In 2019, Kim Kardashian revealed that she was studying to be a lawyer, and if everything goes as planned, she will become a qualified lawyer in 2022. However, after the initial announcement of pursuing law career, Kim has not posted anything about the progress of law studying. My initial reaction, as a law student, to this news was the life of a lawyer does not have so much fun as reality show. But later, I changed my mind.
Why would Kim Kardashian want to become a lawyer?
After helping a non-violent drug offender Alice Marie Johnson get freed from a life sentence, and playing a crucial role in criminal justice reform, Kim decided to pursue a career in law. As she explained, what she wants to do is to fix the legal system.
But how to become a qualified lawyer in the US without going to law school?
Kim's route to a law career is uncommon. Instead of going to law school, she has been doing a four-year law apprenticeship under the supervision of lawyers. In 2014, out of 83,963 bar exam takers, only 60 were apprentices.
The Four-year process to be a lawyer:
Sit in a practicing attorney’s office for 18 hours per week for a period of four continuous years (As a full-time law student, I even don’t take 18 hours lectures+seminars per week)
Passage of the First-Year Law Students’ Examination
A positive moral character determination
Passage of the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination
Passage of the California Bar Examination
Neverthless, it has never been an easy way, let alone the priority for the wealthy. It requires four years of mentorship and thousands of hours of self-led work, in the meanwhile pass rates are pretty low.
Despite the low pass rates of apprenticenship, still thousands of young people try to take advantage of this approach as total cost for apprenticenship is much lower than the traditional route. As Kim said in a reality show, ‘this path is not rich people’s privilege but for those prospective lawyers who cannot afford law school’.
For those who have a desire to pursue law career in the UK without a qualifying law degree:
Any undergraduate degree
Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) one year (but it may be rather intensive since it squeezes three-year’s material into one year)
Solicitors: Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)
Two years’ qualifying work experience.
Barrister: Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)
Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)
Pupillage (but it is very competitive to get a place)
Another less common route is the six-year apprenticeship, which combines part-time work and training at a law firm for a professional qualification.
Hardship Kim has faced:
No matter how many advantages Kim has enjoyed, just like normal female pursuing some challenging career, she is facing difficulties as well. Before making the decision to study law, she would inquiry her husband’s opinions; she also feels overwhelmed to balance study and family life and not everyone around supports her. Moreover, she has to bear criticisms from the public, someone commented under her Instagram post regarding law career, ‘You would not be a good lawyer because you would cry too much’. What Kim responded was:
"I want people to understand that there is nothing that should limit your pursuit of your dreams, and the accomplishment of new goals. You can create your own lanes, just as I am. The state bar doesn’t care who you are.”
Women in Law:
To be fair, Kim Kardashian, has grown up with loads of visible or invisible advantages. Her father, Robert Kardashian, is one of the most reputational lawyers after being an essential member of Simpson’s dream legal team. Nevertheless, she raises a rather good point: why women should not be allowed to try new things. She deserves my respect if she can pass one of the toughest law tests and inspire more women who may have already been married or been a mother to pursue their dream career without fear of judgement from others.
Johnson, D. Why Are Lawyers Mad at Kim Kardashian? <https://medium.com/@bydebrajohnson/why-lawyers-are-mad-at-kim-k-b581cc79a1a8>
Bliss, S. Kim Kardashian Is Becoming A Lawyer: What Her Move Can Teach You About Making A Career Leap
Duckett, L. How to Become a Solicitor Without a Degree. <https://www.thelawyerportal.com/blog/how-to-become-a-solicitor-without-a-degree/>
Crockett, Z. How to Be a Lawyer Without Going to Law School <https://priceonomics.com/how-to-be-a-lawyer-without-going-to-law-school/>
1st Year LLB Student