The Legal Industry in Louisiana
Though Louisiana contains major population centers such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge, its population of licensed attorneys (19,714 in 2022, according to the ABA, a decline of nearly eight percent from the previous year) pales when compared to other nearby states such as Florida (77,223) or Georgia (33,729). But while The Pelican State lacks the prestige of mature legal markets such as New York or Chicago, it still has a diverse number of common practice areas.
The BEA reports that Louisiana has a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of $258.5 billion, and it occupies a strategic position as a prime provider of energy in the forms of oil and natural gas, as well as commercial fishing. The state comprises one-fifth of the United States’ refining capacity and features a developed chemical production sector.
Common legal specializations recognized by the state include appellate practice, tax law, employment law, estate planning, business bankruptcy, labor law, and health law. Other practice areas in Louisiana are energy law and environmental law.
It Difficult to Practice Law in Louisiana?
Practicing law in Louisiana is substantially different from doing so in other states. For example, the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Bar Admissions has no specific educational requirement for an individual seeking to attend law school. However, the ABA requires law school applicants to receive a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institute of higher learning, although it does not specify the field of study.
After receiving an undergraduate degree, prospective lawyers must pass the LSAT (Law School Administration Test) and should try to at least achieve a score ranging from the low 140s to high 150s, which is the average range of scores accepted by the four ABA-accredited law schools in Louisiana. After getting accepted to law school and enrolling, aspiring attorneys will need to register as law students with the Louisiana Bar. Upon completing their course of study and receiving their J.D. (Juris Doctor), they will sit for the bar exam.
Being the only part of the United States that follows civil law rather than the English common-law tradition, Louisiana does not have reciprocity with other states. It will allow applicants with degrees from foreign law schools to sit for the bar exam if they pass an education equivalency evaluation conducted by the state, have worked as an attorney for three of the past five years, and have completed a minimum of 14 hours of credit in the following subjects:
- Constitutional Law
- Intellectual Property
- Federal Civil Procedure
- Louisiana Obligations Law
- Criminal Law
- Business Organizations
- Louisiana Civil Procedure
- Uniform Commercial Code