Choosing Your A-level Subjects

The Student Lawyer has other articles to assist with making your A-level subject choice. This article will address the specific instance where you are certain you want to study a Law degree but don’t know what A-levels to take. 1. Take 4 first year options.

This almost goes without saying. Still, having spoken to many peers, I think this was an significant point that I couldn’t afford to skip over. In your first year (formerly known as the AS year) when starting sixth form you should choose four subjects (or more, depending on your capacity and school). This is important because most traditional universities for Law in the UK and beyond will consider your subject choices and grades when you apply in the upper sixth year (second year of A-levels). Having fewer than four subjects at this point will immediately put you at a disadvantage. It is of course possible to drop one of the four subjects in second year if the workload gets too intense. Three good A-level grades are more convincing than four average ones. 2. Core/Facilitating Subjects

A more important point I’d like to bring home is that these should be “traditional” or “core” subjects. Sixth form is a time for deciding on a degree, so A-levels are ultimately just a means to an end. Traditional universities, particularly Oxbridge, much prefer students who have studied tried and tested subjects and scored well. As the Law degree does not have specific subject requirements, students are often free to choose from quite a wide range of subjects, typically English Literature, History, Languages (Classical and Modern), Geography, Chemistry, Biology, Economics, Physics and surprisingly even Mathematics and Further Mathematics.

Note, Law or Business Law at A-levels are not considered “core” subjects. The law you will learn in that course differs greatly from the Law degree so it may even be detrimental to your application. 3. Play to your strengths; not forgetting your interests

Many teachers will advise you to choose subjects you have typically done well in. Most students will know by this stage which ones are their strengths and […]

How to Spot the Red Flags in Lower-Ranked Law Schools

There are currently 203 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association, meaning if all that matters to you is getting a J.D. and sitting for the bar exam, there are plenty of options for you to choose from.

With that said, some educational investments are better than others. Going to a top-20 ranked school with the goal of landing a Big Law position is a no-brainer, but what if your grades and test scores could realistically only get you into a lower-ranked school?

You would obviously need to conduct thorough research, but there are some red flags to look out for when considering your law school options.

Beware of unaccredited law schools. Most states only allow alumni of ABA-accredited law schools to sit for the bar exam. Some states – California first and foremost – will allow graduates from unaccredited law schools to take the exam, but the pass rate is discouraging.

California is already notorious for its low bar exam pass rate – only 19.5 percent of alumni of unaccredited schools passed the July 2017 exam, and 48.9 percent of all takers.

Obviously, there are other factors in play; for example, landing in an unaccredited school suggests that the student doesn’t excel in standardized testing, which affects that student’s chances of passing the bar exam. Nevertheless, it’s safe to assume that the level of teaching in such schools has some bearing on the bar pass rate.

Even assuming one passes the bar, securing employment can prove to be an uphill battle. The legal field is extremely competitive, doubly so in states allowing unaccredited schools, simply because more schools means more lawyers.

Law firms of all sizes certainly care about your performance in school, but ranking at the top of your class in a lesser-known school still won’t be as impressive as being in the top 10 percent of an accredited, more selective school.

Watch for declining admissions standards. If you’re applying to law school now, that means you likely won’t have your degree in hand before 2022. Therefore, you should care not only where the school is now, but also where it’s headed.While […]

Learning while leading at Harvard Law Review

Campus & Community

Learning while leading at Harvard Law Review

Michael Thomas Jr. is the third African-American man elected president of the Harvard Law Review. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer On a March evening, Michael Thomas Jr. gave a special tour of Gannett House to his dad and two brothers, who were visiting to see the place where Barack Obama, J.D. ’91, first made national headlines.

In 1990, Obama became the first black leader of the Harvard Law Review , which was founded in 1887 and is based at Gannett House. Thomas’ relatives delighted in seeing traces of Obama in the building, including a group photo of editors with the future president in the center.

But they were also there to celebrate Thomas, who had recently become the third African-American man to be elected president of the esteemed legal journal.

“My family didn’t understand the significance of it, at first,” Thomas said in an interview. “I don’t have lawyers in my family. When I told them that Obama had been president of the Law Review, they were very happy for me.”

Born in the Caribbean state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., by working-class parents, Thomas, J.D. ’19, is the fourth African-American to head the Review. The second was David Panton, J.D. ’95, who was born and raised in Jamaica. The third was Imelme Umana, J.D. ’18, the first black woman to hold the position. African-Americans account for roughly 5 percent of the more than 1,700 students currently enrolled at Harvard Law School (HLS).

Edited and managed by students, the Review publishes cutting-edge legal articles written by professors, judges, and practitioners, and serves as both a research tool for attorneys and a means for student-editors to sharpen their research and writing skills. Among the publication’s alumni are Supreme Court justices, attorneys general, cabinet secretaries, and government officials.

Students apply to become editors of the Law Review at the end of their first year at HLS and are chosen through a combination of grades and scores in a writing competition. Every year, 92 student-editors elect their president.Thomas views his post mainly […]

What Classes Should I Take?

This week marks the final week of classes for the Fall semester at Vanderbilt Law. While students are currently toiling away outlining and preparing for exams, the end of the semester often makes me think of the new slate of classes ahead. Whether it was in college, graduate school, or law school, I always thoroughly enjoyed clicking through a course catalog and seeing the range of subjects that I could tackle. “You mean there’s one course on Russian history up to 1801 and then a whole separate course on Russian history since 1801?” While law school may not provide students the opportunity to jump between courses in economics, gender studies, and astronomy the same way one can in college, there are still scores of interesting classes, each of which provides an insight into a particular aspect of the law.

As I have mentioned before in this space, when working with students over the course of three years, I am often asked questions that go beyond basic matters of résumé format or cover letter content. One of the more frequent inquiries after the completion of 1L is “what classes should I take?”

There are two primary schools of thought when it comes to this question, with some overlap. The first is that students should take as many “core” classes as can fit into their schedules. These are the classes a non-lawyer would think of when conjuring up an image of the law school curriculum, e.g., Corporations, Tax, Evidence, Wills & Trusts, etc. Perhaps more importantly, these are also the subjects likely to be on the bar examination. The other line of thinking is that students should take what interests them. At the end of the day, it is their money — or really, all of our tax dollars doled out to students via a student loan system that is overwhelmingly federal . . . at least for now — so why sit through classes focusing on areas of the law which hold little interest to you, especially in a world where bar preparation courses exist?

On which side of this divide do I […]

Law schools advance in technology

The evidence pops up on a screen in front of the jury. Meeting with a lawyer is done via video conference. And court documents that used to be stored in boxes are on a flashdrive.

Technology advances in the practice of law are rapidly changing, and Long Island colleges and universities are adjusting their programs to prepare the more than 1,300 law students Islandwide.

Hofstra University has a high-tech mock courtroom and provides its students iPads on which they keep their legal arguments, evidence and other court documents. Students at the Touro Law Center are learning how to use artificial intelligence for electronic discovery, creating algorithms to sort digital data. Gabriella Malfi, 28, of Great Neck, a third-year law student, uses an iPad and screens in a mock courtroom to give arguments at Hofstra University on Nov. 19 in Hempstead. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp “Technology is revolutionizing and changing the practice of law each and every day,” said Judge Gail Prudenti, dean of Hofstra’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law and executive director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law. “Firms are using technology more and more to become more efficient to save time and to save costs.”

Technology also is “helping to expand greatly access to legal services for those who cannot afford it — both those of modest means, as well as those who live below the poverty line,” Prudenti said.

Hofstra in early October offered its first one-day legal tech boot camp for students, discussing the role of technology in law and the skills needed in the workplace. The event touched on e-discovery, e-filing, e-billing, cybersecurity, e-research and the use of artificial intelligence and how it’s improving legal services.

The Hempstead-based, 853-student law school plans to offer the boot camp again next year and hopes to open it to the community, including law professionals. Get the Breaking News newsletter!

Get the latest breaking news as it happens. By clicking Sign up, you agree to our privacy policy . “What we’re trying to do is give our students an opportunity to explore not just where the practice of law is […]

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