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Encyclopedia > Law school


A law school is an institution where future lawyers obtain legal degrees. In the United States, law is a graduate degree, which students embark upon only after completing an undergraduate degree in some other field (usually a bachelor's degree), and is considered to be a graduate or professional school program. The undergraduate degree can be in any field, though most American lawyers hold bachelor's degrees in the humanities and social sciences. American law schools are usually an autonomous entity within a larger university. A lawyer is a person licensed by the state to advise clients in legal matters and represent them in courts of law and in other forms of dispute resolution. ... A graduate school or grad school (American English), or, in British English a postgraduate school, is a school that awards advanced degrees, with the general requirement that students must have earned an undergraduate (bachelors) degree. ... A bachelors degree is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or major that generally lasts three or four years. ... A profession is a specialized work function within society, generally performed by a professional. ...

In most other countries, law is an undergraduate degree and graduates of such a program are eligible to become lawyers by passing the country's equivalent of a bar exam. In such countries, graduate programs in law enable students to embark on academic careers or become specialized in a particular area of law. A bar examination is an series of tests conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given American examination usually consists of the following: complicated essay questions concerning that jurisdictions law; the Multistate Bar Examination, a standardized, nationwide examination containing generalized...

In most cases the degree awarded by American law schools is the Juris Doctor, or J.D., degree. In contrast, the LL.B. degree is still common in other common law jurisdictions, mostly Commonwealth countries. Other degrees that are awarded include the Master of Laws degree (LL.M.) and the Doctor of Juridical Science degree (J.S.D. or S.J.D.). J.D. is an abbreviation for the Latin Juris Doctor, also called Doctor of Jurisprudence, and is the law degree typically awarded by an accredited U.S. law school to a student who has successfully completed three years of study. ... The degree of Bachelor of Laws is the principal academic degree in law in most common law countries. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of independent sovereign states, most of which were once governed by the United Kingdom and are its former colonies. ... The Master of Laws is an advanced law degree that allows someone to specialize in a particular area of law. ... The Master of Laws is an advanced law degree that allows someone to specialize in a particular area of law. ...


In considering law school, potential students should consider the advantages and disadvantages of lawyering and the law school experience. Many books are available about the realities of law school and lawyering. Before entering law school, potential students should also talk to both attorneys and law students about their experiences and recommendations.

In the United States, most law schools require a bachelor's degree, a satisfactory undergraduate grade point average, and a satisfactory score on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) in order to be considered for admission. Some states that have non-ABA-approved schools or state-accredited schools have equivalency requirements that usually equal 90 credits toward a bachelor's degree. Additional personal factors are evaluated through essays, short-answer questions, letters of recommendation, and other application materials. The standards for grades and LSAT scores vary from school to school. Highly-regarded law schools accept only those applicants with very high LSAT scores, GPAs or financial and political leverage. A bachelors degree is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or major that generally lasts three or four years. ... A grade in education can mean either a teachers evaluation of a students work or a students level of educational progress, usually one grade per year (often denoted by an ordinal number, such as the 3rd Grade or the 12th Grade). This article is about evaluation of... The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a standardized test used for admission to law schools in the United States of America and Canada that are members of the Law School Admissions Council. ...

Individual factors are also very important, although applicants are virtually never asked to interview as part of the application process. Such factors are evaluated through other application materials, and while these factors can compensate for a low GPA and/or LSAT score, where they are weak they can also detract from high scores. Many law schools actively seek applicants from outside the traditional pool in order to boost campus diversity, both racial and economic. Most law schools now factor in extracurricular activities, work experience, and unique courses of study in their evaluation of applicants. A growing number of law school applicants have several years of work experience, and correspondingly fewer law students enter immediately after completing their undergraduate education. Diversity is the presence of a wide range of variation in the qualities or attributes under discussion. ...

Students considering law school should note that although law school tuition is notoriously high, it is not uncommon for law students to receive grants and scholarships, or more rarely complete tuition waivers, from their schools. While each school's financial aid system operates differently, there is a rule of thumb relating to GPA and LSAT scores: a student whose grades and LSAT are distinctly higher than those of most students admitted to a given school--in other words, a student who could get into a "better" school--has a good chance of being offered some kind of scholarship by the lower-ranked school. Note: The term scholarship can mean either the methods employed by scholars (see scholarly method) or an award of access to an institution and/or money for an individual for the purposes of furthering their education. ... Tuition means instruction, teaching or a fee charged for educational instruction especially at a formal institution of learning. ... In the United States, financial aid refers to funding intended to help students pay tuition or other costs, such as room and board, for education at a college, university, or private school. ...


In order to sit for the bar exam, the vast majority of state bar associations require that an applicant's law school must be approved by the American Bar Association. The ABA has promulgated detailed requirements covering every aspect of a law school, down to the precise contents of the law library. A bar examination is an series of tests conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction. ... The American Bar Association (ABA) is a voluntary bar association of lawyers which is not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States. ...

California is the most famous exception to the rule. The State Bar of California's Committee of Bar Examiners accredits many schools which would not qualify for ABA accreditation (due to low admission standards, lack of a full law library, or nonstandard academic calendar). Graduates of such schools can sit for the bar exam in California, and once they have passed that exam, a large number of states allow those students to sit for their bars (either immediately or after practicing for a certain number of years in California). California is also the first state to allow graduates of online law schools to take its bar exam. State nickname: The Golden State Other U.S. States Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) Barbara Boxer (D) Official language(s) English Area 410,000 km² (3rd)  - Land 404,298 km²  - Water 20,047 km² (4. ... The California State Bar Association is Californias statewide organization responsible for overseeing the admission of lawyers to the practice of law in that state. ...


Law students are referred to as 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls, based on their year of study. In the United States, the American Bar Association mandates a curriculum for 1Ls that includes: The American Bar Association (ABA) is a voluntary bar association of lawyers which is not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States. ...

These basic courses are intended to provide an overview of the broad study of law. Not all ABA-approved law schools offer all of these courses in the 1L year; a significant number of schools make constitutional law and/or criminal law required upper-level courses. Some schools roll legal research and legal writing into a single year-long "lawyering skills" course, which may also include a small oral argument component. Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the process that courts will follow when hearing cases of a civil nature (a civil action). These rules govern how a lawsuit or case may be commenced, what kind of service of process is required, the types of pleadings or... Constitutional law is the study of foundational laws that govern the scope of powers and authority of various bodies in relation to the creation and execution of other laws by a government. ... A contract is any legally-enforceable promise or set of promises made between parties. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of law that punishes criminals for committing offences against the state. ... // Use of the term The concept of property or ownership has no single or universally accepted definition. ... In the common law, a tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. ...

The law school curriculum, ironically, results in lawyers who are ill-prepared for the realities of lawyering. Although students may know how to do legal research, they are not trained in dealing with clients, opposing counsel or how to navigate the court system. Some schools offer courses in negotiation, discovery procedures, trial advocacy and argument. However, actual lawyering is learned on the job.

The ABA also requires that all students at ABA-approved schools take a course in professional responsibility (ethics). The course is typically an upper-level course, most often taken in the 2L year. This requirement was added after the Watergate scandal, which seriously damaged the public image of the profession, because of the fact that President Richard Nixon and most of his alleged cohorts were lawyers. The ABA hoped to demonstrate that the legal profession could regulate itself (and also hoped to prevent direct federal regulation of the profession). Professional responsibility is the area of legal practice that encompasses the duties of attorneys to act in a professional manner, obey the law, avoid conflicts of interest, and put the interests of clients ahead of their own interests. ... The Watergate building. ... Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the thirty-seventh President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. ...

As of 2004, to ensure that students' research and writing skills do not deteriorate, the ABA has added an upper division writing requirement. Law students must take at least one course as a 2L or 3L that requires the writing of a paper for credit.

After the first year, law students are generally free to pursue different fields of legal study, such as administrative law, corporate law, international law, admiralty law, intellectual property law, and tax law. They may also take clinics, which offer hands-on experience providing free legal services to the surrounding community. Administrative law is the body of law that arises from the activities of administrative agencies of government. ... Corporations law or corporate law is the law concerning the creation and regulation of corporations. ... International law, is the body of law that regulates the activities of entities possessing international personality. Traditionally, that meant the conduct and relationships of states. ... Admiralty law (usually referred to as simply admiralty and also referred to as maritime law or Law of the Sea) is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offenses. ... In law, particularly in common law jurisdictions, intellectual property is a form of legal entitlement which allows its holder to control the use of certain intangible ideas and expressions. ... Tax law is the codified system of laws that describes government levies on economic transactions, commonly called taxes. ...

Many law students participate in internship programs during their course of study. Some become assistants ("clerks") for local, state, and federal judges; others work in law firms, corporations, or legal aid clinics. For information about a medical intern, see the article on Medical residency. ... A law firm is a business entity formed by one or more lawyers to engage in the practice of law. ... A corporation is a legal entity (distinct from a natural person) that often has similar rights in law to those of a Civil law systems may refer to corporations as moral persons; they may also go by the name AS (anonymous society) or something similar, depending on language (see below). ... In general Most liberal democracies consider that it is necessary to provide some level of legal aid to persons otherwise unable to afford legal representation. ...

Pedagogical methods

Most law school education in the United States is based on standards developed by Christopher Columbus Langdell and James Barr Ames at Harvard Law School during the mid-1800s. Professors generally lead in-class debates over the issues in selected court cases, compiled into "casebooks" for each course. Most law professors choose not to lecture extensively, and instead use the Socratic method to force students to teach each other based on their individual understanding of legal theory and the facts of the case at hand. Examinations usually entail interpreting the facts of a hypothetical case, determining how legal theories apply to the case, and then writing an essay. This process is intended to train students in the reasoning methods necessary to interpret theories, statutes, and precedents correctly, and argue their validity, both orally and in writing. In contrast, most civil law countries base their legal education on professorial lectures and oral examinations, which are more suited for the mastery of complicated civil codes. Christopher Columbus Langdell (May 22, 1826 _ July 6, 1906), American jurist, was born in New Boston, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire, of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry. ... James Barr Ames (1846 - 1910) was a U.S. law educator, who popularized the case-study method of teaching law. ... Harvard Law School (HLS) is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. ... Events and Trends Beginning of the Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815). ... A casebook is a type of textbook used primarily by students in law schools. ... A dialogical method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method or method of elenchos, largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts and first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. ... A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... Precedent, sometimes authority, is the legal principle or rule created by a court which guides judges in subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. ... Civil law is a legal system derived from Roman law and commonly used in Europe. ... A civil code is a systematic compilation of laws designed to comprehensively deal with the core areas of private law. ...

This style of teaching is often discomforting to first-year law students who are more accustomed to taking notes from professors' lectures. Most casebooks do not clearly outline the law: instead, they force the student to interpret the cases and draw the basic legal concepts from the cases themselves. As a result, many publishers market law school outlines that concisely summarize the basic concepts of each area of law, and good outlines are highly sought after by many students, although some professors discourage their use. A casebook is a type of textbook used primarily by students in law schools. ... Law school outlines are books directed at law school students. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Massachusetts School of Law at Andover (135 words)
Massachusetts School of Law, located in Andover, Massachusetts, is the most affordable of all New England law schools.
The law schoolÂ’s mission is to make practical, affordable, high quality legal education, and resulting social and economic mobility, available to persons who have been traditionally excluded from the legal profession.
Of all the law schools in New England, MSLAW, places the most emphasis on the acquisition of the professional skills necessary to practice law immediately upon graduation.
Yale Law School - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (351 words)
Yale Law School, in New Haven, Connecticut, is a division of Yale University.
It is regarded as one of the most prestigious law schools in the United States.
The school is known for its especially scholarly orientation and a disproportionately large number of its graduates (4%) choose careers in academia.
  More results at FactBites »



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