Law and Legal studies in USA
Law affects our everyday life in ways we can don’t even realize; being employed, renting an apartment, signing up for credit cards etc.. This alone underlines the essential the subject is in our daily lives as well as in businesses and social life. Law is not only about arguing and making a good case but more about being skilled in research and analyzing documents. Skills such as critical thinking, taking arguments to logical conclusions and constructing smart strategies must come naturally to a student who wishes to pursue law.
The USA advantage
The USA has an established, high-quality tertiary education system. It boasts an impressive 76 of the top 200 universities being based in the USA. These universities offer globally accepted degrees which are held in high esteem by employers world over. The curriculum offered and first-class education is the USP of American universities. Students from all across the globe enroll themselves in American universities for a well-rounded experience. Having students from different parts of the world, makes the learning experience multi-dimensional, especially for a student of law who needs different perspectives to enrich the learning experience and broaden the horizon of knowledge.
Degrees awarded and curriculum offered
Universities in USA offer three degrees to students who wish to pursue law: Master of Law (L.L.M.), Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.). USA doesn’t offer a specialized undergraduate degree in Law; having said that, taking up certain subjects in at the undergraduate level may better prepare the student for law school. Law master’s program generally lasts for three years. Curriculum of the first year may include subjects such as international law, criminal law, legal writing, contracts etc. Second and third year students may choose electives which suit their career objectives. In the third the students are expected to sit for the bar exam to be able to practice law in the country. Some of the subjects offered at a law school are: Constitutional law and patent law, Federal litigation, Environmental law and public interest law, Law and ethics, Corporate tax problems, Local and state taxation, etc.. Some J.D. programs offered by universities in USA may be combined with master’s degree programs of law, business, or public policy, and these programs might last longer than three years.
The right fit
Choosing the right law school for a student is a vital process since it has a direct impact on not only the job opportunities but also on the development of important skills in student. It is important to find a school that meets the career objectives and is the right match for the student’s profile. Following are the three things a student must consider while choosing a university:
- Curriculum and faculty: The law school must offer subjects that the student intends to study during the course earning a degree in law. These subjects must also be coupled with allied subjects which deepen the knowledge base of the student and promote a wholesome learning experience. Some schools specialize in patents, while others may consider public service law as their forte. Have a look at these factors and speak with current and former students to get first hand information.
- Location: Location of the school is important for more than one reason. Living costs and student life are obvious reasons to be sure of the location of the university; apart from that, local alumni base, placement opportunities and local law knowledge are other factors which must be taken into consideration. These factors shape the careers of students and hence should be well thought out.
- Accreditation and rankings: A degree from a non-accredited institute is worth nothing and a wastage of time, effort and money invested in three years. Be sure to check the accreditations of the school and the rankings published by major academic agencies.
Research your options well in advance, speak with alumni and check-out the law school’s website to find the perfect match for you.