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Today, more than ever before, the legal profession offers a unique opportunity for the dedicated individual to make a significant contribution to society. Opportunities exist in the legal profession for rewarding service to individuals and society.
WHAT IS LAW?
The main functions of modern law include: maintaining peace; influencing and enforcing standards of conduct; maintaining the status quo; facilitating orderly change; providing for maximum individual self-assertion; promoting justice; and providing solutions to conflicts and problems.
THE LAWYER'S ROLE
The lawyer in our society holds a twofold responsibility, working as both a public servant and an officer of the court. The lawyer's function is to provide legal assistance in resolving conflicts and ensuring justice.
As a public servant, the lawyer is a counselor and advisor to his or her clients, to put their legal affairs into workable order.
As an officer of the court, the lawyer is charged with the responsibility of upholding and working within the framework of American law, which is based on the Constitution and written legislation.
AREAS OF LAW
More than half of all lawyers go into private practice. Private practitioners usually handle a variety of cases, although they often earn a reputation for concentrating in one or more particular areas. This reputation leads to client referrals.
Many lawyers are employed by departments and agencies of federal, state, and municipal governments. Many work for private businesses, large corporations, or industrial firms. Some lawyers become judges, politicians, or teachers. Others apply their legal education in areas such as banking, insurance, and real estate, where legal procedures may be a part of the job activities.
Because the profession of law is so diverse and complicated, law school provides a general legal background, after which there are many options as to the specific concentration of law to be pursued.
The lawyer's role most familiar to the public is that of a trial lawyer. However, many men and women who practice law seldom appear in the courtroom. Many lawyers never plead before a jury or a presiding judge. A trial is costly and time-consuming and it usually benefits both parties to settle out of court.
Since most lawyers are not involved with trial practice, activities of those in the legal profession vary according to the individual lawyer's personality and area of practice. A lawyer may spend one day in conference listening to a client's problem. The next day may be spent in the library or at a computer terminal doing research to find prevailing laws and decisions affecting that problem. A lawyer may spend the morning in the court and the afternoon visiting the scene of a client's accident. But almost every lawyer spends hours researching and writing legal arguments, reports, or documents.
PRE-LAW AND LAW SCHOOL EDUCATION
It is of utmost importance that you take the high school courses required for admission to the college you wish to attend.
No law school requires a formal pre-law course of study for admission. While no specific courses are required, it is agreed that a strong liberal arts background is beneficial. Specific useful subjects include English, political science, economics, philosophy, logic, business management and other courses that enhance your reading, reasoning and writing abilities. Language is the tool of the lawyer whether it is oral argument in court, letters, legal briefs, or drafting pleadings. Therefore, any course that develops this skill is valuable.
Law school costs vary greatly, from the modest tuition of state-supported schools to the much higher tuition of the prestigious national law schools. On top of tuition costs, you must add the cost of books, room and board. Many law schools and other legal organizations provide scholarships for outstanding students and also sponsor student loan programs.
Students at the state's American Bar Association accredited law schools can receive financial aid under a modest program for minority law students and under a program for students who participate in public service activities.
There are 175 American Bar Association-accredited law schools in the United States.
THE BOARD OF BAR EXAMINERS
The Board of Bar Examiners is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court. The Board consists of twelve members of The Bar Association and three nonlawyer members of the general public. In making a determination as to your character and fitness to be
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Legal professions, United States law, Practice of law, Admission to practice law, Law school in the United States, Lawyer, Bar examination, Bar, Legal education, Law school, Legal profession in Cuba, American Bar Association
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