Studying law in the USA enables students to take advantage of the country’s long-established and well-respected law schools, in addition to learning in the environment of a prominent early practitioner of the common law. One-third of the world’s population live within a common law jurisdiction, including Ireland, India, the UK and South Africa, so you would be gaining a qualification relevant in all four corners of the globe.
Law schools in the USA dominate the QS top 50 rankings, with fifteen of its institutions present, including Harvard at number 1 and Yale, NYU and Stanford at 4th, 5th and 6th. The prime reason for America’s excellent law school system is the stringent nature of their admissions criteria, as a typical law course will not take students directly from secondary education. Law courses in the USA are seen as professional qualifications on a par with graduate degrees, as opposed to the undergraduate law qualifications available in most countries. International students who wish to study for a Juris Doctor must therefore obtain a bachelor’s diploma of at least three years study prior to application. This degree can be in any subject, but most US law school applicants study humanities or social sciences. Studying for a Juris Doctor takes three years for full-time students and four years for part-time students. It should be noted that the Juris Doctor qualification rarely allows you to practice as a lawyer in foreign countries, and as such most international students who do not plan on living in the USA choose to pursue a Master of Laws or Doctor of Juridical Science qualification. Both of these are also graduate qualifications aimed at those who have practiced law or completed a full law degree outside the USA, and can take from one to three years to complete. Additionally, there are some paralegal courses offered by American universities which are open to undergraduates, but once again these may only be suitable if you are planning to live and work in the USA afterwards.
Law schools will use a combination of your undergraduate credentials and the results of your LSAT test to determine your suitability for a course, in addition to any letters of recommendation and work history you provide. The LSAT is a test which all applicants to US law schools must take, and measures your skills in logic, reasoning, and advanced reading comprehension. These tests can be taken outside of the USA in certain locations, and each institution has its own minimum score criteria for both the LSAT and your Grade Point Average or equivalent. As part of the application process to study in the USA, many law schools also require their international students to achieve satisfactory scores on TOEFL or IELTS language proficiency tests. Many of the best law schools require an IELTS average score of 7.5 to obtain entry, but some do take students with 6.5 scores.
There is a huge range of courses available for prospective law students in the USA, and many are tailored to those with specific career goals. If you would like help on choosing the right course for you, or you simply need more information about applying to an American law school, contact IEC Abroad today.