Considering practicing law? Then you’re going to need to find a law school to attend. There are over 200 law schools to choose from that are accredited through the America Bar Association. In most cases, students will apply to as many as 15 different schools. Some are lucky enough to get accepted into more than one law school, allowing them the freedom to choose which institution they’d like to go to. Selecting the best law school for your education isn’t always clearcut. The following factors should be considered when choosing an institution to attend.
Where’s it’s Located
At first, you may be willing to go to any law school, no matter where it’s located in the U.S. But you have to factor in your life outside of school, which may include going to work, spending time with family and hanging out with friends. You can’t do this anywhere you go, so it’s necessary to look at the location to see if it accommodates your lifestyle. Your hobbies, interests and distance away from home should all play a role in choosing a law school. If you want to work part-time while you’re in school, check the local job market to see if there are opportunities you can pursue.
What Does it Cost?
Not all law schools cost the same, so it’s important to read the fine print to determine the actual cost for everything, including the tuition, books and living expenses. You can imagine the cost of living off campus would be substantially higher at a university in New York than it would be in a small town. Keep in mind that attending a school in your state of residence is cheaper. For instance, in New York, students are charged $12,000 per year. This is likely half the cost charged to students coming in out of state.
How Do You Feel About the School?
You don’t want to base your decisions off of what others are saying. Just because a magazine states the University of Maryland is a great school doesn’t mean you will agree. It’s a good idea to visit the schools you’re interested in before enrolling. Talk to the professors, students and staff. Walk around the campus and nearby communities to see what it would be like living there for a school year.
ABA Law Schools Are Identical
If you’re going to go to an ABA law school, then you can expect the same education. Your first year there, you will learn about contracts, property, torts and civil procedure. Once you’ve completed the first three years, you will have to take an exam – unless you live in Wisconsin, where you can take your exam after graduating. Anywhere else, you will have to enroll in a bar exam course, such as Kaplan or BarBri, which will last a few months. At the end of the course, you’ll have a two or three-day exam, depending on the state your school is in. You won’t know if you passed or failed until a few months later.