Law schools

Top law schools in world: Admission requirements, application, tests, costs, careers, salaries

 
Superhero lawyer Perry Mason, created by author Erle Stanley Gardner, films such as To Kill a Mocking Bird, Michael Clayton, and The Lincoln Lawyer, and TV series such as The Practice, Ally McBeal, and Boston Legal doubtless inspired many legal careers.

Law is a great choice for young and ambitious people: it can be glamorous, lucrative, and challenging.

For some, however, it can be mostly dry paperwork that involves drafting legal memos for senior partners late into the night and managing conflicts of conscience.

Effective communication skills, critical thinking, art of persuasion and negotiation, assertiveness, efficient time-management and interpersonal skills are some of the traits that can help you become a successful lawyer.

You also need to familiarize yourself with the scope of work for a lawyer. A lawyer may specialise in a particular area of law including criminal law, real estate law, corporate law, family law, intellectual property law or immigration law.

If you plan to pursue a career in law, you should first introspect and make sure that it is really what you want.

Becoming a good lawyer is an arduous task: you will have to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees, pass tough examinations, and get through a lengthy licensing process. But first, you need to get into law school.
 

Application requirements for applying to law schools

 

Law school entrance test

The LSAT (Law School Admission Test) is a test administered by the LSAC (Law School Admission Council) and an important admission requirement for applying to law schools in USA, Canada, certain schools in Australia and some other countries.

It is a 3 ½ hour long test with five sections: Logical Reasoning section, Reading Comprehension section, Analytical Reasoning section, Variable Section, writing sample. The test scores would range from 120-180.

If you plan to study in India, these are some of the important entrance tests – LSAT-India, CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) conducted by the National Law Universities for admission to LLB; AILET (All India Law Entrance Test) for admission to the National Law University, Delhi.

Most of the schools, especially in the US and Canada look at your past academic performance (GPA) and test scores (LSAT) as the top two criteria.

These two parameters are looked upon as indicators that measure a candidate’s potential to successfully complete the requirements of the law degree.

Read more on the LSAT.
Also read,
LSAT Exam Syllabus: General Test Pattern
LSAT Exam Preparation India
Best LSAT Books
 

Personal Statement

Your Personal Statement is also an important aspect and should highlight your uniqueness and the special qualities that set you apart from the applicant pool.

Prior work experience or extracurricular activities including volunteering or any initiative on your part demonstrating your leadership qualities need to be highlighted.

Give yourself enough time to polish your Personal Statement. Let it be concise, within the word count and without any grammatical or spelling errors.

It always helps to have another pair of eyes review your Personal Statement so that you’re able to get valuable feedback and an external perspective.
 

Letters of recommendation

Choose the right recommenders who know you well and would be in a position to provide some insights into your academic or professional life and how you’ve performed in comparison to your peers.

The recommender could be your professors whom you’ve closely worked with or your employer.
 
The application process and requirements as well as the academic credentials and the various steps involved in being able to practice as a lawyer would vary depending upon where you are based.

For example, USA and Canada offer only post-graduate degrees in law whereas UK, Australia, India and Singapore offer both undergraduate and post-graduate law degrees. In India, admission decisions are usually based on the score obtained in the law entrance test.

The cost of studying law, the time duration for completion of the academic and practical experience requirements as well as the compensation packages would greatly differ for various countries.

We have covered all these aspects in detail, for the following geographical locations, in each of the articles listed at the bottom of this article.
 

Careers after law school

What work do lawyers do?

Lawyers represent their clients and provide legal advice. They may work for law firms, government agencies or private businesses.

A lawyer’s work can vary greatly depending on the area they specialise in.

They have to conduct research on legal issues and do a thorough analysis.

Advocates represent their client in civil and criminal cases, provide evidence, question witnesses, and come up with an argument to defend their client.

Corporate lawyers work with banks and businesses managing the various transactions of the company, drafting legal documents and managing various areas like mergers and acquisitions.

Intellectual property lawyers handle trademarks, patents, copyright and areas involving protection of intellectual property of the client.

Family lawyers handle matters related to family law including domestic violence, divorce, child support, adoption, inheritance or property disputes.

Immigration lawyers handle various visa, work permit and immigration related issues.

In law firms, lawyers may be referred to as ‘associates’.

Some lawyers may choose to enter academia and take up teaching positions in law schools and also be involved in research in legal areas.
 

Average salary after law school

The salaries would vary greatly depending on the country in which you practice.

For example, the median US salary in the private sector is around $72,500. In Canada, it is around C$73,316. In the UK, it can go up to £100,000 with a ten year experience. Whereas in India, a corporate lawyer can expect an average salary of Rs. 7,13,000.
 

Top law schools in the world

Here’s the list of some of the top law schools across the world based on their rankings by publications like QS and Times Higher Education:

Best law schools in the world are:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. University of Cambridge
  4. University of Oxford
  5. Yale University
  6. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  7. University of Melbourne
  8. New York University
  9. Duke University
  10. University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
  11. Columbia University
  12. University of Chicago

 
We’ve covered the details of law schools in different countries below:

 
Also read:
How to get into Medical Schools
 
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