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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...

Internships

Internships—paid, for credit, or entirely volunteer—are the best way to get experience in a legal field before making the big decision about whether law school is the right path to the career you want to pursue. The answer to the question, “Should I do an internship?” is always,...

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...

Deciding where 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...

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...

Is law school a good investment?

Given the long term financial ramifications, it is imperative that you ask yourself this question. There is no universal answer—only you can decide whether, given a number of factors, law school represents a good investment for you. Among the factors to consider are the following: Why do you want...

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...

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