I Want to Become a Lawyer. What Should I Do?
How many years does it take to qualify as a lawyer in the United States?
In the United States, it takes seven years to become a lawyer: four years for an undergraduate Bachelor's degree, followed by three years for the graduate Juris Doctor (JD) law degree. The study of law is not offered at the undergraduate level, but only at the graduate level.
With an American law degree, can I practice law in my own country?
Before deciding to embark on legal education in the United States, international students should find out the procedures for lawyers qualified under U.S. law to qualify to practice law in their own countries. Contact your national Bar Association for fur-ther information. It may be advantageous for you to qualify as a lawyer in your own country, and then broaden your scope with an advanced law degree, such as the LLM, in the United States.
If law is not offered at the undergraduate level in the U.S., what subjects should I study?
The best way to prepare for law school is to study what interests you most and helps to develop your analytical abilities. The three skills that a law student most needs are: communication skills both written and spoken; research skills; and especially analytical thinking skills. These abilities can be developed by chemistry major or a literature major, it doesn't matter. The majority of law students had undergraduate majors in the social sciences, especially political science, history, and economics, but there are a lot of humanities and engineering students in law school too.
I've read about some universities offering a "pre-law" major. What is this, and will it help me to get into law school?
First and foremost, "pre-law" is NOT a major, and NOT a field of study. It is merely a collection of recommended courses that might help a person prepare for law school. You will major in an academic field, such as political science, and you should take advantage of counseling offered by your university's pre-law advisor, who will help you to select a rigorous course of study that will broaden and strengthen your mind.
How should I plan my undergraduate education in order to strengthen my chances of getting into law school afterwards?
You should look for undergraduate colleges or universities where the classes are small and the academic challenge intense. To strengthen your analytical abilities, you need professors who demand a lot of their students, who make you write long re-search papers, who draw you out in class discussion, who do not accept sloppy thinking. You need colleges or universities that offer a rigorous and demanding curriculum, where you will be surrounded by highly intelligent students. What matters is not what subjects you study, but how you study them. Look for liberal arts colleges that are ranked Highly/Most Competitive or Very/Most Difficult. Ask the admissions office what percentage of their law school applicants were admitted over the past five years, and apply to the colleges with the best records.
How difficult is it to get admission to law school after my Bachelor's degree?
Admission to law school is very competitive. Only about half of those who apply each year are admitted. Admission to law school is based on your undergraduate academic record, your scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), recommen-dations, and your personal essay. Because law school admission is so competitive, it is important to attend a top undergradu-ate college that can increase your chances of making it into law school.
I already have my Bachelor's degree from a university in my own country. Can I enter law school in the United States? What must I do?
Yes, you are eligible to apply to law schools. The Educational Advisor will help you to decide whether U.S. law school is appropriate for your interests, abilities, and career plans. You will have to select law schools, complete all application requirements, take the LSAT, and arrange your financing.
Is there any financial aid for international students attending law school?
As with any professional field of study, financial aid for international law students is very scarce and very competitive. Contact the admissions offices of the law schools that have the highest international enrollments, and find out how to apply for aid.