Is Law the Right Subject for You?
Increasingly, a lot of overseas students are drawn to a career in law, and often within the USA. However, when it comes to studying law, there is a lot to learn about the process of getting into law school and how to succeed once there. So, is a law career the right choice for you?
So, you feel you want to study for a law degree? If you are an international student, it is worth asking yourself why you are attracted to such a career. Law is a rapidly growing field and it is one that generates some misconception. A lot of students choose law because they believe they have good argumentative skills and, therefore, will make effective lawyers. While argumentation may well be a valuable quality, there are others that are more important.
For example, law students should possess an aptitude for reading and for scrutinizing the language in a wide variety of documents. The field of law is becoming flooded as an increasing number of students graduate. The implication here is that there can be a scarcity of jobs in this field and that only the best of the crop will secure employment at large firms with the opportunity to work on important cases. Additionally, a lot of students choose law believing they will often take part in trials, which is a significant misconception since the majority of cases are settled out of court. It is roughly estimated that lawyers can expect to argue a half-dozen cases per year. If, however, you are a good critical thinker, like reading, and enjoy building well-reasoned arguments, then you may well be suited to a legal career.
An aptitude for research is also another requirement. To succeed in a legal career, it is important that lawyers understand the concept of precedent and are capable of finding example cases if they are to argue their clients’ cases successfully. Additionally, it is important for a lawyer to have an ethical nature, which is not always necessary in other professions. Law also requires full confidentiality and practitioners must be able to conduct themselves professionally when representing their clients.
Acceptance to Law School
The Student’s Major
Any overseas student who aspires to a career in law needs to understand the admissions criteria of the different schools. First, the student must obtain an undergraduate-level degree, but the area of study is not important since they will be able to choose an aspect of law that interests them. However, subjects that cover problem-solving and critical thinking tend to impress admission boards.
Grades Are Important
The Grade Point Average (GPA) earned during undergraduate studies is something that admission boards pay a lot of attention to. It is recommended that students aim for a GPA score of over 3.0 to be considered for most law schools.
How students score in their Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is also important in the eyes of an admissions board. These tests are required in order to be accepted in a US law school. The LSAT assesses logical thinking skills, writing skills, and reading and comprehension skills. Once they receive their scores, the student must submit these to any school they are applying to. Test scores range from 120 to 180 and, obviously, students with the highest scores have the best chance of being accepted.
Other Qualifying Factors
While good GPA and LSAT scores increase one’s chances of admission, other factors play a part too. These may include any relevant career experience, internships, or leadership roles the applicant can demonstrate.
The legal profession has many branches that overseas students may want to specialize in. Careers as prosecutors and public defenders are popular. These lawyers often work in criminal courts representing the state (as prosecutors) or defending accused persons who are unable to afford to hire a lawyer. Additionally, many criminal defense cases are handled by private law companies. Other specialist areas include civil rights law, corporate law, divorce and family law, environmental law, and healthcare law. Law graduates can find rewarding careers with lucrative salaries in each of these areas. So, if international students are to determine whether a law career is right for them, they will need to do a certain amount of research. If they ultimately decide to proceed, they will then need to decide what area to specialize in.