Thinking of getting into law school? Are you interested with the nitty-gritty rounds of clinical law studies and dealing with clients who can be temperamental?
Well before you embark on a law degree first you need to look for accredited law schools in your area so as to ensure quality education. A degree will make your life so much easier when you start your profession. If you have a degree, law companies can, without question, hire you on the spot because of the quality of your school.
But how do you identify accredited law schools? It’s simple. A school must pass the standards of the ABA or the American Bar Association. As of to date there are around 200 institutions which are ABA approved. 199 of these were conferred with the JD degree and the remaining one, the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School, offers a degree beyond having the first degree law. On record, there are forty schools however which are not accredited.
Here are some examples of ABA accredited law schools: The University of Alabama School of Law, New York University, Ave Maria School of Law, Boston College, Berkeley California, St. John’s University School of Law, The University of Tennessee College of Law, Florida State University College of Law and a host of others.
The Accreditation of Law Schools
It is not the United States government that accredits law schools. This power is turned over to the review commissions which define the standard and then guarantee that the colleges either exceed or meet them. Among these accreditation bodies are the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
On the other hand, colleges and universities which don’t meet the requirements may apply for individual accreditation. These accreditations are taken care of by boards which govern the training of future workers in the field.
The first step to being accredited is to ask for the accrediting standards of the written agency. The school then reviews these standards, recommends changes to the school, and then empowers the head of the school to initiate these changes in compliance with the written code. Once done, the school will have to do a careful self-evaluation for the final application process.
When it finally passes all the requirements, the school will receive temporary accreditation. The accredited law schools must undergo this process at intervals of five or ten years. The school must constantly change its curriculum and whatever needs adjusting to meet the accreditation requirements each time.
The Requirements of ABA
It is the job of the ABA to appraise and accredit law schools. Factors that will influence the ABA’s judgment include adequacy of financial resources, rating of the school’s curriculum, and the presence of infrastructures such as dormitories, law libraries, and classroom.
The ABA checks to see that a school ensures the safety of students and also gauges the quality and external recognition of the school.
Graduates of ABA accredited law schools are entitled to take their bar exam in any state. Graduates of non-accredited schools may only take their own state’s bar exam.