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Criteria for choosing a law school

What you’re looking for in a law school depends largely on your career goals—why do you want to be a lawyer in the first place?  But it also depends on a number of other personal factors, including geographic preferences, intellectual interests, and desired learning environment.  The...

Academia

Almost all professors in law schools have a law degree.  Traditionally, this was the only academic credential necessary for teaching in law schools, but in the last decade or so, a growing percentage of law professors have PhDs in addition to or instead of JDs—about 25% of professors at...

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...

Undergraduate preparation for law school

There is no prescribed major or set of undergraduate courses for admission to law school. The best guide is to follow your own personal and academic interests so that you will be motivated to excel—in other words, study what you love. In selecting students, law school admissions committees look...

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...

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...

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 “...

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...

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...

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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