I am a junior in high school, and am looking for colleges in the mid-Atlantic area that can prepare me well for law school. I have been doing research and was thinking of double majoring in political science and international studies. Also, if you could elaborate what exactly an international lawyer does? Any advise on what I should do would be helpful.
Those who concentrate on something BESIDES criminal justice or the political majors are accepted to law schools in higher percentage than others. Math, engineering, philosophy, art, religion all get accepted. It's not what you major in so much as how well you do, who you show yourself to be in the application and interview, and how you score on the LSAT that are all more important than your undergrad major.
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I would tend to agree with Mr. Popovich as to your undergraduate major - study something other than law. Of course, a good liberal arts college gives you such a background (my alma mater fits that bill and is almost in your backyard: Allegheny College, Meadville, PA) that will allow you choices later on and teach you how analyze a given problem, not unlike the Socratic method used in virtually every law school of note. The ability to learn very quickly about a new subject is perhaps one of the best abilities you could learn as you could be litigating a contract case over the proper manufacture of water sewer lines or an environmental law case involving the toxicity of the material used in such manufacture (probably the next big area of product liability litigation) and next month litigating over whether computer software need only be copyrighted for protection as opposed to needing a patent.
If you truly are interested in international law, than I suggest you visit American University in Washington, D.C. and speak to the School of International Studies (SIS). They have a joint PhD and J.D. 4 year program with A.U.'s Washington College of Law.
Keep in mind that the "practice of law" is very different from the "study of law". As for the former, attend the best law school you can in the geographic region where you wish to locate as each law school tends to use the local jurisdictional law as the basis for examples and, in some states, the schools are required to teach such a course, e.g. Florida. Most states now will allow reciprocal licensing if you are admitted in one of the states that recognize the state you are admitted. However, some states are very protective of "their turf", the best known of which are: California, Florida, NJ, Delaware, and Maryland; and do not allow such reciprocity. You generally must retake the Bar Exam in each of those states regardless whether you are a member of another bar (some do not for certain very limited situations).
Good luck to you. It can be rewarding, but it is a long and expensive training process just to get a law degree, so perseverance is a necessary trait.
First, being a lawyer is not so much about a particular knowledge base; being a lawyer is skill hased. The 2 most important skills are writing and critical thinking. In that respect, your undergraduate major is of little consequence. If i were to do it over again, I would have spent more time in math and writing courses (I majored in philosophy and economics, so I still did a fair amount of writing and math). If you want to do international law, I have 2 words for you, foreign language, foreign language, foreign language (okay, thst was 6 words). Also, for international law, you generally need a pedigree...attned the best schools and spend some time doing work overseas (with NGO's and Government Organizations).
Use college to discover what you like, don't go into it with any preconceived ideas, Heck, i switched majors 3 times, Odds are you will find something you like and it will have nothing to do with law,
It is very early in the game for you, but we all have been in your shoes in the past, and you can benefit from our experience. If you have any interest in tax or bankruptcy law, a business degree in finance or accounting would be very useful. The way the Chapter 13 practice is going these days, you need a degree in business finance just to fill out the Chapter 13 plan form. There are many attorneys in the taxation area that also have CPA qualifications. If your interest is international law or international business, Mr. Burkus hit the nail on the head with foreign language study. A degree in international relations would be helpful there. Critical thinking and writing and communication skills are vital to law school acceptance and success. I had classmates that were political science and public administration majors, as well as English majors, and history majors. Business communications or a major in general business management can also be helpful. There are many international business law programs all over the country. UGA has an excellent program. An international lawyer is well versed in intergovernmental treaties and agreements, and negotiates and interprets agreements with attorneys working for different countries, and for multinational corporations.
My answers to questions posed on this site is no substitute for obtaining legal advice from competent local counsel.
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