A law school (or school of law) is an institution specializing in legal education.
POST-GRADUATE LAW DEGREES
Law schools in Canada and the United States typically require three years of study after completing an undergraduate degree. Programs which offer part-time study or joint-degree programs may last four or more years. Upon graduation from law school, students are awarded a professional degree, the Juris Doctor (J.D.) or Doctor of Law degree in the U.S. or the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.; or, from the University of Toronto, and soon, the University of British Columbia, J.D.) in Common law Canada and Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L) in Civil Law Canada (Quebec) and some schools in Louisiana. While rarely obtained, the academic doctoral degree in law (equivalent to a Ph.D. in other fields) is the Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) in the U.S. or the Doctorate of Laws (LL.D.) in Canada. Some U.S. schools also offer a Master of Laws (LL.M.) program, often targeted at training foreign lawyers in U.S. law but occasionally an academic degree for post-J.D. study focusing on a specialized field (such as tax law).
In addition to attending law school, in most jurisdictions a graduate of a law school is required to pass the state or provincial bar examination in order to practice law. The Multistate Bar Examination is part of the bar examination in almost all United States jurisdictions; generally, the standardized, common law subject matter of the MBE is combined with state-specific essay questions to produce a comprehensive bar examination.
In the U.S., law school typically involves a full time course of study, though there are part time programs available. In Canada, part-time study is very rare.
On July 3, 2007, the Korean National Assembly passed legislation introducing 'Law School', heavily based on the American post-graduate system.
Recently, in the United States, critics have emerged questioning the forthrightness of law schools in providing prospective students with accurate facts regarding alumni job- placement and compensation rates, suggesting that many law schools may be engaging in the practice of distorting statistics in order to attract students to their institutions. In particular, many law school graduates suggest that their schools utilized correct, but misleading, statistics to attract students. An example of this would be the citing of the mean graduate salaries; while the median salary of law grads in the U.S. is approximately $62,000, the mean could be inflated somewhat by a relatively small concentration of graduates earning $160,000+ starting salaries. Also, it is very likely that even these median salary statistics are incorrect, because students who are unemployed, working temporary jobs or have a low salary are less likely to submit a salary report to the school.
Even when students are able to find jobs at the top-paying law firms, some say that minority law school graduates have difficulty advancing their careers. The law student organization Building a Better Legal Profession generated controversy for showing the lack of female and minority partners in large private firms. In an October 2007 press conference reported in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, the group released data publicizing the numbers of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans at America's top law firms. The group has sent the information to top law schools around the country, encouraging students to take this demographic data into account when choosing where to work after graduation. As more students choose where to work based on the firms' diversity rankings, firms face an increasing market pressure in order to attract top recruits.
As well, there has been some controversy regarding the stark increases in law school tuition in recent years, at a time when compensation packages in the legal services sector are growing much more slowly than the U.S. inflation rate.
Some attribute these issues to insufficient regulation of law schools by the American Bar Association. The total number of Juris Doctor degrees awarded has been on the rise in recent years, at least partially due to the accreditation of new schools by the ABA. Some suggest that accrediting more and more law schools has already resulted in an influx of unqualified graduates into the already-saturated legal job market.
Additionally, many law students take out thousands of dollars in loans (sometimes in excess of $100,000) to fund their legal education in anticipation of receiving a high-paying job upon graduation. However, these uninformed students suffer financial difficulties when the rumored high-paying jobs are inaccessible to them simply because of their US News school rank or their failure to get in the top 10% of the class. Although many people go to law school intending to be at the top of the class, curved grading and stiff competition makes it extremely difficult to predict who will succeed. Thus, many recent law graduates find themselves paying off $50,000 - $100,000 in loans with an entry level salary between $25,000-$60,000 a year, assuming that they are even hired in an already oversaturated job market.
ALTERNATIVE LEGAL EDUCATION SYSTEMS
While law schools such as those in the U.S. and Canada are typically post-graduate institutions with considerable autonomy, legal education in other countries is provided within the mainstream educational system from university level and/or in non-degree conferring vocational training institutions. In countries such as the United Kingdom and most of continental Europe, academic legal education is provided within the mainstream university system starting at the undergraduate level, and the legal departments of universities are simply departments like any other rather than separate "law schools". In these countries, the term "law school" may be used, but it does not have the same clear cut meaning as it does in North America. There are also sometimes legal colleges that provide vocational training as a post-academic stage of legal education. One example is the College of Law in the United Kingdom, which provides certain professional qualifications which British lawyers must obtain before they may practice as solicitors or barristers but does not confer degrees. In Australia, the top law schools such as Australian National University, Sydney Law School, The University of Western Australia and Melbourne University Law School, have emphasised a combination of the British and American systems, employing law as a degree, but done as a combined degree with that of another discipline.
DIRECTORIES OF LAW SCHOOLS WORLDWIDE
ABA APPROVED LAW SCHOOLS
BEST LAW SCHOOLS IN THE USA
Rankings Best Law Schools - Ranked in 2009
Sort by Rank | Name
Rank 1 Yale University New Haven, CT
Rank 2 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
Rank 3 Stanford University Stanford, CA
Rank 4 Columbia University New York, NY
Rank 5 New York University New York, NY
Rank 6 University of California--Berkeley Berkeley, CA
Rank 6 University of Chicago Chicago, IL
Rank 8 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
Rank 9 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
Rank 10 Duke University Durham, NC
Rank 10 Northwestern University Chicago, IL
Rank 10 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
Rank 13 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
Rank 14 Georgetown University Washington, DC
Rank 15 University of California--Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
Rank 15 University of Texas--Austin Austin, TX
Rank 17 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
Rank 18 University of Southern California (Gould) Los Angeles, CA
Rank 19 Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO
Rank 20 Boston University Boston, MA
Rank 20 Emory University Atlanta, GA
Rank 20 University of Minnesota--Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
Rank 23 Indiana University--Bloomington (Maurer) Bloomington, IN
Rank 23 University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
Rank 23 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
Source: U.S. News
U.S. News surveyed 184 accredited programs to get the information used in the ranking of top law schools.
More Info @ http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsa...hools/rankings
THE VALUE OF AMERICAN-STYLE LAW SCHOOLS
Law Schools: American system in Korea?
July 9, 2007
Last week a bill on American-style law schools was passed by the National Assembly. The idea was conceived as part of a judicial reform program in Feb. 1995 by the "Globalization Commission" of the Kim Young-sam administration. As a result, American-style law schools will open in 2009. Korea's modern judicial system was introduced in 1894 and judicial reform efforts began in 1995 to mark the centennial of that event. Now 15 years later, one of the key components of the reform program will finally materialize. The coming of the law schools is clearly of great significance.
The judicial reform program began with the idea of providing the public with quality, low-priced professional legal services. At the time, the number of practicing lawyers was very small and they charged very high fees. The ratio of lawyers to 10,000 people in the country was one-41st of that of the U.S., one-seventeenth of Britain, one-ninth of Germany, and one-1.7th of Japan. The sky was the limit as far as lawyer fees were concerned. Lawyers charged so much that the Korean Bar Association eventually set a guideline, asking them to take no more than W5 million (US$1=W938) per criminal case in retaining fees, and no more than W10 million per case in contingency fees. Korean lawyer were charging three to six times as much as their counterparts in Germany, which has a similar legal system. Under these circumstances, 62.4 percent of civil court cases were conducted with no lawyers present.
Because of the money they were earning from civil and criminal cases, lawyers didn't feel the need for specialization. There were only 214 lawyers specializing in international transactions in Korea, and a mere 35 specializing in tax issues at that time. With the exception of the Ministry of Justice, only 10 lawyers were working for the entire government. Despite this, there were 7,000 law majors at colleges and universities and 16,000 applicants for the state bar exam. But the quota of successful applicants for the state bar exam was as small as 290. Despite the huge educational waste and the shortage of lawyers, judicial circles were still calling for reducing the quota of successful applicants. The system at the time was aimed at defending the vested interests of a privileged few within judicial circles. They thought nothing of the people, the consumers of legal services. They went so far as to disparage the proponents of judicial reform as enemies of the judiciary.
The first task of the reform program was to increase the number of lawyers. Despite all difficulties, the Globalization Commission succeeded in overcoming the resistance of the judicial circles and persuaded the Supreme Court to increase the quota to one or two thousand starting in 2000. The second task was to reform the lawyer training system, which meant enhancing the quality of the growing number of lawyers. In other words, the focus was on introducing American-style law schools for the purpose of training lawyers in various fields, such as international transactions, intellectual property rights, and the environment, in compliance with the demands of the globalized era. This was a revolutionary change from an "exam system" to an "education system." But the judicial circles put up even more resistance, claiming that the law school system would further increase the number of lawyers, and derailed the reform program. Since then, the reform program has drifted and 10 years have been wasted.
In 1995 when Korea was pushing for reform, Japan was envious, wanting to know how it could be done. They borrowed our idea for law schools. In July 1997, Japan launched a judicial reform deliberation council and drafted a plan based on one of our conceptions. The Japanese parliament passed the law school bill in 2002 and law schools began to open in 2004. What has taken 12 years for Korea to do, Japan accomplished in just five years.
Why are we so slow to carry out changes that are essential for the nation and the people? It's because private interests almost always come before the public good in our society. A sort of collective egoism takes precedence over the public interest. The privileged class, including intellectuals and the rich and powerful, are especially reluctant to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the public good and the future of the country. They are bent on protecting what they've got. This kind of egoism can not be allowed. Korean can develop only if its leaders take the initiative and set an example, putting the public good before their own. Only then can we succeed in achieving the changes demanded by the current era and making the country a first-rate advanced nation.
This column was first written by Park Se-il, a professor at the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University and director of the Hansun Foundation for Freedom and Prosperity.
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Deciding Where to Go - Choosing a Law School at LegalJunkies.com
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What's New for the 2011 Best Graduate School Rankings
What's new for the upcoming 2011 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools? For the first time, U.S. News has separate peer assessment survey instruments that use a five-point scale for part-time law J.D. programs and part-time M.B.A. programs. As a result, U.S. News is contemplating significant methodology changes in both of these popular rankings. The 2011 edition of the rankings will be published in April 2010.
What will these changes mean for the upcoming part-time law J.D. program rankings?
What's New for the 2011 Best Graduate School Rankings - Legal Junkies Forums
The 2010 U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings
Here they are: the 2010 U.S. News & World Report rankings of the U.S. law schools.
The top 35 (actually 37):
The top 35 (actually 37):
1. Yale, 2. Harvard, 3. Stanford, 4. Columbia, 5. Chicago, 6. NYU, 7. Berkeley, 7. (tie) Penn, 9. Michigan, 10. UVA, 11. Duke, 11. (tie) Northwestern, 13. Cornell, 14. Georgetown, 15. UCLA, 15. (tie) Texas, 17. Vanderbilt, 18. USC, 19. Wash U, 20. George Washington, 21. Illinois, 22. BU, 22. (tie) Emory, 22. (tie) Minnesota, 22. (tie) Notre Dame, 26. Iowa, 27. Indiana, 28. Boston College, 28. (tie) William & Mary, 28. (tie) UC Davis, 28. (tie) Georgia, 28. (tie) UNC, 28. (tie) Wisconsin, 34. Fordham, 34. (tie) Ohio State, 34. (tie) University of Washington, 34. (tie) Washington & Lee.
Re: Law Schools
Minnesota Law School worth looking at. One of the best law schools around!
Re: Law Schools
I noticed that many of the online law schools do not fare too well in the law school rankings. I imagine this is because the classical rankings system employed is geared to classroom based programs. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone knows of a system used to evaluate and rank online accredited law schools? Also, are the online law programs any good or is there a stigma attached with having an online law degree? Will I be able to get a job after I graduate? I'm going to keep researching the matter but any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.
Re: Law Schools
Before enrolling in law school read more on the economics of law school over at yourlawschool.com
Re: Law Schools
Re: Law Schools
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