bachelor's degree. While you can major in pre-law, doing so not is not required to get in to law school and many people major in English, psychology, or an unrelated field before applying to law school.

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Before applying to law school, you will also need to pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT tests your ability to resolve logic problems and to comprehend text that you read. Your grade point average (GPA) and LSAT score are important factors in determining which law school you attend. Attendance at a law school is compulsory if you want to become a medical malpractice lawyer. It is best to attend a law school approved by the American Bar Association, otherwise you will need to pass additional testing before you take your bar exam.

Law school is usually a three-year program in the US. Most schools do not offer specialties in medical malpractice. Since medical malpractice is a form of tort litigation, however, you may want to take courses in torts, as well as courses in medical ethics if you know you want to become a medical malpractice lawyer. You may also want to participate in moot court programs or other programs that prepare you to present a medical malpractice case in front of a court room.

Upon graduation, your next step is to find a law firm that represents clients or doctors involved in medical malpractice cases. If you want to represent injured plaintiffs, this usually means going to work for a personal injury law firm, since medical malpractice is considered a form of personal injury litigation.

Once you have begun work at the firm, you may begin to represent clients in medical malpractice cases. You may not be able to find your own clients immediately, so your first steps at the law firm are likely to involve working for the established partners and attorneys in the firm to gain experience and build your reputation. If you want to become a medical malpractice lawyer, you will have to establish yourself as an expert in the field and as a strong courtroom presence in order to attract clients.

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Markerrag
Post 3

@Vincenzo -- The fact that law firms wind up having to back those cases is exactly why someone with a decent claim might have trouble finding a medical lawyer to take or her case. Law firms don't like to take risks and that is understandable because medical malpractice cases are expensive to litigate. If the firm doesn't think it can win, it will not take on a case and risk losing a major investment.

Vincenzo
Post 2

Those lawyers wanting to be successful medical malpractice attorneys had better go to work for a firm with enough money in the bank to back those cases. Medical malpractice cases tend to be taken on a "no win, no fee" basis, and that means the attorney is stuck financing the case until it is resolved.

A smaller firm without a lot of capital reserves simply can't afford to take on medical malpractice cases. Those things just cost too much.

Terrificli
Post 1

What's funny is the vast majority of attorneys didn't bother with majoring in pre-law while earning their bachelor's degrees. Law school is full of history majors, political science majors, art majors, music majors, etc.

Here's something even funnier. A lot of law students don't know what they will specialize in until they pass the bar and start practicing law. That means you've got a ton of medical malpractice lawyers who never took any classes focusing on that specialty.

Strange, no?

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