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Legal fields and practice areas

A field or “practice area” of law refers to legal practice relevant to a particular type of law, or, more commonly, a particular industry or business.  Most law relates to business, with a handful of exceptions.  The largest exception is criminal law – the body of law relating to...

Resources for researching legal careers

There are a number of published resources for finding out more about different legal careers—so many that it would be impossible to list them all.  But here are a few that we’ve found especially helpful: Online resources NALP: The National Association of Legal Career Professionals NALP is...

Deciding where to apply

There are some 200 law schools in the United States that are accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Applying to law school is a costly and time-consuming endeavor, but not nearly as costly or time-consuming as attending law school. Since you will likely leave law school with a personal debt...

Transactional practice vs. litigation

Some lawyers help bring people together, others help break them apart – that’s the best way to describe the difference between these two largest classes of lawyers. Transactional practice involves researching, preparing and reviewing the documents that bring individuals and companies together: from contracts for large corporate mergers and acquisitions...

Rankings

This is the criterion most often discussed by prospective law students and the most difficult to determine because it is so subjective. You need to decide what is important to you and not rely on someone else’s “ranking.” In particular, once you leave the set of 10 or 20 schools considered “...

Nuts and bolts of law school tuition and financial aid

The first step in your financial planning is to figure out how much law school is going to cost.  Every school publishes its current tuition figures on its website.  Each school also calculates and publishes its annual “cost of attendance,” or COA (sometimes referred to as the “student...

Private practice vs. public service/public interest

Another distinction among lawyers is between those who work in private firms and/or for companies, and those who work for government or in non-profit work.  The first type is generally referred to as “private practice” while the second is called “public interest” (or, occasionally, “public service”).  Attorneys...

Scholarships

Law school scholarships The posted tuition cost for any given school is just the starting place. All schools offer scholarships to some extent, and an increasing percentage of students are able to attend school with some kind of institutional grant aid. Think of the tuition number as your sticker price,...

Firm size: From solo to BigLaw

A lot of attention in the mainstream media (and popular culture) gets focused on lawyers working in large firms (often referred to as “BigLaw”).  But only about 10% of law grads—roughly 4,000 out of the 40,000 who graduated law school in 2015—enter jobs in the very large law firms (those with 500...

Researching law schools

Once you have decided what you want from a law school, then you can begin to narrow your search. Application fees range from $50 to $90. Being selective saves you time and money. (Please note, though, that fee waivers are often available for applications.) However, don’t put all your eggs in...

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