Law as a career option is one of the most challenging and dynamic professions an individual could opt for. As a lawyer, a person must possess good listening, writing, communication, analytical and reasoning skills.
Apart from the above skills, a person must have in-depth knowledge about various fields so as to get an overall understanding about what the case is and also must possess immense drive to deliver success in the case.
In most of the countries, practicing law requires acquiring practical training and receiving a license to practice in that specific country. This general rule holds good in the United States too but the only difference would be that to practice law in the United States, each state provides separate licenses to individuals to practice in their state. To start practicing, a person must first receive a law degree from a law school. Most of the law schools in the US are associated with major universities. Few independent institutions are also present.
The law schools in the US admit students on completion of a four year college program. Pre-law students are not required to take any particular courses but most of the students planning to enroll for a law degree, take majors related to the social sciences.
The law school programs mostly extend for three years and the students specialize in all aspects of private and public laws during this duration. On completion of 3 years, a Doctor of Jurisprudence or J.D. degree is awarded to all students. The public schools offer the law programs at very low fees but the private institutions fees, on the contrary, are very high.
The law schools have a very unique way of teaching law i.e through the case method. This enabled students to horn their legal reasoning skills by providing them opportunity to read, analyze and discuss actual court-room cases. This method of teaching was introduced by Harvard University during the 1870’s and all law schools are following the same method since then.
Each state has a separate bar i.e a body of lawyers who possess the license to practice law in that particular state. Most of the states in the US conduct a bar examination to issue a license to the law graduates. But few states exempt students from this exam if they have graduated out of the states own approved law schools. The legislature or the highest court in each state sets conduct rules for lawyers. These courts also have the authority to disbar a person from practicing by terminating their licenses.
Most lawyers in the US practice general law but certain people specialize in administrative and corporation laws. Lawyers generally work for big law firms who handle the needs of major business corporations in toto.
Due to extensive work involved in the legal arena, lawyers have to devote their quality time in resolving the client’s issues and arguing their case in a court of law. So routine work is handle by a group of individuals called as para-legal or lawyer’s assistants. A law degree in the United Sates is also a passport to entering the Congress, administrative agencies and other state legislative offices.