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Law - Helpful Information

Things to know

Most law schools don't require you to take certain classes or major in a specific subject to be accepted. They prefer prospective students to have a broad liberal arts background. For example, they look for courses in history, composition, political science, sociology, and economics. In addition, courses in statistics and accounting can be useful. Computing, library, and reading skills are also extremely important.

The LSAT is a four-hour, standardized test that tests your reading and verbal reasoning skills. The higher your score (the maximum is 180), the more likely you will be admitted into high-ranking law schools. You can take the LSAT four times per year, but law schools prefer that you take it in October or June to ensure they receive your scores on time.

You can round out your application with a well-written personal statement, letters of recommendation from professors, and extracurricular activities such as internships or community service. In addition, many law schools look favorably on work experience after your undergraduate degree. Because admission to law school is very competitive, activities and experiences that set you apart will only distinguish your application.

In most cases, majoring in a narrow field (such as microbiology) isn't going to help you get accepted to law school unless you want to focus on a specific area of the law (such as environmental policy). If you don't know for sure what kind of lawyer you want to be, strive for a broad liberal arts education with a broad major. Your undergraduate courses should be challenging.

Did you know that when you graduate from law school you become a doctor? Well, not a medical doctor, but a "juris doctor," or J.D.

Besides studying, you can keep busy in law school by participating in moot court, where you learn how to conduct a trial from beginning to end. You can also become a member of the school's law review, which is a legal magazine edited and published by students. Although these are optional activities, you'll gain valuable experience from them and they will look good on your resume.

As a law student, you'll most likely take notes, research cases, and take your exams all on a laptop computer. Nowadays it is rare that students handwrite their exams or notes, and typewriters have simply become a thing of the past.

To get a permanent job after graduation at most private law firms and some government agencies, you must work there the summer after your second year of law school. However, you apply in the fall of your second year, using your first-year grades to demonstrate your accomplishments. Therefore, the first year is usually the hardest and most competitive.

American students in LL.M. programs usually received their J.D. from the same school.

At many programs, almost all the LL.M. students are foreign-trained.

Both part- and full-time programs are offered for LL.M. and M.C.J. programs. Most J.S.D. and S.J.D. programs are full-time only.

When applying to J.S.D. or S.J.D. programs, your research interests should match those of the school's faculty. Having a graduate degree in another field is also desirable.

J.S.D. and S.J.D. students often teach introductory law and philosophy classes to undergraduates and first-year law students while pursuing their studies.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.
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