For good cause, citizens of every nation on the globe are giving serious consideration to formal legal education in the United States. The most common motivation of foreign students who pursue a United States legal education is qualifying for indefinite bar association membership in some domestic location. Studying law in the United States can also give you a perspective on many positions that entail diplomatic international relations, by providing a great detail about inner workings of the world’s jurisprudential foundations. In addition, most jobs that require financial and policymaking duties require law degree graduates.
A four-year undergraduate or higher degree is the universal threshold eligibility requirement to enter American law schools. However, some will not accept foreign degrees, while others will. Thus, verifying that your degree satisfies basic admissions criteria of your desired institution is vital to avoid wasting valuable time and money on application fees.
Next standard hurdle to conquer is a standardized Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) administered by the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). Virtually every ABA-accredited and many non-accredited United States law schools require all applicants to submit LSAT scores directly via LSDAS.
Recommendation letters are also required across-the-board by law schools in the United States. At least three reference sources from any of the following - college professors, employers, business associates and community leaders such as pastors or civic organization executive administration - are preferred.
A standardized Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) is next standardized entry barrier to United States legal studies. TOEFL applies especially to applicants who reside where English is not their native tongue. That translates in practical terms to anywhere but the United Kingdom, Australia or Canada. A few law schools in the United States do waive TOEFL scores in a practical sense with ESL instruction for international students.
Finally, proof of sufficient funds for affected academic year(s) is mandatory if you plan to apply for an F-1 Student Visa.
Cost of Studying Law in United States
Like life in general, you get what you pay for when it comes to law degrees. However, price must never be sole determinant of where to apply. There is far more to the decision than meets the eye. First harsh reality is that institutional reputation has direct correlation with competition for admission. Not to mention equally relative attendance costs. Either or both external factors may self-exclude many American legal academies.
Another influence that can complicate matters is a much lower tuition rate at state-supported colleges than private colleagues. This even holds true for out-of-state residents who pay more but less tuition at public vs. private law schools in the United States. Yet another valid consideration is post-graduation plans. While an ABA-accredited legal education is sine qua non for professional success within the United States, it has virtually no such value abroad.
For aforesaid reasons, it is advisable to get an expert advice about applying for law school admission in the United States.