About the USA
The United States of America is located in the Northern hemisphere in North America, just south of Canada and north of the Mexican border. It is composed of 50 states: 48 contiguous states and also Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands.
The society of the USA is as diverse as the country itself. There is no caste system though some might argue that point, given the current economy. There are many entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals who have made their own fortune, and there are factory workers making minimum wage. The USA is a great country with many freedoms for those who choose to make it their place to study or to live. Studying in the USA offers many exciting opportunities.
High on the list of the U.S.'s attributes is its extraordinary higher education system, which makes it a highly coveted destination for international students, including those seeking law degrees.
The U.S. Legal System
The U.S. legal system comprises an interconnected system of checks and balances, featuring judicial, regulatory and governmental authorities. Together, these entities administer and enforce the country’s laws across federal, state and local levels. The U.S. Constitution bestows specific powers upon its federal government which has jurisdiction over certain cases -- such as those involving federal laws, foreign governments and conflicts between states. Beyond that, each state has its own governing entities.
Every party has the right to a trial by jury consisting of 12 citizens who evaluate the evidences and reach a verdict. Most legal cases in the U.S. are resolved before reaching trial via legal motion or settlement before reaching trial. Lawyers are an essential part of the U.S. legal system and are responsible for advocating on behalf of their clients. They are licensed by the state in which they practice.
Study Law in the USA
Law Degrees in the U.S.
Most U.S. states require applicants to hold a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an accredited law school. This three-year course of study follows the completion of four years of undergraduate study in any subject. This system differs significantly from many other countries where students immediately enter law school after completing secondary school; considered a professional academic field, the J.D. is equal to a graduate degree.
While less common, some schools also offer a year-long Master of Law (LLM) which offers opportunities for specialization, as well as the prestigious academic doctoral degree in law of Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD).
Before being allows to practice law, most students are required by the state in which they practice to pass a bar exam and demonstrate character standards. Because states administer the bar, it can be helpful to attend law school in the region where you plan to practice.
Law Higher Education in the U.S.
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), there are a total of 202 ABA-approved law schools in the U.S. The first year of the Juris Doctor typically focuses on basic law topics, while the latter years can be customized to suit student interests. While many lawyers informally specialize, there is no legal distinction between types of practice. One hallmark of law school training in the U.S. is the use of the Socratic Method, in which students are directly called on to answer questions instead of basic lectures.
Tuition vary depending on the school you attend, with the average private school tuition totaling just over $40,000 according to U.S. News and World Report. Once again, the fees may vary from one institution to the other. The schedule following the standard U.S. academic calendar for higher education from September through May.
While getting into law school in the U.S. is intensely competitive, international students are increasingly in demand. Jobs in law are generally considered to be both lucrative and rewarding. Additionally, research indicates that lawyer employment over the past decade has outpaced most other occupations. A large number of law graduates choose not to work as lawyers, instead seeking out careers in business, government and other industries.
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