So you have graduated from college and are considering law school, but aren’t sure how to get started. If you want to go to law school to further your education and position yourself for becoming a lawyer, you will need to go to law school. Choosing a law school can be as easy as applying and being admitted, but for most people, there are some details you need to know first. Here are some tips for starting a career as an attorney after receiving your undergraduate degree.
Consider Your Degree
After college, if you are interested in starting a career as a lawyer the first thing you should do is evaluate whether or not your bachelor’s degree is sufficient for getting into law school. There is no singular best bachelor’s degree for becoming a lawyer, however, some will better prepare you than others. The ABA states that students are admitted into law schools from nearly every area of study, whether it be political science or mathematics.
However, some degrees are not going to be as telling of your potential for law school. For example, a degree in graphic design may not have prepared you for taking the LSAT as one in English may have. If you think that your degree is not going to be as helpful, it might be a good idea to brush up on some of the topics that could help you. The most common prelaw students have degrees in areas including English, economics, business, philosophy, political science, and journalism.
If you want to go to law school but are afraid that your bachelor’s has not prepared you, brush up on some of the general topics mentioned above. If you gain a general understanding of economics, philosophy, political science, and English you will probably get a better idea of whether or not law school is something you could excel in.
Pass the Admissions Test
Law schools require an undergraduate degree, as well as a high enough score on the Law School Admission Test, commonly referred to as the LSAT. The admissions officers at law schools will use this as a core component to measure whether or not you are a knowledgeable and qualified applicant.
The LSAT is not like other admissions tests such as the SAT, where you are evaluated on a variety of topics and skills. Instead, it focuses more on the skills needed to do legal work. This includes reading comprehension, critical thinking, analysis skills, information management, argumentation, and reasoning.
There are five sections of the LSAT, and you are given 35 minutes to complete each one. The first section is on logical reasoning, or arguments, and consists of around 24 to 26 multiple-choice questions. The purpose is to test your ability to identify the main points of an argument, apply logic to abstract concepts, analyze and evaluate arguments, and find relevant information within a provided text. The next section is on analytical reasoning and includes 4 logic games as well as 4 to 7 multiple-choice questions. This section examines your ability to understand the effects and outcomes of decisions, find relationships between concepts, analyze and draw conclusions about certain situations, and use logic to understand ambiguous situations.
The next section is another multiple-choice section with around 27 questions to test your reading comprehension. You will be required to read several texts, normally complicated scholarly essays, and find the main idea as well as any relevant information within them. There is also a variable section, which is an unscored experimental section that can be comprised of arguments, games, or reading comprehension.
Lastly, there is a writing sample section, which will test your ability to form and support your own argument based on facts, as well as how well you can use the English language to express yourself. If you are considering law school, you will want to evaluate how good you are with these kinds of skills. After taking and passing the LSAT you are ready to look into schools.
Choose a Concentration
There are a lot of different sections of the law, so it is important to determine which one you are most interested in before beginning your education. Not only should you familiarize yourself with the teachers, alumni, students, and curriculum of your future school, but you also want to figure out what concentrations they offer. There are many popular concentrations, such as corporate or business law which involves forming and dissolving corporations, handling mergers and acquisitions, settling disputes, and more.
If you would prefer something less about business, family law is a concentration that deals with the legal relationships between individuals. For example, family law attorney’s often handle marriage, divorce, adoption, child custody and welfare, and more. If you are more of a money and numbers person, bankruptcy law is a good option. This section of law deals with bankruptcy cases for individuals as well as businesses and will require you to have a good understanding of financial matters.
Immigration law is a good option if you want to help people trying to live in your country. It can be especially helpful if you speak a language other than English such as Spanish, Mandarin, or Arabic so that you can communicate with your clients. If you already speak another language, you should give this one some consideration.
No matter which concentration you choose, it is important to find one that will meet your goals and priorities. For example, if you want a job that will make you feel good about the work that you do for others, something like family law or immigration law can be a good option. If you would prefer to work with businesses rather than individuals, corporate or business bankruptcy law is always a good option as well.
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