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Law School Information

How long is law school?

Generally, three years. Some schools have part-time programs that let students spread out studies over four or five years.

What will I study in law school?

Your first year at most law schools will consist of required "meat and potatoes" courses like Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts, Property, etc. You will also take a course in legal research and writing. The majority of your other two years of study will consist largely of elective courses. While there are no "majors" in law school per se, some students try to take all of the courses they can in particular areas of law (e.g., criminal law, tax law, etc.) to make themselves more marketable to particular employers.

How hard is it to get into law school?

It depends upon the school. Many of the "Ivy League" caliber schools (e.g., Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc.) are extremely selective and admit only a couple hundred applicants from the thousands of applications they receive. Other law schools have much higher acceptance rates.

What law school should I attend?

The one that is the best "fit" for you. Whether or not a school fits as such will be determined by many factors. Of course, one will be your ability to gain admission. Others might be a school's location or its cost. Each law school has its own distinct personality. You will want to plan on visiting your schools of choice to sit in on classes and to talk to current students to help you decide whether or not the school is a good fit for you.

Shouldn't I just go to the best law school I can get into?

Not necessarily. Things like law school rankings that purport to tell which schools are better than others are dubious things whose methodology and results are often questioned by many people. Stick with assessing the school's "fit" for you personally. Remember, if you go to the best law school in the country but are miserable there, you'll probably not perform very well. It seems doubtful that graduating at the bottom of the class of even a prestigious law school would be much of a feather in your cap.

How expensive is law school?

Generally speaking, very expensive. Many private law schools charge upwards of $25,000 per year for tuition alone. Some schools will offer scholarships to exceptional applicants, but these are typically rare. Unless you attend a state school as a state resident, you should probably anticipate incurring several thousand dollars of student loan debt to finance your legal education.

Will I make a lot of money as a lawyer?

Maybe-and maybe not. Some attorneys make a great deal of money and many live quite comfortably. However, many attorneys (especially those working in legal aid or prosecutorial jobs) make relatively modest incomes, though they do find their work very fulfilling. If you are planning on becoming a lawyer only for the money, you might want to rethink your plans. You could probably make as much (or more) as many lawyers do by earning an MBA or an advanced degree in computer science and skip the stress of law school in the process.

Is law school hard?

Obtaining a law degree is very challenging, but it is obviously doable. The same skills that promote success in undergraduate education (e.g., intelligence, discipline, commitment, etc.) promote success at law school as well.

When do I apply to law school?
Most law schools operate on a "rolling admissions" basis. They will begin receiving applications in September or October and have application deadlines in February or March. Early application is strongly encouraged.
When should I take the LSAT?

The LSAT is administered four times per year in February, June, October, and December. Since you will want to take the LSAT and receive your scores prior to applying, you should plan on sitting for the June or October test in the year you wish to apply.

Should I take an LSAT prep course?

Not necessarily. With discipline, you can teach yourself anything such courses would. That said, many students find courses helpful in improving test scores.

Which course LSAT prep course should I take?

You should shop around for the course that fits you best in light of such factors as cost, location, meeting schedule, etc. Most importantly, you should evaluate each course for what it claims to do to help you prepare for the test. In the end, promises of increasing scores drastically are often hollow. UNG does not recommend or endorse any particular LSAT prep course.

Where can I found out about the LSAT (its format, how to register for the test, etc.)?

At the home page of the Law School Admission Council (http://www.lsac.org/).

What kinds of grades and test scores do I need to get into law school?

It depends upon the law school. Some are very selective, generally admitting students whose GPAs average 3.5 - 3.75 and whose LSAT scores are above 170. Other law schools routinely admit students with much lower numbers.

Are grades and test scores all law schools look at?

Most law schools consider other factors in evaluating applicants (e.g., work experience, graduate degrees, etc.). However, virtually all schools weight GPA and LSAT scores greatly. The higher those numbers are, the more likely you will be to make a competitive application.

What should I major in if I want to attend law school?
Anything you wish-and preferably something you enjoy and will do well at. There are, generally speaking, no prerequisites for law school admission. Law schools prefer that students take a rigorous college program of study likely to cultivate analytical and writing skills. The pre-law major offered by the Department of Political Science and International Affairs will do just that.
I've heard I should take courses in things like Latin and logic since that will help me in law school. Is this good advice?

Not really. If you are interested in these subjects, then by all means take courses in them. But taking them in the belief that they will give you a "leg up" in law school is liable to be a waste of time.

Are extracurricular activities important?

They can be. Occasionally, law schools will look at such activities in evaluating an applicant. Some activities (e.g., like extensive volunteer work or campus leadership positions) might make an otherwise borderline applicant "stand out" enough to gain admission. However, all the extracurricular activities in the world will probably not compensate for mediocre grades and test scores. (Indeed, participation in too many extracurricular activities might detract from your ability to achieve good grades and test scores…)

 

I'm thinking of taking some time off after I graduate. Will that hurt my chances of getting into law school?

No. Indeed, if you do something with your time off that is remarkable (e.g., volunteer services or working at a law-related job), it might help your chances of being admitted.

If I don't get in to the law school of my dreams, can I attend another school and transfer?

Transferring from one law school to another is generally possible, but often very difficult. First, not all law schools accept transfer students. Those that do accept transfer students generally only accept students into their second year classes if some students in their first year classes drop out. Attrition rates at most law schools are quite low. Consequently, most schools routinely accept only 3-5 transfer students in any given year and those students will typically have performed quite well in their first year of law school. In short, transferring is very competitive and you should not take it for granted that you will be able to do so. Your best bet is to enroll initially at a law school that you would be OK graduating from since you will probably spend three years there.

Can I practice law in the military?

Yes. The Judge Advocate General's Corps (also known as the "JAG Corps" or "JAG") is the legal arm of the U.S. military. You can find out more about JAG opportunities by searching on the Internet or by contacting an army or navy recruiter.

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