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What legal careers are available?

Presumably, you’re thinking about law school because some aspect of the law interests you. But there are so many different types of law – different fields (or “practice areas”), different types of law office (“practice settings”) – that it’s sometimes hard to get a handle on what your options might...

Networking

What is networking?  In essence, it’s being friendly with a purpose.  If that sounds crass to you, then, to be blunt, you might want to rethink a career that is based largely on building and maintaining strategic professional relationships. Lawyers can’t adequately represent their clients or...

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...

Transactional practice vs. litigation

Some lawyers help bring people together, other 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...

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...

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...

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...

Addenda

There are a handful of questions on almost every law school application that require the applicant to elaborate in an attached statement, or addendum, if s/he answers the question in the affirmative.  The three most common addenda questions involve academic challenges, college disciplinary or criminal records, and the...

Criminal records

All law school applications ask about your criminal record. One purpose of these questions is to fulfill the schools’ mandate to ensure that applicants for the Bar are of “good moral character”. Depending on the states in which you eventually apply for law school admission, your application materials may be...

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