"Q: Why won't sharks attack lawyers? A: Professional courtesy" -Funny Humor
For all the flack that lawyers get, they’re a crucial part of the systems that keep society functioning. This can be seen through their work within the legal system and in the work they can be seen doing in the political arena. As a matter of fact, some of the most well-known politicians have an educational background in Law. So what does it take to be a lawyer? What does getting into law school entail? You’ll see in a moment that becoming a lawyer is an involved process that often starts while you’re still an undergraduate.
Law School Admissions Requirements
First things first, you’ll need an undergraduate degree. This doesn’t necessarily have to come from a pre-law program. There are many applicants who apply with business degrees or something within the humanities. What matters here is your GPA. In addition, the results of your Law School Admission Test (LSAT) will be an important part of getting accepted. Increasingly, committees are looking at professional and practical work experience as well. For those who aren’t necessarily working with an upper-tier GPA, your law school essay or personal statement and your recommendation letters may still get you in. Basically, the better your resume looks, the better your chances are.
After You Get Into Law School
Good news! You’ve been accepted! What can you expect now that you're officially in law school? Generally speaking, you’re looking at around 3 years of school working towards your JD. In some situations, you may be able to work 4 years towards your JD. Usually there’s a standard 1st year curriculum that introduces students to the legal concepts that they’ll be using throughout the rest of the degree program and their legal careers. Schools are typically very rigid about this part, so law students don’t often have a lot of time on their hands.
Selecting a Law School
There are many schools that offer programs in areas like “Legal Studies” and similar. If you want to actually practice law as a licensed attorney, you’ll want to make sure that the JD program is accredited. Since getting a good placement’s as much about networking as it is about skill these days, you may want to focus on the more prestigious schools. At the same time, though, remember that acceptance into law school isn’t easy. It’s in your best interests to “cast your net wide,” so to speak, and hope for the best.
What About the Money?
Law school’s expensive in large part due to heavy workloads and the expenses typically associated with graduate-level schooling. It’s very difficult to work and study law at the same time. Especially since schools aren’t usually flexible about giving students extra time to complete their degrees. For this reason, it can’t hurt to look into options like student loans and scholarships. Your bank might even have a student plan specifically for law students.
Job Expectations Coming Out of Law School
Criminal and Civil Law are two areas that law school graduates are qualified to work in. As Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton, and Franklin Roosevelt have shown, lawyers can successfully work in government too. That being said, finding a job as a law graduate--even from a good school--can be difficult. Consequently, researching job placement rates for different programs is that much more important if you’re planning to attend law school. Do you dream of winning headline courtroom cases? Does the thought of someday writing up an ironclad contract excite you? Law School’s one of those fast-paced careers that requires a lot of work to start up. After you’ve passed your bar exams, however, you definitely won’t regret going.