Are you interested in a career as a lawyer?
If you are, a law degree is an ideal way to gain the skills and knowledge necessary for becoming a legal professional. It takes three years to earn a Juris Doctor degree, and you can specialize in many areas of the law.
What makes a good lawyer?
A strong academic record and relevant skills are essential for a successful lawyer, but it is also important to have the right personality traits. People who choose to pursue a legal career often have strong morals and a desire to work for justice. Some of the most well-known lawyers, including Thurgood Marshall, Gloria Allred and Barack Obama, all had a passion for the law.
Where to study?
Choosing a law school is a personal decision, and it should be made based on location, reputations, facilities and employability records. It is also a good idea to do some research into the costs associated with studying at different universities.
You can choose to study for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) before applying to law school, or you can apply directly to a law school after you have completed your undergraduate studies. This is an attractive option for those who want to complete their degree quickly, or for those with other commitments that may make it difficult to complete a full-time law degree program.
The ABA requires that law schools offer the LSAT, which tests applicants’ ability to write well, read well and think critically. This is a useful tool for evaluating potential law students and helps them decide whether they are ready for the rigorous training of law school.
Courses for a law degree are a mix of compulsory courses and elective classes. Firstyear students take a range of classes covering civil procedure, property, constitutional and tort law, as well as legal research and writing. These courses help students build the foundations of the law and prepare them for upper-level classes in which they can call more of their own shots.
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A course of study in public policy focuses on the systems of laws, regulatory measures and funding allocations that shape societies and organizations. It also examines the way law shapes political processes at local, state and national levels.
As a law student, you will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in a field placement. This involves doing uncompensated legal work under the supervision of a lawyer at a government office (executive, legislative, or judicial branch), a nonprofit organization, or a law firm or corporation.
Another option for gaining real-world experience is to get involved in the law or debating society at your university. This is a great way to learn the fundamentals of law and to develop skills like research, argumentation and public speaking.
During the course of your studies, you will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, such as court marshalling or pro bono work. Some law schools even provide students with the chance to work on actual cases in a courtroom, as a way of helping them master key legal skills and learn from the experiences of real lawyers.