A Review of Law School Confidential

Law School Confidential has built up a formidable reputation since its publication as a must read book for every aspiring or current law student. If you ask an actual law student, you will find that most, if not all, have a copy of this book sitting in their book library.

The book is more than just a guide to law schools in the United States; it is a veritable tome of inside information on choosing, getting in, and excelling at the best school. Along with the usual information contained in virtually every guide book out there, this book will tell you the inside secrets of a law school – from the 1L exams, to study and research techniques which only actual law students would know.

The greatest strength of Law School Confidential has to be its conversational style. Rather than talking at you, it talks to you – an asset rarely found in a law book, which have a tendency to become loaded with legal jargon. This book isn’t filled with fluffy nonsense; every chapter, word, and letter is included on its own merit.

Where it fails is that it can come across as quite preachy to someone who knows the insides of a law school well. The study tips, for instance, while useful, are hardly anything you wouldn’t have picked up in your undergraduate years. Thankfully, such low quality content is very rare in the book.

If you are seriously planning to study law, then this book is a definite buy. Period.

Entrance Exams for Law Aspirants to Prepare After Class 10

In India, there are two course formats available, when it comes to law education:

· Integrated law course can be directly pursued after Class 12

· Bachelor of Law (LL.B) can be pursued after graduation

Passing any of the courses mentioned above is important, if one wants to become a lawyer. To start practicing, other than clearing any of the above mentioned courses, students can also clear the Bar Council examination and get enrolled with the Bar Council.

Law courses prepare students to play the role of a legal professional. The course covers the topics like legal principles, law and regulation in India, moot court sessions and legal procedures.

Let us check out the format of each course in details:

1. Integrated Law Course:

It is a 5 year long program. Integrated law course can be pursued by students who have completed Class 12. This program will give rise to one to two degrees- A Bachelor’s Degree (based on the program) and LL.B, after the completion of course. Few of the well-known integrated law programs available in India are BA LL.B, B.Com. LL.B, BSc. LL.B and BBA LL.B. Based on one’s interest, a student may opt for any of the above discussed law programs.

Duration of the course: 5 years

Eligibility criteria: Students who have cleared Class 12 or PU2 in any stream are eligible to pursue this course. Minimum marks criteria may exist in case of several institutions. Generally, minimum aggregate marks needed are about 45 to 50%. After completing the integrated law program, one can enrol with Bar Council of India and start practicing as a Lawyer.

2. LL.B. after graduation:

LL.B. is a PG course which can be pursued after completing the graduation. It is the traditional law course. If you are not interested in pursuing law directly after PU2, you may go for any 3 or 4 years graduation program, complete it and then pursue LL.B.

Duration: 3 years

Eligibility criteria: Graduates who have completed 3 or 4 years long graduation degree from an acknowledged University are eligible to pursue this. After completing the LL.B program, a student can enrol with the Bar Council and start practicing as a Lawyer in India.

The minimum qualification needed to study law is 10+2 passes in any of the streams. Students, who have passed Class 10 and want to study law, should join I and II PUC schooling in any stream like Science, Commerce and Arts.

Entrance Tests for Law

In order to secure admissions in reputed law institutions, one should write relevant law entrance exams and score good marks in such tests. Various kinds of law entrance tests include: National level test, State level entrance exam and institute -wise exam etc.

Let us look at few of the important law entrance exams in India:

· AILET (All India Law Entrance Test)

· CET

· BLAT (BHU Law Admission Test)

· LSAT

· ULSAT (UPES Legal Studies Aptitude Test)

Once can also join Legal firms or companies that provide legal consultancy. After gaining the work experience by working under the experienced lawyers, one may start out their own venture too.

Choosing a Career in the Field Of Law

The career of a lawyer is something which needs a good amount of specific skills even before going to pursue it as a career. But this is not the case with all the careers in the field of law. Here the terms ‘law’ and ‘lawyer’ are used to denote two different things which are related to law. To study law means to get enrolled in one of the prestigious law colleges and then complete the course. This can get you placed in many different legal positions in our private and public sector. But being a lawyer or an attorney is different from just taking classes on law.

A person should have a certain set of specific characteristics which are necessary to become successful in being a lawyer. There should be a self analysis before actually joining any of the institutions. We can get an idea on how this works by visiting local courts. There we will see how the court works, how lawyers are arguing the cases. You can have talks with the lawyers to see how the legal system is really working. Or else you can visit a career counselor for getting advice of how the system works.

What we can see is that law is a career for those who have a high level of independent studying skills. They should have good reading, writing, listening, and talking skills. They should be able to analyze the problems quicker than an average person. Other skills include arguing, debating, and public speaking skills. Along with this they should be very confident and should be patient. Some of these skills can be developed in a law college, but people who already possessing such skills will become better than others by improving on it during the training period.

If you have got some of these talents and is considering about joining a law school, then you should do a good research on the internet or other sources like counseling centers to explore more about the field. There are many specialized fields in law practice. This includes the practice of corporate law, tax law, civil law, employment law, family law, real estate law, international law etc. It would be better if you could choose your field of interest even before starting the course. Thereby you can concentrate more towards your goal of becoming one. This will also aid in acquiring appropriate programs for us to study in the college.

Law School Admissions – Are You Smart Enough?

The law school admission process is involved. Your undergraduate GPA, LSAT score, letters of recommendation and more come into play as part of your application package. One implicit law school requirement is that you be smart and, indeed, law students tend to be among the brightest of the bunch. Of all professions, few outside of academia require so much academic preparation and attract such able minds.

So, it’s reasonable to ask when you are considering legal study whether or not you can make the grade. In fact, many readers of my blog have asked at exact question: Am I smart enough for law school? So let’s spend some time considering the question and asking whether or not it is the right question in the first place.

Do law schools care if you are smart? Not really. Admissions officers do care about your undergraduate GPA and your LSAT scores, which themselves could be considered as indicators of brainpower. But what the schools actually care about is how your numbers function as predictors of success in their institution. For example, the admissions office at Stanford Law School knows that applicants who score in the 97th percentile or higher on the LSAT will have the greatest odds of succeeding in their classes at Stanford and getting good jobs when they graduate. Schools also care about these numbers from a competitive perspective — Stanford knows that they don’t have to accept anyone but the “best”, to the degree that is measurable by your application materials.

But I think it is a mistake to assume that this numbers game — which really focuses on predictors of success and competitiveness — tells the whole story about how smart you have to be for law. The question isn’t necessarily how smart, but what kind of smart you need to be for the study of law.

Law school actually rewards certain kinds of smarts and not others. What kind of smart matters in your legal education? In general, analytic smarts are far more important than intellectual smarts. A mind that is skilled in analysis is good at slicing and dicing problems — breaking problems down into pieces that can have rules or arguments applied to them (see my article on law school preparation for the reasoning skills commonly applied in law school).

Intellectual smarts, by contrast, are used for applying philosophical frameworks or historical perspectives to circumstances. Intellectuals might be interested in looking at problems from a higher level or synthesizing meaning out of the written word or cultural phenomena. It may be an over-generalization, but it’s fair to say that there is almost no room for this kind of smarts in legal study. Instead, law school involves taking certain formulas for argumentation and learning how to apply them in a variety of circumstances. Analytic smarts will get you far in your law classes, while intellectual smarts are viewed as “soft” skills.

So, then, does someone have to be great at analyzing problems in order to succeed in the legal education? The law school admissions process sorts this out for you. The LSAT, love it or hate it, is filled with puzzles that try to determine your innate analytic capabilities. And, of course, it also tests how thoroughly you prepared to take the test in the first place. It’s certain that knowing how to prepare for the LSAT will help you succeed while studying law. Practicing for the LSAT is a great test of your tenacity and ability to study. It’s equally certain that LSAT puzzles reveal a certain kind of analytic ability.

But here’s the key: There is a law school for every LSAT score. Whatever your LSAT score, there is some school out there that will accept you and they will do so because people with your LSAT/GPA profile tend to succeed at their school. You might not get into Harvard/Stanford/Yale, but there will be some school that will find your scores competitive. (The ranking of law schools and how this relates to your career interests exceeds the scope of this article.)

So, let’s regroup. Instead of asking “Am I smart enough for law school?”, ask yourself whether you have demonstrated skills in analytical thinking (either in school or on your job) and whether your LSAT score and GPA will get you into the school of your choice. If you are passionate about studying law, the law school admissions process will actually give you a good sense of how far you can go with the scores you bring to the table.

If you think you have the smarts, but are still wondering if you should go to law school, you are not alone. Before you take on the law school admissions process with all its requirements and fees, it’s important to ask with a clear mind and heart: is law school right for me?