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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...

Rankings

This is the criterion most often discussed by prospective law students and the most problematic. The rankers choose factors that they think are important, and then give them weight relative to one another to produce their lists. Those criteria may or may not be important to you, and are unlikely...

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”). 

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, in addition to the $45 per school that LSAC charges. Being selective saves you time and money. (Please note, though, that many, possibly most, law schools offer...

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...

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...

Deciding which school to attend

The law schools have made their decisions; now it’s up to you to decide which offer of admission to accept. How do you decide between the prestigious school that offered you no scholarship, and the somewhat less prestigious one that offered you a free ride? Or between the East...

Legal careers not requiring a law degree

Individuals without law degrees who work in law-related careers generally either work as paralegals, legal assistants and legal secretaries, and/or in any of a number of positions in the criminal justice fields. There are also a number of law-related career paths for social work and mental health professionals in...

Learning more about legal careers

These pages outline only the very barest of information about legal careers.  There are three basic ways to find out more, listed here in declining order of helpfulness:work in one or more law offices, talk to practicing attorneys, and read more detailed descriptions of legal careers. Remember, this...

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