Your decision about where to apply to law school should be based upon multiple variables that will provide you with a more thorough understanding of what each school has to offer. We suggest you consider:
- Clinical programs – these programs provide direct experience representing real clients in legal matters and provide exposure to specializations in legal practice (e.g., Michigan Law offers numerous clinics including an Entrepreneurship Clinic, Environmental Law Clinic and Juvenile Justice Clinic among others)
- Focus areas, concentrations & certificate programs – these programs essentially combine upper level coursework and clinical experiences that help students develop marketable expertise in a particular area of law. Focus areas, concentrations and certificate programs are rarely required.
- Dual or joint degrees – allow students to develop intellectual connections across disciplines allowing for professional flexibility (e.g., JD/MBA, JD/MSW, JD/MPH etc.)
- Student publications – participation in these peer reviewed publications provides opportunities to gain experience in legal writing and scholarship. Reviewing the list of current student publications can also reveal the current and historic interests and priorities of the student body.
- Location – think in terms of local job availability and simply whether you would be happy living in that environment for three years. It may also be important to consider how easy it will be to establish residency for the purpose of receiving in-state tuition rates.
- Law school atmosphere – assess in terms of class size, student faculty ratio, representation of minorities in the student population, etc. Location may also contribute to the law school atmosphere, e.g., urban vs. small town, east coast vs. west.
- Employment statistics – provide insight into job potential for recent graduates.
- Career services – evaluate on campus recruitment opportunities, support for students seeking public service careers, continued employment assistance for alums, etc. Pay attention to how readily a school provides this information. For example, Michigan Law provides quite a bit of detail about their employment statistics.
- Academic fit – evaluate whether your GPA and LSAT scores are comparable to published admissions data for the schools you are considering
Below are several links that will help you with this assessment.
- Book of Law School Lists – lists schools according to a variety of criteria such as schools offering dual degrees, clinical programs, student publications, a January start date, etc.
- NAPLA law school locator – assists students in selecting schools where their LSAT scores and cumulative GPA will be most competitive
- ABA Employment Statistics – provides employments statistics for recent graduates from each school with data distinguishing full time from part time employment, size of firm, employment type and location
- Equal Justice Works – online database supplying extensive data on the availability of clinical and externship programs, public interest curricula, scholarships and loan repayment assistance, and public service programs and allows applicants to compare schools of interest
- Law School Admission Council (LSAC) – provides a searchable database of American Bar Association (ABA) approved schools (including LSAT and GPA trends for admitted applicants) and tips on evaluating law schools.
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Why the Liberal Arts?
- Academic Calendar
- Knowing the Expectations for Your Degree
- Choosing a Major
- Is law the right profession for me?
- What academic skills do I need to succeed?
- What else should I do to prepare?
- When and where do I apply?
- How Do I Apply
- How do I pay for law school
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