Legal education in the USA

Legal education in the USA - LEGAL EDUCATION IN THE US...

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LEGAL EDUCATION IN THE US L There is no undergraduate law degree in the United States; thus, students cannot expect to study law without first completing an undergraduate degree. Basic admissions requirements for American law schools are a Bachelor's degree in any field and the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The American law degree is called the Juris Doctor (JD) and usually requires three years of study. The JD program involves courses in American common and statute law as well as international and business law. Overseas students who are considering an American JD should note that this program focuses on preparation for US legal practice. t Undergraduate Preparation for Law School U No particular subject or major field of study is required at the undergraduate level. Law schools are concerned that applicants have taken courses which develop communication and analytical skills, and that they have exposed themselves to a variety of disciplines. The Prelaw Handbook (Association of American Law Schools) suggests students study some or most of the following fields but stresses that "well-developed academic ability" is preferable to intense specialization in any one field: economics, social sciences (sociology, psychology, anthropology, political science), computers, accounting, and the sciences. Most pre-law students earn their undergraduate degrees in one of the social sciences, rounding out their general preparation with courses from other disciplines. All these subjects may be studied at virtually any university. s Law schools in the US do not require that students complete their Bachelor's degree in America, but because of fierce competition for places in law schools, few students are accepted from overseas universities. s At the beginning of the final year of undergraduate study, JD applicants should take the LSAT. No knowledge of law is needed to do well on this exam; it is a standardized test of academic aptitude in the areas of reading comprehension and analytical and logical reasoning. a Legal Education L Students thinking of law study soon discover that the programs of most law schools have a great deal in common. The choice of one school over another is not easily made on the basis of catalog descriptions of the teaching methods, course offerings, and formal requirements. The similarity is natural, since most American law schools share the aim of educating lawyers for careers that may take many paths and that will frequently not be limited to any particular state or region. Although many lawyers eventually find themselves practicing within some special branch of the law, American legal education is still fundamentally an education for generalists. It emphasizes the acquisition of broad and basic knowledge of law, understanding of the functioning of the legal system, and development of analytical abilities of a high order. This common emphasis reflects the conviction that such an education is the best kind of preparation for the diverse roles that law school
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Legal education in the USA - LEGAL EDUCATION IN THE US...

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