Law Schools Colleges & Universities

Law colleges teach much more than a trade; they teach students how to think. Degrees in law can be a great way to harness a legal career.

Law Schools Prepare You to Serve Within the Justice System: Does there exist a natural law that should govern man's actions and therefore dictate public policy? Or do we acquire our collective moral orientation from terrestrial sources of inspiration, such as religion or government? These are but a few of the questions students ponder at law schools. Much like philosophers of all ages, those pursuing degrees in law analyze theoretical possibilities such as the ones mentioned above. Those who practice law, however--whether as paralegals, lawyers, or judges--must also apply their critical thinking skills to real situations, using razor-sharp reasoning skills to get to the source of muddled legal issues.

Detailed Preparation for Law Schools: Lawyers on television are often given to soliloquizing, and while Hollywood can be counted upon to exaggerate just about everything, this portrayal is not inaccurate. Lawyers indeed need to be communicators of the highest order. And this doesn't just apply to oratory skills; a talent for close reading and clear writing proves equally vital. Those who work in law should also have piercing analytical abilities, healthy self-confidence, an aptitude for problem solving, and an appetite for of a lot of hard work. If this describes you, don't miss your calling: investigate law colleges today.

Some universities offer prelaw as an undergraduate major, though it is extremely rare. Many lawyers choose to earn their bachelor's degree in English, political science, or any of the other humanities fields known for encouraging critical thinking. More important than your chosen major, however, is your standard of achievement within it. Admission to law school is extremely competitive, and top grades go a long way is demonstrating your commitment.

Following graduation from a four-year program, aspiring law students must take the LSAT, the scores of which, along with undergraduate performance and relevant extracurricular activities, determine their acceptance into law schools. Completion of this second educational phase usually takes about three years.

Students interested in law colleges may want to become involved in student government, pledge to a chapter of Phi Alpha Delta (a law fraternity), and take courses in the following:

  • • English
  • • Public speaking
  • • Economics
  • • History
  • • Government
  • • Philosophy

Job Prospects for Graduates of Law Colleges: The most obvious career path for graduates of law schools is that of the lawyer, though some may aim to eventually become judges, and other interested in this field of work might follow a truncated educational plan and become paralegals instead.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts average employment growth among lawyers, and caution than competition for jobs remains keen. Those with the most impressive academic records should enjoy the best opportunities, as well as those willing to relocate to fill a demand. As of May 2009, lawyers earned a mean annual wage of $129,020.

Competition for paralegal jobs also runs high, although employment growth for this industry is expected to increase much faster than average in the 2008-18 decade, according to the BLS. Experience coupled with formal training make for the brightest job prospects in this field. Paralegals earn a mean annual wage of $50,080.

The writer Karin Hansen holds a degree in English from San Francisco State University.

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