Welcome to the first post in a series featuring Law Schools.
During this series, we will be discussing many different topics regarding gaining an education in law. We hope to provide you with useful information that will assist you in your educational and career pursuits.
With so many career paths to ponder, it may be difficult to decide on the profession you wish to pursue. Many people choose to go into the practice of law because of its diverse employment opportunities and high earning potential. Maybe you’re just now considering attending law school, or perhaps, it’s been your childhood dream to attend one of the prestigious law schools in Boston. Whatever the case may be, most first, second and third year law school students (known as 1L, 2L, and 3L, respectively) will tell you that it’s not the best bet for everyone, but perfect for some.
Going to law school can be an exciting journey resulting in a rewarding career in a variety of different professions. Law school typically takes three years to complete and is often characterized by students as “grueling, but worth it”. Just merely getting into law school requires you to study endlessly for LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, which is required for admission by all American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited schools. There are an endless amount of tips for getting into law school, along with countless study guides and practice exams to prepare you for this monumental test, some of which can cost multiple thousands of dollars. While law school acceptance rates can be intimidating, it is important to work hard, focus on your goals, and never give up despite the stress that you may feel.
While a recent U.S. News & World Report article reported that average law school tuition rates have risen for the 2010-2011 school year even as legal jobs have diminished over the same time period, that hasn’t slowed down on the number of applications the top law schools continue to receive. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report explained similar findings, namely, that 3,900 legal jobs were cut in the month of June, capping off a year of 22,200 job losses for the industry. But even given such sobering statistics, there remains little protraction in the number of students continuing to chase their dream of working as a law practitioner.
And perhaps surprisingly, more LSAT tests were administered in the most recent testing year than ever before, according to a U.S. News and Reports article. In fact, Wendy Margolis, communications director at the nonprofit Law School Admission Council (LSAC) explains that they saw a 13.3% year over increase in testing, with 171,514 tests distributed between June 2009 and February 2010. What does it all mean to you? That grades, test scores, and the other requirements for applying to law school are simply more important than ever, and that you’ll need to do some research when determining which schools are the best fit for you.
One factor in the increase in LSAT administration numbers may be the fairly recent increase of schools offering the option to attend law school remotely. An influx of students appear to be trying to improve their chances of getting into law school by applying to new distance learning programs, rather than traditional in-person courses. While some critics argue that a law degree should be earned from traditional brick-and-mortar institutions, there are certainly some accredited, high-quality law degree programs available in an online format.
Once accepted into a law school, you will spend a great deal of time in classrooms listening to lectures and in the library with your nose buried in books, but you’ll also get the opportunity to develop lasting, working relationships with other students. The students that fill the lecture halls with you will one day become your colleagues, and they say that the bond you create with your fellow law school students is a very special friendship that often lasts a lifetime. Not only may they become your closest confidants and friends, but you may also be able to use them as networking resources when the time comes to apply for jobs.
Attending law school requires a strong worth ethic and a great deal of determination, but it is worth every ounce of the time and energy that you are forced to expend on the process. The hours spent studying the law could pay you back with big dividends in terms of the high salaries available to those who are at the top of the legal profession. But remember, as with any important decision, it’s imperative to perform adequate research before diving into the deep end. Be sure to talk to former and current law school students and practicing lawyers to determine whether or not law school is the right fit for you.
Check back soon for the next installment in our series where we will discuss the process of researching law schools.