Are you planning on pursuing a Juris Doctor degree after graduating from your undergraduate studies? Applying for law school is a big decision. If you are struggling in making a decision, it might help to have answers to the most common questions about law school.
The appropriateness of attending law school depends on the kind of work you want to do after graduating. If you want to be a lawyer, it is a good option. However, if you want to work with the government and policy-making sector, you do not need to have a law degree for most it into policy-making jobs or the non-profit and public sectors. In deciding to enter law school, you need to consider your expected salary about the high cost of being in law school.
There is no required undergraduate major for law school, thus students from all majors can get accepted to law school. Most students who are decided to go to law school choose an undergraduate degree which can lead them to get a high GPA. On the other hand, law schools placed a higher premium on LSAT scores rather than in the major degree.
The 80% of your chance to get accepted into law school is based on your GPA and LSAT. The 20% is usually based on your recommendations, personal statement, and other factors that are beyond your control.
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is an exam given by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). It aims to provide law schools a measure of one’s reading, verbal, and reasoning skills that represents a law school applicant. It is a major factor considered when assessing applicants to law school.
The LSAT is given in February, June, October, and December. The admission application deadline for most top-rated law schools is in February. If you take the LSAT in December, your scores may not get to the national law schools in time. Your goal is to take the LSAT only once because your chosen law school may take into consideration your average score or lowest score.
There are available LSAT-preparation courses but they are a bit expensive. There are also available LSAT questions and test applications.
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC), an organization where over 200 law schools in the US, Canada, and Australia are members, will keep your LSAT scores valid for five years. If you have multiple takes of the LSAT, LSAC will keep all of your scores on file.
The LSAT has a 120-180 scale. A score of 150 is considered average. Top law schools only consider law school applicants with a 160 or higher LSAT score. Big schools though tend to look at your percentile. Small scores increase when changing into percentile giving you more chances of being accepted to law school.
This is a subjective question but if you prepared for your LSAT, then it is not too difficult to get admitted to law school. The least selective law school has a 144-149 LSAT range and 2.58-3.23 GPA range. It is not too difficult to achieve these scores. If you are an average student and prepared well for the LSAT, there will be a great chance for law school for you.
It is best to apply to about 10 law schools ranging from the easiest to be accepted and the top national law schools. Top law schools usually require you to at least have an LSAT score of 160-165 (about 70th percentile) out of 180 and at least a GPA of 3.2.
The LSAC has a list of every member law school and the number of recommendations required or preferred. It is best though to have two great recommendations or have it in the way of one great recommendation and one fine recommendation. Most law school admission representatives say they want recommendations that give them a well-rounded picture of who you are. They do not like redundancy so the quality of your recommendation is more important than the number of recommendations you possess.
You can write about any topic in your statement. Admission committees of law schools do not conduct interviews, so use your statement as an opportunity to tell them about yourself. It should include facts that do not appear in your application.
Many law students at the onset do not have any idea of the area of law they want to specialize in. While you are still in law school, you can pause to decide for this and focus fundamentally on your studies. However, if you already know what area of law you want to focus on, you can choose law schools that specialize in these areas of law. Having an in-depth focus on a certain area of law can make you more competitive in the job market.
Corporate Law has lawyers working for large companies either as an in-house lawyer or for clients of a law firm. Trial or Litigation lawyers are those who often represent clients in court cases. There are also Family Law, Real Estate Law, Bankruptcy Law, Contract Law or Business Law, medical and Malpractice Law, and Administrative Law which you may also consider. Law involving dealing with government agencies including Space Law, Maritime Law, Insurance Law, Estate Planning, and other specific areas of law.
Tuition and other fees vary depending on the status of the law school whether public or private and you can also enroll as a part-time or full-time law student. Applying for financial aid packages and scholarships can greatly bring down the cost of your law studies. A top law school would cost about $146,505 in three years for a full-time law student and about $147,050 for a part-time student.
Part-time students will have a few hours of classes on weekday evenings. The entire Juris Doctor degree will then take four academic years and at least one summer to complete. This schedule will practically leave you with little time for work since you will also have to allot time for studying, especially reading and attending group studies.
Tuition fees for part-time students are based on the cost per credit hour (you need 85 credit hours to graduate). Tuition fees for full-time students are computed on a per-semester basis.
A law school curriculum is a combination of classroom learning of the basics of the law, hands-on experience, clinical courses, and internships.
Yes, law students can look for available federal Financial Aid, Federal Direct Plus Loan, schools' loan repayment assistance programs, and private loans.
Most law students are advised to keep debts to a minimum. It should be in line with your expected salary once employed.
Lawyers who are graduates of the Top 10 Law Schools have more doors open than graduates of law schools with lower rankings. If you can only afford to enroll in a lower-ranked law school, make sure to graduate at the top of your class and do more extra-curricular activities like clinics and writing journals. This may open similar doors as graduating from a top law school.
Many say that law school is an academic challenge with the first year being the most difficult. In law school you will be exposed to the Socratic Method and Case Method of learning, you will, therefore, need to prepare well for each of your classes. Reading is the most important activity you will be doing while in law school.
For those considering attending law school, you must know what you are getting into. Law school is expensive. Law school will require you to do a lot of reading and studying to a level you have never experienced in college. More importantly, not all lawyers have the privilege of landing good-paying jobs. For the lucky ones though, a Juris Doctor and perhaps a Masters in Law are tickets to greater career and financial success.
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