WVU POLS 210 - Becoming a Lawyer: An Overview

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In the US, a bachelors degree is necessary for law school.There is no required undergraduate materialLaw schools like diverse majors. Not just English, Philosophy, and Political ScienceIn most other countries law school is an undergraduate endeavorLSAC made up of GPA, LOR, LSAT.Law School Admissions Council - assembler of your admissions packetLaw School requires that you stand out in your undergraduate. Bottom threshold is a 3.0 .□Problem arises in how do you compare GPAs from other schools? LSAT was created□If you apply in October of your Sr. year, only your first 3 years of grades are looked at□LSAC looks at +'s and -'s on grades and doesn’t recognize D/F repeats□GPAAptitude test - doesn’t question facts - designed to see who will succeed in law school□Operates on a bell curve from 120-180 with the mean score at 150.□Offered 4 times per year - February, June, October/September (most taken), December□LSATBest to have a professor who has had you for many classes.□A professor in a class that you write or participate regularly□Managers at work are ok - they might not necessary talk about what a law school wants to hear.□Letters from law related managers are great□Letters of recommendationPersonal Statement - usually no more than 3 pages. Involves writing a statement about yourself and why you should be admitted to the school. Get this proofread by multiple people.B.A./B.S.1.Approximately 210 law schools - there is money to be made in providing law school. 175 Schools are ABA approved. - Graduation from one of these schools allows you to sit for the BAR licensing exam in any state. Going to a non ABA approved school will only allow you to take the BAR at the state you went to school in.National School - Ivy league schools that admit very sucussesful individuals. Focus on a national curriculum. Students from these schools tend to be placed in the top firms in the top legal markets1.Regional Schools - Sports schools take students from the top 25% of the applicant pool. Draw students from their region. Curriculum is based on a national focus and not on a state focus. These schools tend to place their students in the best firms in their region.2.Local Schools - The remaining schools, land grant schools, draws students form their region. More likely to focus on the regional laws. Place students in local jobs3.Prior to 1900 the way we trained law students was different. If you wanted to go to practice law your job was to find an apprenticeship with an attorney. The lawyer would give you increasingly more tasks and teach you more and more difficult things. The lawyer would also supervise your reading of the law. Your job was to read the law during free times. Finally the lawyer was responsible for determining when you should go before the judge and swear that he trained the lawyer and that he is ready. The judge would then let you in the bar.The presidents of universities didn’t want to train lawyers, they wanted to teach people to think.This moved legal training from practical hands-on learning to training to think.In Scotland Law school involves a 1 year apprenticeship at the end of 3 years of schoolLaw schools are trying to sneak in clinics where 2nd and 3rd year law students work with clientsIn the US law school is intended to be a general education, not a specialization.There is only one degree - J.D. It is intended to be a general degreeThe law school will try to set up your schedule so that it is as inconvenient as possible to make you leave the law school. They want you to be there M-F, 9-5. This makes it difficult to work during school.1)First year of law school is exactly the same everywhere2)Law school relies on the Socratic method (case study method). You aren't lectured, instead you are given readings and required to give briefs and discuss them in class. The idea is not to spoon feed you but to make you think for yourself. A professor will ask more a nd more difficult questions until he gets you to screw up. 3)The first year of law school is designed to be extremely uncomfortable - it is designed to test your limits.You can pick the classes you want to take □Classes decrease in size and become less Socratic.□2nd and 3rd year law schools are much more pleasurable. Summers in between years become times of employment for law students. They often take up summer internships with law firms.Not enough practical skills taught1)Professors are too busy2)Law school is to emotionally and physically taxing. You don’t need the added stress3)Criticisms against law school:LLM - M.A. in Law. Here you can specialize on an area of the lawLLD - Ph.D. Generally professors of law schoolAt the end of the 3rd year you still cant practice law. You must pass the Bar ExamLaw School2.The 50 States are responsible for licensing lawyers, not the federal government.Designed to see if you have the practical knowledge to represent a client. Graded by lawyers who work for the state.you might have to take multiple exams for local states5 year reciprocal agreement - after 5 years of practice, a bordering state will most likely give you a simplified bar exam or just admit you to it. This isonly if you go to an ABA approved universityBar cram course - around 3 months where you take a course taught by lawyersIf you flunk the exam you can take it again. It is often available 2 or 3 times a year.Utah has a 90% passage rate□California has a 56% passage rate□PA/OH 82%□WV 80%□A state controls the easiness of the their exam:Often very expensiveBAR Exam3.Becoming a Lawyer: An OverviewA)2/14/2011, 3:40 PM Section IIWednesday, February 09, 20113:47 PM Section II Page 1Often very expensivebar - everyone who is an American lawyer○Bar - American Bar Association - Based in Chicago and Washington. It is there to represent the interest of lawyers. 50 state bar associations dependent on the A.B.A. Then thousands of local city and county bar associations.○Most lawyers don’t join the Bar - it is very expensive○The 50 state bars are voluntary as well. States rely on these bars to do licensing○Local bar associations - most people join these to relate to their community○1951 - 220,000 lawyers. 1971 - 355,000. 1985 - 655,000. 1995 - 860,000. 2000 - 1.1 million○As the bar grew the average age became younger and there were more women○Typical American lawyer -

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WVU POLS 210 - Becoming a Lawyer: An Overview

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