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Want to Be a Diplomat? Go to Law School

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Like so many things, becoming a diplomat is easier said than done.

Well, that's true for most people. If you were born a Kennedy, it might be that easy.

For the rest of us, it's sometimes a tricky political path. But if you go to law school, you are on your way.


Lawyers dominate in the U.S. Congress. They make up nearly 38 percent of the House of Representatives, and 55 percent of the Senate.

Of course, getting elected takes more than a law degree. It also takes money, connections, and a thick skin. But politicians -- especially those who align with a sitting president -- have the best chance at getting plum diplomatic jobs.

There are other, less-political paths to becoming a diplomat. The United Nations, the State Department, and similar organizations need lawyers, too.

It helps to have a degree in political science, to speak a foreign language, or to have experience in related fields. But to become a foreign service officer, you don't need a specific degree or professional experience.


Still, a legal education is a clear path to the top. A long list of famous diplomats includes well-known lawyers.

Hillary Clinton, a lawyer, became Secretary of State. More recently, Caroline Kennedy served as Ambassador to Japan. She is also a lawyer.

And a Kennedy.

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