In many countries throughout the world, an individual who wishes to practice law must complete postgraduate law courses. In most cases, this entails acceptance into a program of study devoted only to postgraduate law courses. In the United States, for example, a lawyer must complete three years of study in law school culminating in the receipt of a juris doctorate degree. Deciding which university offers the best postgraduate law courses will depend on a number of factors, including geographic considerations, cost, ranking, as well as study abroad, internship or clinic opportunities, and what type of law the student ultimately wishes to focus on upon graduation.
Every state in the United States has at least one law school located within it. If a student needs to remain close to home, then he or she will need to look into law schools within the state where he or she lives. On the other hand, if location is not an issue, then a student may look to law schools across the country. Studying abroad is generally not recommended for the entire three years unless the student plans to become licensed in another country and practice law in that country.
Cost is something that must be considered for most students looking for postgraduate law courses. Law school tuition is considerably more expensive per credit hour than undergraduate tuition and, therefore, must be factored into the equation. As with undergraduate school, law school tuition rates are lower for in-state residents; however, most law schools like a geographic diverse student body, meaning that it may actually be more difficult to get accepted to a law school within the state where the student lives.
Law schools within the United States are ranked by a number of sources each year. If a student has a competitive undergraduate grade point average and an above-average Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score, then he or she may be in a position to choose one of the higher ranking law schools. U.S. News & World Report is one of the more widely respected sources for law school rankings each year.
The postgraduate law courses offered at each school should also be considered. Although all students take the same basic classes for the first two years, they do have the option to pursue advanced classes or specialized areas of study in the final year. In addition, some law schools offer study abroad programs, internship opportunities, or the option to gain practical experience in a clinical environment. A prospective law school student should thoroughly research all of these opportunities at each school he or she is considering before making a decision.