Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Back to (Law) School

Ohio students at all levels will be heading back to their classrooms this month, and law students are no exception. 

Some people may like to know what it takes to become a lawyer in our state.  First, of course, a person needs to have a high school diploma, and then a college bachelor’s degree before being eligible to enter law school.  But unlike doctors who might have to take pre-med studies in college, “pre-law” courses are not required.  Instead, before being accepted into law school, applicants must take the Law School Aptitude Test, known as the LSAT. A good score and good undergraduate grades make it more likely that a law school will accept someone.
Ohio has nine law schools and soon deans and professors will tell their incoming 2013 class members what to expect.  At most law schools, students will complete the program in at least three years of full-time study.  Upon graduation they receive a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. But that isn’t the end of their studies.
The final hurdle to practice as an attorney is a three-day bar exam administered twice a year in Columbus by the Ohio Supreme Court.  This year, on July 30, 31, and August 1, more than 1,000 aspiring lawyers took the exam.  Now they are waiting for the results and will find out on October 25 if they have passed the bar.  Then, assuming all the other requirements are met, they will be sworn in as attorneys-at-law in the state of Ohio during a special session of our court. 
And active lawyers continue their studies afterwards.  To keep their licenses, they must complete 20 hours of continuing legal education every two years to keep up-to-date in legal practice. 
So you see that the study that law school begins never really ends.  The requirement for life-long learning is just one of the reasons law is a profession.

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