Planning a Career in Law?
In the United States, aspiring attorneys must gain their professional credentials by graduating from an American Bar Association–sanctioned law school. There are three different degrees you can earn in an American law school. The most common are the Juris Doctor (JD) and the Master of Laws (LLM) degrees. If you're planning a career in international law, you can also pursue a Doctor of Juridical Science (JDS or SJD) degree.
The Importance of Law School Accreditation
You will not be able to sit for your bar examination, which is the last hurdle you'll need to clear in your quest to become a practicing attorney, unless your law school is accredited. A list of schools recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) is available by request.
You've got to be especially careful if you plan to complete part or all of your studies at an online law school. While a given online law school may claim it's accredited, you need to make sure it's recognized by the ABA and not a different body.
Law school rankings are also compiled annually. If you want to make sure you're applying to a school that will enhance your career prospects, consult the law school rankings and find out what credentials you need to be accepted to the top schools.
The Law School Admissions Process
To get into law school, you will need to complete an undergraduate degree at a four-year college. The subject matter you study isn't always important, but liberal arts programs and courses of study with a political science or international flavor will provide you with a solid background. Students with philosophy degrees also tend to score well on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), because of the emphasis on logic and critical thinking applications.
All ABA-approved law schools require you to take the LSAT as well. The higher your LSAT score, the better the law school you'll be able to get into. Your law school prep regimen should definitely include an LSAT course or tutor. If you're worried about financing your education, law school scholarships are available, either through the school itself or through public or private funding sources.
Attending law school is an all-important part of your career path. Study hard, be committed and you'll emerge ready to tackle the challenges of a career as an attorney.