Is Law Right for Me?
Being successful in law school is not about knowledge of a particular subject. It is about having a set of key skills. The American Bar Association and the Law School Admission Council identify these skills as:
- Analytic/problem-solving skills
- Critical reading abilities
- Writings skills
- General research skills
- Oral communication skills
- Listening abilities
- Task organization and management skills
- Values of serving others and promoting justice
Students can hone these skills through a number of courses at Elizabethtown College. Some of these courses are listed in the Suggested Courses section of this website. In addition, students can develop these skills through involvement in extra-curricular activities (e.g., Pre-Law Club, Mock Trial Team, The Etownian, Student Senate, etc.).
Research the Profession
Television and movies present a skewed view of what attorneys do on a daily basis. While some attorneys argue cases in court, most do not. All attorneys, however, must research, write, and discuss cases with colleagues or clients. The truth of the matter is the work of an attorney can vary by legal field and working environment.
In recent decades, the legal community has become much more specialized. Fewer attorneys are solo practitioners or “generalists.” Instead, lawyers often specialize in specific fields of law, such as commercial litigation, bankruptcy law, education law, labor law, family law, immigration law, intellectual property law, tax law, military law, public utilities law, among many others. Because the legal community has become so specialized in recent years, pre-law students with virtually any academic major can find an area of practice related to their interests.
After graduating from law school, almost all states require law school graduates to sit for the state's Bar exam. The structure of Bar exams vary by state, but generally they are multi-day tests that include essay questions on various legal topics relating to state and federal law. Once an individual passes the Bar exam, they are officially licensed to practice law with a given jurisdiction.
Frequently, law graduates will receive job offers before they pass the Bar exam. Recent law school graduates can obtain employment in a variety of work environments. According to the “Survey of 2008 Law School Graduates Six Months After Graduation” by the National Association for Law Placement, the majority of recent law school graduates (56.2%) obtained employment in law firms (i.e., private practice), 13.4% were employed with a business/corporation, 10.6% with a government entity, 9.6% in a judicial clerkship, 5.4% in public interest law (e.g., non-profit organizations and policy groups), 2.3% in academia, and 1.2% in the military.
For more information on legal careers, students are encouraged view the following links associated with the the American Bar Association and the Law School Admission Council: