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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 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...

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...

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...

How should I prepare for the LSAT?

What will the test be like? The LSAT consists of five multiple choice sections, four of which are graded: • Reading comprehension questions (one section) • Analytical reasoning questions (one section) • Logical reasoning questions (two sections) One additional section is of one of these three types, but is not scored because it...

Just how important is the LSAT?

For a number of reasons, both good and bad, law school admission committees rely heavily on the LSAT (and undergraduate GPA) in making their admission decisions. Do not fool yourself into believing that the rest of your application is so strong that it will cause the law school to overlook...

Addenda

There are a handful of questions on almost every law school application that require elaboration in an attached statement, or addendum, if the applicant answers the question in the affirmative. The three most common addenda questions involve academic challenges, college disciplinary or criminal records, and the so-called “diversity” question. As...

Disciplinary and criminal records

When you apply to law school, you will discover that most applications ask you about your undergraduate disciplinary record and your criminal record. The questions are sometimes very open-ended: those about your disciplinary record might ask for information about any time you have been disciplined either for academic or non-academic...

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