What To Know About The Law Industry As An Applicant
The legal market has changed. With fewer applicants in 2016 than 2008, some law schools have implemented innovative changes, such as accepting the GRE, to attract more applicants. There aren’t necessarily jobs for these students. According to Above The Law, the legal industry lost 1,400 jobs in January and February.
That’s why, before you apply to law school, it’s important to understand some facts about the legal market prior to applying to law school.
Julie Ketover, a contributor at U.S. News & World Report, recently discussed some quirks of the legal industry that applicants should consider before applying to law school.
“Today, applicants pay attention to key considerations like the return on investment of a legal education at a particular school and postgraduate employment statistics,” Ketover writes.
Plan To take At Least One Bar Exam
A law degree isn’t enough to practice law. On top of spending time and money on a law degree, applicants will also need to invest time and money into preparing for the state bar – especially since the bar exam directly affects employment opportunity for law grads.
“Some employment opportunities available to law school graduates do not technically involve the practice of law and would not require passage of a bar exam,” Ketover writes. “However, most postgraduate jobs you will likely be considering will not be in this category.”
Prior to applying to law school, Ketover says, applicants should research a school’s bar passage rates to see how well the education will prepare them for bar passage.
If you plan on practice law in more than one state, you should plan to take more than one bar exam.
“To maximize employability and be able to represent clients in different states, many attorneys opt to take multiple bar exams right after law school,” Ketover writes. “This is a useful strategy in particular for lawyers who live in metropolitan areas that cover multiple states.”
Make Sure You’re Interested In The Work
Law school, alone, is very time-consuming and stressful. But life after law school, Ketover says, is just as rigorous. Prospective law applicants should take some time to consider what work is interesting to them.
“Aim to do something you love and that brings you fulfillment and satisfaction,” Ketover writes. “Many jobs after law school will be time-intensive and often stressful, so do your best to ensure that the work is interesting.”
Know The Billable Hour System
One unique characteristic of the law firm is the billable hour system. Essentially, clients pay the firm an amount of money and that money is divided among firm workers by their billable hours.
“While some clients pay law firms a flat fee or use an alternative fee arrangement, by and large, clients of law firms pay for legal services by the hour,” Ketover explains. “This standard system requires efficient and effective tracking of all time on a matter by all lawyers and staff who work on that matter.”
Knowing these unique quirks about the legal industry will help applicants better understand the legal industry and, ultimately, decide whether or not it’s the right path for them.
Sources: U.S. News, U.S. News, Above The Law