US Law Schools FAQ
How should college students prepare for law school?
What are the application requirements for law school?
What are my chances of admission to a particular law school?
How much does it cost to study law in the United States?
What factors should a prospective student consider when choosing a law school?
Law schools attract students from a broad range of educational disciplines. While many students come from traditional majors, such as political science, english or philosophy, others arrive with art or science backgrounds. Laws schools are more interested in how well you performed in college than by your specific undergraduate major.
However, if you are interested in patent law, registration to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in patent matters requires that you possess “the legal, scientific, and technical qualifications necessary…to render applicants valuable service[.]” 37 C.F.R. §11.7(a)(2)(ii). This requirement can be satisfied with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. university or college (or foreign equivalent) in science or engineering.
The USPTO has a defined list of recognized technical subjects that qualify as evidence of scientific or technical training. You can find details of these subjects, as well as alternative ways to demonstrate the requisite training from the General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Generally, law schools require applicants to submit an application for admission, college transcript, Law School Admission Test (LSAT) result, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and a resumé. Depending on the law school, applicants may have to forward these materials to the Law School Admission Council, which will transmit them to the schools directly.
Check with the individual law schools directly to determine their specific admission requirements.
Law schools accredited by the American Bar Association are required to disclose their admission statistics. This includes their acceptance rate as well as the LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs for their first-year class at the 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles.
You can find this information on the law school’s website as well as from the American Bar Association.
You can find the tuition and fees for attending law school at each school’s website. The Standard 509 Information Report that contains the ABA-Required Disclosures includes the resident and non-resident tuition, fees, and estimated living expenses.
The ABA also provides all the ABA-Required Disclosures reports on their website.
Location. Selecting the location of a school can include personal and professional dimensions. You might want to attend school close to home so that you can control living expenses. Alternatively, you might select a school located where you want to live and practice after graduation. The location of a school can also affect potential internship opportunities available during the school year.
Diversity. Some applicants may consider student diversity when screening law schools. In the ABA-Required Disclosures, law schools publish demographic information for their student body, including counts of the race and gender of students in their three classes.
Student Retention. In the ABA-Required Disclosures, law schools report their academic attrition counts by race and gender. This tells you whether the law school graduates most of its admitted students or whether a significant number withdraw during the first year.
Bar Passage Rates. To practice law, you must pass the bar exam within your state. The ABA collects bar passage outcomes from its accredited law schools. If you attend a school not approved by the American Bar Association, you may be able to find that information from the school itself or the state court or agency that administers the bar exam.
Employment Prospects. The American Bar Association also publishes an employment summary for all approved schools. The summary tabulates the employment status, type and location of the most recent graduating class 10 months after graduation. You can see the distribution of graduates from small to large law firms, as well as in which states most of the graduates are employed.
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