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Law School (Q&A)

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Here are some of the main Questions and Answers about Law Schools...
 
Question: What education must I have before applying to law school?
Answer: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university (in any subject) is a prerequisite for law school.
 
 
Question: What subject should I major in to get into law school?
Answer: Law schools accept a diverse pool of applicants who major in anything from Engineering to English. Students planning to attend law school are not required to major in pre-law. English, Liberal Arts and Political Science are popular majors for would-be law students because they provide a multi-disciplinary background. Writing is also an excellent major because strong writing skills are necessary to succeed in law school and in practice. Lawyers with an engineering and science backgrounds are particularly in demand in today’s legal market, especially in the field of intellectual property.
Choose to major in an area you love and if you decide that law school is not for you, you can pursue a career in your undergraduate area of study.
 
 
Question: What classes should I take to improve my prospects of law school admission?
Answer: Classes that enhance your oral and written communication, analytical, and logical reasoning skills provide a solid background for a career in the law. Participating in extracurricular activities that demonstrate leadership potential, self-discipline and strong character may also enhance your admissions application.
 
 
Question: What do I need to score on the LSAT to get into to law school?
Answer: Since each law school has its own admissions criteria, the minimum LSAT score you must obtain will depend on the law school you wish to attend. Generally, higher ranked law schools have stricter admissions requirements.
U.S. News and World Report is one of the most respected and widely recognized law school ranking authorities. The Internet Legal Research Group also provides free law school ranking data. These entities provide raw data for 2008 law school acceptance for each of the 200+ ABA-approved law schools in the United States and Canada. This data includes grade point averages, LSAT scores and percentage of applicants accepted at each school.
 
For example, successful applicants to the number one ranked law school, Yale University, had grade point averages ranging from 3.83 to 3.97 and LSAT scores ranging from 170 to 176. Only 6.8% of all Yale applicants were accepted.
On the opposite range of the spectrum, applicants accepted to Thomas M. Cooley, a low-ranked school, had grade point averages between 2.79 and 3.37 and LSAT scores between 146 and 152. 66.6% of all applicants were accepted to Thomas Cooley.
 
 
Question: What factors do law schools consider in making admissions decisions?
Answer: Admission to law school is a highly competitive process; a record number of students are competing for a limited number of spots in the nation’s law schools.
In making admissions decisions, law schools heavily weigh two criteria: grade point average and LSAT (law school admission test) score . Law schools view your college cumulative grade point average (GPA) as an indicator of success in law school. Law schools use the LSAT as a method to measure skills required to succeed in law school and beyond, such as reading comprehension and logical reasoning skills.
 
In addition to grade point average and LSAT score, admissions committees will consider other parts of your applicant profile. These include:
 
 
Question: How do I decide what law schools to apply to?
Answer: Selecting a law school is an important decision that should be made with care and research. The Law School Admission Council , a nonprofit corporation comprised of 200+ law schools in the United States and Canada, lists the folllowing factors that students may want to consider in choosing a law school:
  • Breadth and support of alumni network
  • Breadth of curriculum
  • Clinical programs
  • Collaborative research opportunities with faculty
  • Commitment to innovative technology
  • Cost
  • Externship options
  • Faculty accessibility
  • Intensity of writing instruction
  • Interdisciplinary programs
  • International programming
  • Law library strengths and services
  • Loan repayment assistance for low-income lawyers
  • Location
  • Part-time enrollment option
  • Public interest programs
  • Quality of teaching
  • Racial and gender diversity within the faculty and student body
  • Religious affiliation
  • Size of first-year classes
  • Skills instruction
  • Specialized areas of faculty expertise
When evaluating law schools, it is important to bear in mind that some schools are more prestigious and have more rigorous acceptance standards than others. Although criticized by some groups (includingLaw School Admission Council)numerous organizations publish law school rankings. U.S. News & World Report's Top 50 Law Schools is probably the most well-known law school ranking index. Another law school ranking index is the law school ranking data published by the Internet Legal Research Group. You can also purchase the Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools from the Law School Admission Council.
 
 
Question: What will I study in law school?
Answer: During your first year in law school (and second if you are attending part-time), you will take core courses including Contracts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Property Law, Torts, Civil Procedure and Legal Writing. After you complete the core courses you will have more freedom to take specialized classes in areas that interest you such as environmental law and family law as well as advanced classes that build on courses you’ve already completed such as advanced legal writing.
In addition to the traditional theory-based courses, an increasing number of law schools are taking a more practice-oriented approach to legal education, adding classes that focus on real-world skills such as transactional drafting, website creation and client management. Externships and clerkships are also included in many law school programs.
 
 
Question: How much does law school cost?
Answer: A law school education is not inexpensive. A recent study found that the average law student today leaves school with law school loans of more than $84,000 (in addition to the costs of undergraduate school).
Financial assistance for law school is available in the form of scholarships, grants, work-study and loans. Law students usually finance most of their education through loans, either through private sources or the federal government.
 
Question: Can I attend law school part-time?
Answer: Students generally graduate from law school after three years of study. However, many law schools offer part-time programs which generally take four years to complete. Due to the demands of jobs and family, more students are choosing a part-time course of study. Currently about 1 in 10 graduates from ABA-approved schools attended part time, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 

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