Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Gloria Allred, Thurgood Marshall. All of these famous and successful attorneys choose different paths, reinforced by their dedication and passion for the law and doing the right thing.
People who choose to pursue a law career may have different motivations, but they seem to share the sense of determination and integrity necessary to be successful as a lawyer.
If you are considering law school, you know it is an expensive undertaking. But it is a path with many opportunities beyond the courtroom. That is why you should consider all the costs associated with law school so that you are prepared and informed before making the decision.
Requirements of the law school
Most law school programs require a four-year bachelor’s degree. Many students study subjects such as English, government, history, philosophy, or economics, but no specific major is required.
The American Bar Association (ABA) suggests that taking “a wide range of challenging courses from demanding instructors is excellent preparation for legal education.”
Some undergraduate programs also offer pre-law counseling, which can help you get a better idea of what a career in law might look like.
The advisor will also help you choose the right classes for the bachelor’s degree and assist you in the law school application process.
To apply, you must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which assesses reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning.
Once accepted, you will begin a three-year program (some schools offer a four-year part-time program) to complete a Juris Doctor (JD) degree.
During the first year of law school, students take courses on torts, contracts, constitutional law, civil procedure, property, and a legal writing class.
Second and third year courses vary from institution to institution, but will typically require writing credit, experimental electives, professional responsibility courses, and more.
These give you the opportunity to explore specialty areas and learn what interests you most, such as tax, employment or corporate law.
In the third year of law school, students will take elective courses that cover their specialty of choice, including seminars and problem courses.
To become a practicing attorney, students must take a licensing “bar” exam for the state in which they wish to practice. Each state has its own exam payment rate, so don’t hesitate to check Oregon Bar Exam price or in other states in advance.
According to the BLS, “most states require applicants to graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, pass one or more written bar exams, and be determined by an admissions board that they have the character to represent and advise others”.
Even after being admitted to the bar association, lawyers are expected to continue their education each year.
Private and Public Law School Tuition
The cost of law school will vary depending on where you study. Tuition varies by institution, and the prices of books, food, housing, and supplies are equally variable.
According to US News, the average annual cost of an out-of-state public law school is $ 41,726, compared to a much higher private school at $ 49,548 and in-state public at $ 28,264.
Even for the least expensive option, the state public school, the cost over three years is $ 84,792.
Total cost of law school
Over three years, a law student can expect to pay between $84,792 (public school in the state) and $148,644 (private school) and more.
These numbers can be overwhelming, especially when you go straight from undergraduate to law school.
But according to BLS, the median salary for a lawyer is $122,960, with the top ten percent making more than $208,000 per year.
There are also many options for paying for law school. Specialized loans, grants, scholarships, and affordable programs can make repayment easier on your mind and pocket.
Understanding the cost of law school is just one step in a long career path. Make sure you use the right tools and available research to make smart decisions and prepare for the future you deserve.