Very often, students enroll themselves into a law school without having a clear idea of what the profession is all about. Many are attracted by the title of lawyer and decide to pursue a degree in law without having proper knowledge of the career.
There are certain characteristics that one needs to have to succeed in a career in law. You should assess yourself before actually enrolling into any institution. To have a clear idea, you can visit local courts, attend trials, talk to lawyers and observe the functioning of the legal system. Observing lawyers and judges at work will enable you to identify some of the skills, knowledge and values necessary for a career in law. You can even get advice from a career counselor.
Law is the field for those:
o Having outstanding and above average independent learning skills such as reading, listening, writing, talking and analysis
o Having excellent verbal, public speaking, arguing and debating skills
o Having a high level of patience and confidence.
Before beginning the application process, consider carefully if a law degree is right for you based on these attributes. You may also need pre-law courses for admission to particular programs in law.
Preparing For Law School
The field should be explored through research, investigation of resources on the Internet, discussion with law students, and counseling. Joining some pre-law courses offered by various institutes will enable you to develop skills which will be helpful for law school, such as study of the English language and principles of accounting and finance. There are many branches in law practice such as tax law, corporate law, labor/employment law, civil law, family law, international law and real estate law among others. You need to be clear about your interests, which will help in choosing the appropriate program of study.
Applying to Law School
Information on law schools offering programs in law can be obtained with the help of education counselors or on the Internet by visiting law school websites which provide details of the programs on offer by them and the application process. The best sources are law school catalogs or reference books that profile law schools and their admissions criteria. The Law School Admissions Council ("LSAC") sponsors annual law forums throughout the country that give interested persons time to speak with representatives from accredited law schools.
Programs leading to the presentation of the Bachelor of Science in Law (B.S.L.), Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degrees are some of the common programs on offer by law schools.
American law schools are expensive, especially the private ones. The competition to get into top-rated law schools is tough. Applications are accepted based on an individual's grades.
Career Choices With A Law Degree: Job Or Business/Self-Practice:
A degree in law is extremely rewarding. It is very marketable and most lawyers manage to earn a comfortable living. A lawyer in the US can easily make more than $100,000 annually.
o Business/Self-Practice: You can have your own business setup such as a consultancy firm providing legal consultation and guidance to your clients, self-practice - legal representation in courts, drafting legal papers for clients or just having your own coaching classes.
o Job Market: You also have various options in the job market - teaching, working with law firms, and with companies and corporate bodies as legal advisors and attorneys. However, your legal qualifications alone will not help. You need to market yourself and your law degree to reap the benefits of all your hard work. You need to find the right job for yourself and then market yourself to secure the position.
A career in law is rewarding and worthwhile, provided you have the essential abilities and skills to pursue a career in law and the willingness to face the challenges ahead.