Studying law can open many doors – people who obtain a law degree can go and practice law as an attorney, but they may also find careers in other fields such as politics, diplomacy, economics, business, and education. The rewards are plenty, but before you embark on this journey, it is important that you understand your goals and what it will take to achieve them. The admissions process for law schools in the US can be a bit intimidating. So, let’s explore more about the law school application and admissions process.
Law School 101
In various countries, students start their law studies right after high school or secondary school. Most universities in other countries only require a high school diploma or the equivalent in that country to admit students to their law faculties. Studying law in the US is quite different from that international format. Law is a professional academic field, the equivalent of a graduate degree in other parts of the world.
Law schools are part of public or private universities that grant Juris Doctor (J.D.) degrees. Law schools may also grant other graduate law degrees such as Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees for students who have already obtained their Juris Doctor.
The Juris Doctor program typically lasts 3 years for full-time students and 4 years for part-time students. First-year (1L) students usually take courses in legal writing, contracts, torts, criminal law, constitutional law, and other courses. Most students feel that the first-year is the “hardest” and the most intense because of all the core courses, exams, and the Socrates method used in most of their classes where students are cold called by the professor to state a case or respond to a case-based question.
Most second-year students (2L) focus on other activities such as Law Review, Moot Court, and other extra-curricular activities that offer a lot of practice. This is extremely important for most 2L students since they need to start looking for legal internships for the summer months between the second and third years.
Third-year students (3L) focus on taking electives such as international law, immigration law, antitrust law, intellectual property law and others that serve as specialization courses. Third-year students also focus most of their time in obtaining employment and studying for the bar exam.