Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of the practice of law is learning to be a lawyer. Virtually every new lawyer today is a graduate of law school, a much dreaded, but fulfilling journey to practicing law. Modern law schools differ greatly from their earlier counterpart, in that many more requirements and responsibilities exist. In colonial times, students pursuing a career in law would enter institutions for instruction of the law, and would automatically become qualified to practice law in the courts after a few years of study. Today, however, becoming a lawyer takes much more training, rigorous work and effort, and many years of studying in order to take a bar exam of which passage represents qualification. There is much more consideration concerning who is admitted, what kind of curriculums are taught, how exams are offered, what kinds affiliation exist, how much law schools differ from one another, and what it ultimately takes to be fully competent as a practicing attorney.
What does it take to get into law school? Requirements for admission to any law school, whether Ivy League or otherwise, are extensive and seemingly difficult to obtain. Almost all law schools in the United States require a four-year college degree. Ivy League schools especially prefer college graduates from prestigious universities. Nonetheless, any law school will be more interested in applicants who rank in the top percentile of their class and present an outstanding grade-point average. Another major aspect considered of law school applicants is their score on the Law School Aptitude Test -- "a half-day standardized test designed to measure the ability to understand and reason with a variety of verbal and quantitative materials" (Neubauer, 125). The raw score of the LSAT is on a scale ranging from 120 to 180. The LSAT consists of five multiple-choice sections with a total of about 101 questions. These sections include logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, a writing sample, and an experimental section, which does not count toward the final score of the law school applicant. The writing sample is not scored either, but it is sent to every law school to which an aspiring law student applies. Law schools usually do not use it as a significant part of the admissions process.
Admission requirements of prestigious schools in the United States differ greatly with those of the less prominent. As written by the Dean of Admissions at Stanford Law School: "Admission to Stanford Law School is based primarily upon superior academic achievement and potential to contribute to the development and practice of the law. Competition is severe: the 178 members of the Class of 2002 were selected from among 4,000 applicants, and most were drawn from the upper 5 percent of their undergraduate class and the upper 5 percent of the LSAT pool. The class that entered in 1999 numbered 93 women and 85 men, over half of whom...