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Attorneys, as a rule, choose one or two areas of the law in which to focus their practice. Some choose to work in the area of adoptions and, therefore, to become an adoption attorney. Jurisdictions throughout the world may have different requirements for an attorney who aspires to become an adoption attorney. Within the United States, the path to become an adoption attorney starts with the required education, followed by licensing and experience in adoption law.
In the United States, an aspiring attorney must first complete a four-year degree culminating in the receipt of a bachelor's degree. There is no actual "pre-law" major. A law school applicant may apply with a bachelor's degree in any major he or she chose to pursue. If, however, an undergraduate student is certain that he or she plans to become an adoption attorney, an undergraduate major in psychology or social work are excellent options.
After undergraduate school, a future attorney must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and apply to law school. Selection criteria vary; however, most law schools look for a high LSAT score as well as a high grade point average from undergraduate school. Once accepted, a student must complete three years of law school resulting in a juris doctorate degree. While in law school, a student who plans to become an adoption attorney should look for internships or part-time employment opportunities with the local juvenile or probate court, or with a local adoption agency or law firm that practices adoption law.
After law school, all attorneys must become licensed in the state where he or she plans to practice law. In most states, licensing requires the successful completion of the bar examination as well as the multi-state professional responsibility examination (MPRE). A character and fitness component is also usually part of licensing.
Once licensed, an attorney who wishes to practice adoption law should seek employment with either a private firm that handles adoptions or with a state agency that facilitates adoptions. Adoptions are either considered public or private. Public adoptions are not in the public record, but rather they are adoptions of children that have part of the public system such as foster children. The local office of family and children, or a similar agency, usually handles a large volume of adoptions each year of children who have been removed from their biological parents and are now available for adoption.
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