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新手入门帖:选择法学院的基本原则

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这是ABA书籍上关于法学院选择的基本原则推荐给刚刚开始申请之路的同学看看。

The value of a postgraduate law degree depends to a great extent on the reputation of the university awarding it. An LL.M. from a prestigious law school can enhance career opportunities. One way to assess the quality of postgraduate programs is to consult the various law school rankings. However, a law school’s ranking may not reflect the quality of its LL.M. program, since usually only the regular courses leading to the traditional graduate law degree are taken into account. In many cases students may be well-advised to apply to a law school that may not rank among the highest, but offers an LL.M. in a special field of law, or is known for its high-quality lecturers and instruction. Another factor to consider is the affiliations of a law school, which may provide useful contacts and job prospects upon completion of the degree.

Students planning to study in the U.S. should make sure that the university they want to apply to is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). This is particularly important for students who intend to earn their degree through distance-learning. Please note that the ABA's approval of a law school extends only to the first professional degree in law (J.D.) offered.

For further information on the quality of law schools, or on the validity of a certain degree, contact your local bar association and your local higher education authorities. In addition, you may want to consult one of the books listed below?

美国LLM可以转JD的学校(TOP14中以下学校可以转JD)

Columbia

Chicago 需要LSAT成绩

U. Penn

Duke

Cornell

Virginia是否可以转不清楚 听说以前似乎也有过成功的例子

关于法律留学的基本术语(A short list of frequently used acronyms and terms relevant to LLMs.)

ABA – The American Bar Association, a bar association of lawyers based in Washington D.C., which sets widely adopted standards for legal education and professional legal practice in the United States. This organization also provides perhaps the most influential accreditation for law schools nationwide.

ETS – Educational Testing Service, a US-based non-profit organization widely known for producing standardized exams such as the TOEFL, which is a common requirement for non-native English-speaking applicants to law schools in the United States and abroad.

FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form submitted by students of US universities who are seeking financial aid from the US government. The FAFSA form is designed to ascertain a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), a figure that determines which need-based government grants and subsidized loans a student can apply for.

JD – Abbreviation for the Latin term Juris Doctor, used in the United States to refer to professional law degree that the vast majority of LL.M students acquire before embarking on their LL.M. degree. Although it is mostly considered to be a postgraduate degree -- completed after undergraduate studies -- it is not actually a doctorate degree as the name might suggest.

Joint Degree / Dual Degree Program - Refers to programs offered by some universities in which students can pursue two degrees simultaneously. Common dual degree programmes include those leading to a combined J.D. / LL.M., or a joint Master’s degree program, such as a combined LL.M. / MBA.

LLB – Refers to Bachelor of Laws, the term used throughout much of the English-speaking world (though not the United States, where the term Juris Doctor is broadly used) to refer to the academic degree leading to professional practice in law. The LL.B is most often a three-year degree pursued after the completion of an undergraduate / bachelor’s degree. Possession of an LL.B. or J.D. degree is a requirement for candidacy for the bar association or law society, and often for participation in an LL.M. program.

LSAC – The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) is a US-based non-profit organization whose membership includes over 200 US and Canadian law schools. The LSAC administers the LSAT exam. It also operates the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS).

LSDAS – The Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) is operated by the LSAC. The LSDAS collects application material (including test scores, undergraduate transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation) from law school applicants. The LSAC then compiles this information into reports, which it sends directly to law schools on behalf of the applicant. Some law schools in the United States require that applicants use this paid service. The LSAC also provides an LL.M. Credential Assembly Service for international students intending to apply for LL.M. programs in the United States.

LSAT – Otherwise known as the Law School Admissions Test, the LSAT is a standarized exam the results of which are required for admission into most law schools in North America. LSAT results are currently only required from applicants to J.D. programs, and generally not from applicants to LL.M. programs who have already completed their first law degree.

一、美国的法律教育制度

从实践和学术不同的角度出发,目前法学院将法律学位教育分为法律学位和法学学位。这种区分是有一个历史演变过程。美国是法律发达的国家,对法律教育身份重视,认为法律教育是一个很严肃的事情。所以,法律教育的门槛提得很高。目前,美国的的本科教育里没有法律专业。相应的只有一个法学院前教育,没有法律学位,专门为那些有志于读法学院的学生开设。最基本的法律学位是JD。JD是美国人自己发明的词汇。有些人把它翻译成法学博士是错误的。它的前身是LLB,也就是法律本科。目前,他最多相当于我们的法律第二学士学位(注意:它和国内本科生在读期间同时修的法学双学位不同。不同的地方在于它要求两年专门的法律学习)。虽然JD只是一种本科教育,但是它在美国的法律教育中的地位举足轻重。在美国人的眼里,他就相当于商科里的MBA。它是进入法律行业,从事法律职业必需的基本条件。没有这个学位将无法参加律师考试。由于采用严近严出的教育原则,美国JD的教育卓有成效。由于它被视作一种职业教育,所以它不仅招收本科生背景的申请人,也招收硕士博士背景的申请人,因此,它成为许多人的最终学位。一个JD学位足以让一个人有资格在大学里任教。许多法学院的教授就只有JD学位。在实务界,JD学位更是必备的敲门砖。绝大多数美国律师,从而法官都是JD学位的拥有者。他们有过共同的经历和相似的背景,彼此认同度很高,非JD背景的人很难进入他们的圈子,更谈不上在法律界取得成功了。

美国仍然设有法学的学位。常见的有LLM (法学硕士)和JSD(法律科学博士)。LLM学位是为有兴趣进行法学研究的人准备的。一般作为读JSD的预备学位。它的另外的作用是提供给外国的法学毕业生或律师,让他们了解美国法律制度。所以,美国人很少有人读LLM。相反,倒是很多国际学生在读该学位。在实务上,美国现在有一些州开始允许有LLM学位的人参加律考,从事律师职业,但是在实务界只有LLM背景得人仍然很难混。JSD是真正意义的法学博士。这是一个专门为有兴趣搞法律研究的法律精英们准备的学位。在读的JSD学生们很多人都是法律界的成功人士。

二、申请条件

1、大学本科毕业,成绩突出或者有特别专长;

2、在LSAT考试中取得优良成绩;

3、有有力的推荐人。

三、申请程序

具备本科学历的人,不论本科所学的专业是什么,也不论本科毕业后是否从事过法律工作,都可以申请JD学位。申请JD的程序与申请一般美国大学研究生院的学位类似,即填写申请表、递交成绩单(成绩单和推荐信不直接寄往法学院,而是通过美国国内的LSAC( Law School Admission Council,即法学院招生委员会)转寄给法学院)、邮寄推荐信和交纳申请费,并参加LSAT(法学院入学考试)考试。

四、必备材料

申请JD者必须准备LSAT成绩、GPA、简历、Personal Statement、推荐信五样东西。其中重要性以LSAT为最,GPA次之,其它三者应该差不多。

五、考虑因素

法学院一般会综合考虑申请人的本科(或本科以上)成绩、LSAT成绩以及在申请表中所提供的其它信息,比如工作经验以及社会经历等,做出是否录取的决定。

六、 入学考试

所有申请JD学位的人必须参加法学院由LSAC举办的LSAT(入学考试)考试。法学院入学考试在北京大学设有考点,每年6月和12月考试。入学考试的具体情况可以在www.lsac.org上查询。现场考试时间为3小时,试题由选择题和作文题组成,内容包括阅读理解、逻辑推理及分析推理3个方面的内容,重点考查考生的逻辑思维能力。考题分为4个部分,每部分考试时间为35分钟,另加30分钟写作,写作成绩不计入总分,但将随成绩单寄往考生所申请的学校。

七、入学材料

1、大学毕业证、学位证复印件

2、大学以上学习成绩单

3、推荐信

4、申请表

5、PS,有时还有Essay

6、LAST成绩

7、TOEFL成绩

每个法学院有自己的申请表,申请人可以通过邮件向法学院索取或者在其网站上下载,各法学院的申请表差别不大。申请表除了询问申请人的基本信息,如年龄、性别、简历之外,最重要的就是要求申请人写一篇申请文章(Personal Statement)。通常申请人必须在这篇文章中评价自己,并解释自己为什么要上法学院,篇幅通常不能超过两页。也就是说,申请人得将自己的人生经历浓缩到两页纸中,绝非易事。 成绩单和推荐信 法学院申请表通常会要求申请人提供大学成绩单和一两封推荐信。如果申请人拥有大学以上学历,还要提供与该学历相关的成绩单。大多数法学院要求通过LSAC邮寄成绩单和推荐信,这也是LSAC除举办法学院入学考试外,所提供的另外一项服务。 此外,有些法学院要求未经鉴定的本科学位必须经过指定的国际教育机构进行鉴定。世界教育服务机构(WES)就是这样一个机构,其网址为www.wes.org

八、时间安排

关于申请时间的安排,以打算2006秋季入学为例,一个理想的安排是这样的:2005年夏季(或以前)取得LSAT成绩,2005年暑假:选校,联系推荐人,准备申请材料。2005年9月,申请成绩单。2005年10-11月完成申请。当然,这只是理想状态,并不见得那么容易完成。

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