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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...

Loans

Most law students finance some part of their education through loans.  This overview should help you understand the different types of loans available, and their relative advantages and disadvantages. For more information on federal loans, the US Department of Education has an extensive explanatory website. These days, students primarily...

Regional vs. national firms

Law firms can be either regional or local in their reach, or national or even global.  Much depends on the size of the firm, the area(s) of law in which they practice, and the nature of their clients’ industries and needs. Lawyers who work interstate or internationally must...

Lawyer-Alumni and Pre-Law Network

A great many UMass Amherst students considering legal careers don’t know any lawyers personally—none in the family, no family friends, really no one to connect with in the field in order to learn more about the profession.  A great many lawyers who are alumni of UMass Amherst...

Working during law school

During your first year of law school, you can expect to log 12-15 hours per week in the classroom. The most often-cited benchmark for outside study time is 2-3 hours of study for every hour of class time. Please note that that figure is an average—some students will study...

Politics

A substantial portion of individuals in elected office have law degrees – for example, roughly one-third of members of Congress went to law school.  As well, many high-ranking elected and appointed officials within the executive branch (at both the state and federal level) are lawyers, and, of course, nearly 100% of...

Thinking about law school

Why are you thinking about law school?  The most common reasons I hear are some variation of the following: I like to argue. I took Constitutional Law/Legal 250/Civil Liberties/etc. and it was mind-blowing. Law is so fascinating. I want a reliable, interesting job. I want to make...

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