How To Choose The Best Law School For You

When prospective lawyers are searching for the best law schools, they should keep a few things in mind. The most important thing to remember, however, is that the best law school for one student is not always the best law school for another student. Students must make a number of personal choices when looking at schools.

Most importantly, prospective students must consider the location and the cost of each school that they are interested in. If a student is young and is not yet married with children, they may be able to easily move to another town and enroll in school there. These students may be able to attend some of the schools that have won awards and have been named as the best schools in the country.

The Best Law Schools For You

According to the publication U.S. News and World Report, the five best law schools are as follows: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and the University of Chicago. The law programs at each of these schools cost between $45,000 and $51,000 per year. When their enrollment numbers are combined, these five schools accept less than 5,000 new students per year.

If you can afford these schools and if you are able to move to the East coast, California, or Chicago, you should apply to these schools. The worst thing that can happen is that you will not get accepted. If you do get accepted, you will be well on your path to success. However, if these schools are not a realistic option for you, you should not despair; there are plenty of other very good law schools in the country.

A quick Internet search should show you which top law schools are in your immediate area. To determine whether these schools are a good fit for you, you should look closely at their websites. In particular, you should look at the specialty areas that they offer. Ask yourself if these are the areas of the law that you want to practice. If they are, then you should arrange a tour. If possible, you should try to find alumni from these schools and interview them about these experiences.

While looking at these schools, you should also consider the cost of tuition. It is important to see the cost of tuition as an investment in your future career as a lawyer. However, it is also important not to get weighed down in student loans that are too high. Most financial experts claim that the entire cost of your advanced degree should be equal to or less than the amount that you anticipate making in the first year of your career. The amount that you will make will depend upon where you live and what kind of law you are going to practice. Thus, if you think you will only make $50,000 during your first year as a lawyer, you should try to find a law degree program that costs less than this.

By following these few tips, you will find the country’s best law schools. It is very important to remember that only a handful of students can go to the five schools that are considered to be the best law schools. The rest of us must go to the best school for us.

Fast Track To Higher Education: How to Get Into Your Chosen Law School

For students who want to become lawyers, the first step is getting into law school. Some schools are quite selective, and any student who wants to have a real chance will need to follow through with a smart admissions strategy. There are a few essential elements that go into each law school application. Students should understand, as well, that different law schools weigh these factors differently when choosing whether or not to admit students.

A good GPA is a must
The first step for students is to secure a good grade point average in college. Many students wonder whether they should choose a difficult major or take classes geared toward law school. The simple answer is that these things don’t really matter. Law students come from different backgrounds, ranging from engineering to political science. One of the most important factors, though, is your GPA. If you are sure that you want to go to law school, then it’s smart to take classes that will give you the best shot at earning high grades.

Prepare for the LSAT
The LSAT is the standardized test that law schools use to evaluate candidates, and you will need to score well to get into a selective school. Top law schools look for students with scores approaching 170. This means that in order to get in, you will need to be in the 95th percentile or higher. A student earning a 160 or higher will be a competitive candidate for most schools within the top 100.

To prepare for the LSAT, you might take a class or you might practice on your own. Students with resources often benefit from taking a class. This is not necessary for all students, though, as LSAT practice tests are readily available. A smart student will purchase the old, authentic LSAT tests from LSAC, the company that administers the test each year. When you prepare with tests that actual students have taken, you will be much more familiar with the challenges facing you on test day.

Personal statements matter
In addition to looking at the raw scores on your application, law schools will look at some of the soft factors on your application. You should spend a tremendous amount of time on your personal statements. They should sell the school on why you are a unique applicant. In addition, these essays should be completely free of mistakes. If you struggle to edit your own work, then you should have a family member read over these materials. In addition, it’s best if you adhere to all of the rules supplied by the schools. If the school asks you to keep your statement under 250 words, then you must do that.

In addition to these statements, letters of recommendation can go a long way to telling your story. Though good letters won’t push you over the top, failing to include solid letters could doom your application.

Choosing the right school
Perhaps the most important piece of advice for getting into law school has been saved for last. If you want to get into law school, you must apply to schools that accept students with your credentials. Your GPA and LSAT scores will often operate on a sliding scale. The higher your LSAT, the lower your GPA can be. You should know that some schools have GPA and LSAT floors, and they will not accept any student who lacks those minimum credentials. When you are applying to schools, you may want to apply to a wide range. Give yourself a few safety schools where admission is a near certainty, and send off a few applications to more selective schools, too.

Law School Rankings – The Biggest Bunch of Bunk Since Unsliced Bread

Although I understand that this can be very difficult to do, you must view the popular published law school rankings skeptically. These rankings are not only untrustworthy, but mislead students into thinking they need to attend a highly ranked school or they will be second rate lawyers do to their “substandard” law school education. This is simply not true. What is true, in my opinion unfortunately, is that going to a highly ranked law school can have an enormous financial (note: NOT educational) impact on your early legal career. That is why I wrote Covert Tactics for Getting Into the Law School of Your Choice. As I explain in that book, however, even if you do not attend a highly ranked law school, you are not absolutely doomed to suffer professionally and financially for the rest of your life. Indeed, many times you may be well-served, both educationally and financially, by attending a lower ranked law school.

But back to law school rankings. In addition to a number of studies suggesting that the data underlying the rankings is inaccurate, due to schools trying to misrepresent the true data in order to achieve a higher ranking, it is impossible for any ranking to consider all of the relevant factors, which may vary from individual to individual.

Also problematic is the fact that most of the ranking are based, at least in part, on the subjective opinions of individuals at the various schools. Of course, such subjective opinions are likely to simply reinforce the historical opinions regarding the “top tier” law schools. Indeed, if you look at these rankings historically, you will find that they really haven’t changed much over the years.

The reason that it is important that you understand the invalidity of the law school rankings is that you should understand that the quality of your legal education is likely to be nearly as good, and in some respects may be better, at the University of Idaho as opposed to Harvard.

Depending on who you are, you may be much better off, for a variety of reasons, attending even a very low ranked school. This may be the case even if you have the opportunity to attend a higher-ranked school.

For example, if your intent is to establish a small town practice in rural South Dakota immediately after law school, it may be unwise to attend Stanford Law School over the University of South Dakota School of Law.

Why? Let me give you three good reasons, though there are likely many more. First, you are not going to be particularly highly paid in rural South Dakota, regardless of where you attended law school. As a Stanford Law graduate you are likely to either be saddled with a high debt load or have spent a significant amount of your savings getting through school. Although few law schools are cheap, you should carefully consider whether it is worth spending and extra $100,000 to have a fancy name on your wall.

Second, as a small-town practitioner, you are going to be very reliant on relationships with other attorneys, the business community, and potential clients in general. Spending three years in Palo Alto, far away from the center of your future universe, will do very little to develop those relationships, so law school rankings are virtually meaningless.

Finally, the education isn’t going to be much better at Stanford than at USD. Believe me, in writing this I have prepared myself for the inevitable barrage of criticism that will inevitably be hurled my way. I say this with confidence, however, because I know lawyers from a wide variety of law schools and find a relatively equal distribution of idiots among alumni from top 50 and bottom 50 schools. It really depends on what you are willing to put into it – not what they give you.

There are even some law schools not approved by the American Bar Association that may be worth considering in limited situations. Depending on what you want to do, and the particular laws of the jurisdiction where you intend to practice, a non-ABA accredited school may be a worthwhile choice.

At the end of the day, you need to make a wise choice that you will be happy with for the rest of your life. Don’t put a school on your list just because it is a highly-ranked law school or fits a formula or because you think it will look good on your resume.

Even if we find a cure for cancer in the next decade, you are not likely to live much more than 90 years on this earth. Don’t spend 3.5% of it in the wrong place.

This article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any ezine, newsletter, blog or website. The author’s name, bio and website links must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.

Good Law Schools – Finding Them and Earning Admission

Good law schools are different than top law schools. A good law school is an institution that is well respectable, accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and one that offers a high quality legal education. A top law school is one that has been identified by the the various ranking systems as being a Tier 1 institution. Tier 1 institutions offer tremendous benefits to law students, not the least of which are excellent career prospects post graduation. Yet, lots of schools are not in this upper tier of top schools. Not every school can be a Harvard or a Yale Law.

Finding good law schools can quite easy. First, check out your local state law schools. These are typically the most affordable and the most likely to be under ranked and under rating by the different popular rankings systems. If you’re looking to practice law in the state you live in, a degree from such an institution can go a long way towards jump starting your career. If you’re looking to practice in a different state look to that state’s school to see if a good fit is possible.

It is important to be especially cautious of stand alone institutions. A stand alone law school is one that is not associated with an established college or university. Many California schools are stand alone institutions. If you’re considering an stand alone school, first find out if the school is accredited by the American Bar Association. If it is not, you will be very limited as to where you ultimately practice law, whereas graduates from ABA schools can practice in any jurisdiction in the country. If the school has ABA accreditation, next compare its rankings and tuition with your local state law school. Which is cheaper? Which is more well regarded and which affords you better career prospects? Based on these answers, you will be a lot closer to finding out which institution is the best fit for you.

It is important that in your law school admissions process that you consider applying to a whole range of different colleges and universities: pick some Tier 1 schools, some lower ranked schools that fit your criteria as being a good school and finally, pick a few law schools that you are certain you will be able to get into. With these tips in mind, you will be well on your way to gaining admission and becoming a practicing attorney!

Online Law School – A Great Option for a More Affordable Law Degree

Many people these days are trying to figure out what their next career move will be given the current state of the economy. While this question has always been a tough one in the past, the decision would usually present itself in a short period of time. For some the answer was graduate school, even with the high expense, and for others the answer was to start a job that might turn into a career. Today, however, with many family support networks also feeling the pinch of hard economic times, and fewer job openings to choose from, the decision seems more like a nightmare.

To further complicate matters, an undergraduate degree that is limited in scope and applicability may even make finding a position incredibly difficult. For example, a person with a degree in environmental science who wanted and expected to find employment in an engineering or environmental science field is now learning that the construction and building sector has still not recovered from the housing crash.

A sad analogy could be made to the classic story of the three little pigs. In the case of the recently graduated college student their education has prepared them but only to build a house made of straw, not wood or bricks. In other words, their skills are not transferable to other job positions and when the proverbial wind blows, as we have all seen and experienced with the current economic climate, their house is blown down.

One way to avoid that situation is to receive the type of education that is well rounded and is applicable to many different positions and careers and that allows a person to be flexible and have options to choose from given the current economic situation. One option is to attend law school. While this might not seem obvious at first glance, upon further examination, law school is one of the only choices that provides a well rounded educational experience that can help make an individual truly capable and prepared to take on a number of career paths.

In our society law school is the only option to best become a sort of renaissance individual, and capable of choosing what they will do for a living. Such an education can give a person the breath of knowledge and the educational training to succeed in a variety of careers and positions. An education in the law requires a person to understand and become competent in a variety of areas that may not be evident at first glance. In addition to the multitude of areas of law that range from Torts to Real Estate to Immigration and Divorce to the less obvious skills required in understanding legal matters such as knowledge of history and politics and the ability to write and think in a critical manner. In other words, by attending law school you will become a truly well rounded individual with knowledge and skills that are applicable across a wide spectrum of careers which ultimately will make you an excellent candidate for a variety of positions.

While the idea of attending law school may seem daunting given the time and expense involved there does exist at least one realistic and achievable option that takes full advantage of today’s technology to make that goal a reality. Online law school is the only on-line law school that provides the quality education that is required to achieve the goal of preparing one to succeed. Traditional law school is generally too expensive to seriously consider attending. Online law schools are not. Because the school is on-line there is no campus and all of the expense associated with a large facility. The fees are very reasonable, especially compared to traditional existing law schools.

Online law schools offer real time classes that make the most of existing technology. The classes at Online law schools are offered in what is called “real time”. That means that each class has an instructor who is conducting that class in person utilizing video conferencing technology with every person in the class at the same time. Whether the professor is lecturing to the students as a group or engaging in the Socratic method and calling on one student at a time, the entire process takes place in a manner not unlike a traditional law school classroom. Each student can engage the professor as well as watch and learn from others as they ask and answer questions. And of course, like in a traditional classroom, students can engage with one another to speak and to share insights.

It does not happen that often a person has the opportunity to experience and fully utilize the advancements in technology that have occurred in our society. The technology that Online law schools are utilizing, just of few short years ago the notion of speaking to another person while viewing them simultaneously was unheard of by the average person. The technology existed but was only used by large and wealthy corporations or found in science fiction movies depicting some future society. For the students at Online law schools that future reality is now.