These days, it is not always a safe bet to get a law degree from a U.S. Law School. Law firms are not hiring as they once were, and law schools have raised their tuition. That being said, a law degree or L.L.M. from a top tier law school can be a great building block to your career as an entrepreneur. Below are the fundamentals on how to obtain a law degree from a top U.S. law school.
J.D. or L.L.M?
The first thing you should consider when deciding whether to study law in the United States is what type of degree you want. There are two main options for an international student: the J.D. and the L.L.M. The J.D. or the Juris Doctor (“JD”), is considered a graduate level professional degree and students enter the program already possessing a college diploma. The J.D. is earned over a three year period.
Most international law students in the United States will earn an LLM (Master of Laws) degree. LL.M. students generally take classes alongside their J.D. counterparts. Depending on the policies of the school, special LL.M. seminars may also be offered, but may be open to J.D. students as well. Typically, the LLM is a one-year course of full-time study or two years of part-time study.
Requirements for Admission to a Top U.S. Law School
- The most important element of your application to a top U.S. law school will be your LSAT application. The LSAT is required for both a J.D. and an LLM degree. More importantly, the Law School Admissions Test is a major factor in getting into a top U.S. law school. The test is offered in many cities around the world. For LSAT prep, you should take an LSAT prep course available in your country or online.
- Here is a handy checklist of other requirements for law school admission: http://www.lsac.org/LLM/Applying/LLM-checklist.asp
Researching the Right School
U.S. law schools vary greatly in reputation and expense. You can research the reputation of your law school by looking at rankings published by U.S. News and World Report. Also, if you know you want to practice law in a particular city, you should look at local schools that have strong reputations in specific cities. You can research this by contacting the State Bar of a particular state, or any local Bar Association, which is often eager to help.