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Important Things You Need to Know About Applying for Law Schools in the U.S.

Our speakers are Mr. Dan Chatham, Director of Admissions at UC, San Diego's Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, Ms. Ellen Wang, the student adivsor from Fulbright, Taiwan and Mr. Clarence Fu, the student adivsor from Fulbright, Taiwan.

Important Things You Need to Know About Applying for Law Schools in the U.S.
Wednesday, December 07 2005 (2:00 PM - 3:30 PM)

Please note: Portions of this transcript have been edited for clarity

Host: (Dan Chatham)

My name is Dan Chatham, Director of Admissions at UC, San Diego's Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. Our program is a two-year masters in International Affairs, though UCSD also has strong engineering and social science programs. I'll be glad to answer your questions about graduate studies in the US.

 

Host: (Ellen Wang)

hi, my name is Ellen Wang, the student advisor from Fulbright, Taiwan. I have been in this education field for two more years. Hope I can help more students via this chat room. Nice to meet you all.

 

Host: (Clarence Fu):

大家好,我是學術交流基金會留學顧問傅鏡平,歡迎大家


Start of Chat


 

Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
本人目前就讀的是科技法律研究所碩士班,但並非法律系畢業(本人之前是理工背景),不知可否僅以科技法律研究所的畢業文憑去申請美國的法律碩士課程?(本人是以同等學歷的資格考上科技法律研究所,之前為台北工專五專部畢業,故沒有所謂的大學文憑)
A
沒問題,美國的法律課程非常歡迎各種不同背景的同學來申請.申請時直接以科技法律研究所的成績申請即可. (2005-12-07 14:05)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
我有兩個大學文憑,前者非法律學位,後來插班大二念法律系,取得法律學位.申請LLM時,可否只用法律學位及成績申請?
A
Yes, you can. (2005-12-07 14:04)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
My GPA in college was not good. What can I do to make it up if I want to attend one of top 25 law schools?
A
Well, high TOEFL score, say higher than 250, and work experience would more helpful to make up for the weakness of your school GPA. (2005-12-07 14:08)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
I was wondering if I’d like to apply to one of the top law schools such as Harvard, what would my minimum LSAT scores need to be
A
Since application to Harvard is very competitive, you must have a very top score to be considered, however, LSAT is not the only criteria. You can check on Harvard’s website to look for minimum LSAT required but an average LSAT would be more accurate reference. (2005-12-07 14:11)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
do I have to have any background such as courses like US government before going to study JD program?
A
No, you don't have to. (2005-12-07 14:10)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
Who would be like to apply for LLM program?
A
An international law student or a young legal professional who is looking to get an international stamp of approval on ones CV in the competitive global law market. U.S. LLM program offers practical and theoretical knowledge of US and international law, while developing expertise in a specialized field of law such as Intellectual Property and Technology Law or Tax. (2005-12-07 14:14)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
if I want to work in China or Taiwan, would you recommend getting a law degree first in China or Taiwan then getting an LLM in the states or go straight for a JD, I have an undergrad degree in Chinese
A
No, you cannot go straight for a JD. Most US law schools do not accept international students from different education systems to apply for JD. I strongly suggest you go straightly for LLM in US. (2005-12-07 14:15)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
Type of LLM program:
A
LLM programs in the US come in all shapes and sizes, but mainly can be divided into two general types: the specialized .LLM and the general LLM. The specialized LLM covers areas such as bankruptcy law, business law, dispute resolution, health law, international and comparative law, maritime law, real estate law and taxation. (2005-12-07 14:16)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
Could people who have the qualification to enter bar exam and get license finish legal education in UK ?
A
Yes, you can. (2005-12-07 14:17)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
most of the US law schools require TOEFL score higher than 250, but if mine is only about 237, is there any possibility to attend high-ranking law school?
A
Yes, I should think so. (2005-12-07 14:20)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
but will it be helpful to get accustomed to courses in JD? cuz I have little understanding about the legal system in US?
A
Certainly, it should be much helpful. (2005-12-07 14:21)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
我大學學法律,研究所唸保險與行政,可是我還不確定將來想唸公法還是商事法,所以這在我申請學校上會不會成為一項阻礙呢?我是不是一定得在申請LLM時就很明確的跟學校提出我想唸的領域呢?
A
因為LLM課程只有一年,會建議你先考慮好要唸的方向,而且在提出申請時先點明會有助於申請. (2005-12-07 14:23)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
還有一個問題是,我知道有些學校PREFER收有律師資格的學生,我的工作經驗都是在政府的行政機關,請問這對我申請TOP25的學校有利嗎?
A
Work experiences are always helpful, but I must say, related work experiences carry more weight (2005-12-07 14:25)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
請問條件式入學是學校主動提供還是要自己詢問學校呢??
A
通常學校如果有條件式入學的政策,它會在標明托福門檻的頁面說明,這樣你就知道學校的作法.要不然,主動問學校也行. (2005-12-07 14:26)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
is there any conditional admission in JD program?
A
Well, Iannot tell for certain, because I did not go through all the entrance requirements for law schools. But to my best of knowledge, I have not heard of any such cases. (2005-12-07 14:28)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
The rule for bar?
A
As a general rule, the LLM diploma does not prepare you to pass the local state bar. You would need to research in advance to know the requirements to pass the bar in the foreign jurisdiction you seek to practice in. (2005-12-07 14:28)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
what's an impressive SOP when to top 25 law schools?
A
The general criteria for an impressive SOP is, I should say, your SOP can convince the admission committee you are student of diversity full of potential to make achievement academically. SOP is the only thing that gives you opportunity to tell the admission committee members all the strengths and deeds you possess or you have done. There is a lot more to say. Please go to find a SOP reference book. It would help you to write a better SOP. (2005-12-07 14:36)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
Test required for applying LLM program?
A
Unlike the JD degree, the only required test for the majority of LLM programs is the test of Standard English (TOEFL). (2005-12-07 14:30)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
Admission qualifications for LLM program?
A
Admissions competition for American LLM programs is intense and admissions are primarily decided by a combination of a student’s university grades, personality, and letters of recommendation and probability of future career placement in his or her home country. (2005-12-07 14:31)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
you just said that it’s hard for those law school to apply JD, but I want to study about US law and I major in business in my university. So what should I do?
A
You should apply LLM first rather than JD program. (2005-12-07 14:35)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
what's the difference between the legal education in US and UK?
A
Legal education starts from undergraduate in UK while the legal education starts in graduate school after getting a bachelor degree. Here in Taiwan, legal education just like it is in UK starts from the freshman year in university. But university education runs for 3 years in UK while here in Taiwan runs for 4 years. (2005-12-07 14:41)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
How are U.S. LLM class taugh
A
Compared to international legal programs, American law schools rely on class participation instead of the classic method used in civil law education. American law schools use the "case method" -- studying casebooks containing actual court decisions to derive legal rules. The American system is much different from that of the French. Students are assigned readings ahead of class so there is an interactive discussion between students and professors. In the beginning, the adaptation to the new system of studies was not easy.” (2005-12-07 14:37)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
What is the accreditation agency for law school in the U.S.?
A
American Bar Association. The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is the United States Department of Education recognized accrediting agency for programs that lead to the first professional degree in law. The law school approval process established by the Council is designed to provide a careful and comprehensive evaluation of a law school and its compliance with the Standards for Approval of Law Schools. (2005-12-07 14:38)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
How should I prepare for the LSAT?
A
Allow several months for preparation. The best preparation for the test is a solid undergraduate education with an emphasis on reading and reasoning skills, linked to familiarity with the essentials of the test. The most widely accessible and least expensive form of preparation is the material comprised of actual, disclosed test questions and test forms that has been published in the LSAT/LSDAS Registration and Information Book, available at www.lsac.org. (2005-12-07 14:39)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
Skills needed for students who are interested in law profession?
A
Core Skills and Values: * Analytic / Problem Solving Skills * Critical Reading * Writing Skills * Oral Communication / Listening Abilities * General Research Skills * Task Organization / Management Skills * Public Service and Promotion of Justice (2005-12-07 14:40)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
hi, may I know does anyone have idea about Fordham University and its law school in NY? If yes, would you please share your valuable insights of application to the school, e.g. which professor may be in charge of choosing international student? Many thanks.
A
Please come to AIEF for detail application advise or you can check with it's department. Otherwise, you can check with current students. (2005-12-07 14:44)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
要申請2006秋季,若一月直接去學校找教授談,會比較好申請嗎???
A
No, I don’t think so. (2005-12-07 14:44)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
LLM托福都要250,若是未達到,是一定代表無法申請到嗎???若是要申請2006秋季LLM如果文件由美國當地寄出,會比較好嗎??另外,托福成績由由托福成績由LSAC寄出會比較有優勢嗎???
A
It depends. If the law school requires 250 on TOEFL, Well, you cannot apply if your score is far below 250. It "required" and "recommended" are different. If the school "recommends" a score of 250 on TOEFL, you may apply if your score is near to 150, say 243. I don’t think it would be helpful if you send your application documents in US. On the contrary, it would be not convenient to apply in US because some documents are sent from Taiwan. Such as school transcripts or letters of recommendation. (2005-12-07 14:52)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
even if my major is business can I still apply for LLM??
A
Yes, LLM programs welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds. (2005-12-07 14:47)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
各校的Law school專長是否都不一樣?讀書計畫是否應針對各校的特性或師資為個別的修改?
A
每個學校的LLM各有專長及特色, 最好先多參考幾所學校的program 後再選擇一個最適合自已目標的課程. 至於讀書計劃的內容,的確是需要針對各校的特性來修改, 師資的話,比較無所謂. (2005-12-07 14:51)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
研究所gpa大概要多高才能申請
A
一般都要有3.0以上, 也有少數是可以接受2.60以上. (2005-12-07 14:52)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
讀一年LLM的花費大概多少錢阿(最高跟最低ㄉ比較)
A
It could be more than US$45000 or as low as US$25000 (2005-12-07 14:55)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
Are there any schools providing a LLM/MBA dual degree program? How long does it take? How high is the possibility to take a job or internship in an US law firm after LLM?
A
There are some business schools offering JD/MBA dual-degree programs. But I did not see any law schools offering such dual-degree programs. Opportunity for getting an intership for LLM students are not bad. Law firms recruit interns regularly. (2005-12-07 15:02)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
TOEFL成績若未達其要求的分數,還有機會? 可否直接以舊制的TOEFL(CBT) 成績申請後年(2007)的Law school?
A
學校要求托福成績必須是在2年期效之內,不論CBT或IBT. 如果你的托福成績不高,可考慮有條件式入學政策的學校. (2005-12-07 14:59)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
Do you think taking a prepcourse such as the princeton reiview would help with the lsat score?
A
I recommend that you prepare for the LSAT Test because it is expensive and you want to do well. (2005-12-07 14:22)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
Law school申請流程?
A
一般需要的文件包括申請書,托福成績,讀書計畫,推薦信,有些學校會要額外的論文.因為每個學校多少會有些不同的需求,所以還是要上申請學校的網頁詳細了解. (2005-12-07 15:05)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
And my Q3 is: what is considered an impressive SOP in applying for JD?
A
The general criteria for an impressive SOP is, I should say, your SOP can convince the admission committee you are student of diversity full of potential to make achievement academically. SOP is the only thing that gives you opportunity to tell the admission committee members all the strengths and deeds you possess or you have done. There is a lot more to say. Please go to find a SOP reference book. It would help you to write a better SOP. (2005-12-07 14:37)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
Where can I find the source of the funds and grants for LLM?
A
Generally speaking, law, business, mass communication, education.. students are difficult to find financial aid comparing with engineering, computer science or life sciences students. (2005-12-07 15:07)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
去美國讀LLM要考哪些東西?
A
大部份學校只需要考托福.或許有少數學校會要求LSAT. 但是JD就必須要考LSAT. (2005-12-07 15:08)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
是不是要把LLM唸完後再繼續唸完JD才能考美國的律師嗎
A
You can take bar exam with LLM in New York, but not in California. You have to see where and what state you want to take bar exam. Regulations are varied from state to state in US. (2005-12-07 15:10)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
聽說其實LLM一年讀不完,是否這為常態?通常外國學生讀完LLM會繼續考BAR嗎?外國學生考BAR機會高
A
If you are qualified, you are allowed to take bar exam no matter whether you are US citizen or not. All are equal. (2005-12-07 15:15)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
托福成績由托福成績由LSAC寄出(而非由ETS)會比較有優勢嗎???
A
一般學校要求托福成績要由ETS發出. (2005-12-07 15:16)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
何謂LSAT,去美國讀LLM是不是跟TOFEL一樣一定要考?
A
LSAT is the abbreviation of Law School Admission Test. It is required if you apply for JD, NOT for LLM. LSAT is not required for LLM candidates. (2005-12-07 15:21)
 
Host: (Moon Chen)
Q
那JD跟LLM到底差在哪裡?
A
JD is Jurisprudence Doctor while LLM is Master of Laws. Generally speaking, it takes 3 years to complete a JD while it takes mostly 1 year to complete LLM. (2005-12-07 15:24)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
怎樣的推薦信,比如說由誰寫,寫的內容,會最有推薦的力量呢?我指的是JD
A
推薦人必須是與你在學的老師或工作的直屬上司而且是熟悉你的人. 內容包括你在課業或工作上的表現及特質或長處為主. 有些同學誤解以為頭銜高會最好, 但其實不然. (2005-12-07 15:23)
 
Host: (Alice Chow)
Q
Hi moon and Alice, Thanks for your time. My question is that I scored 243 on TOEFL in Oct. Would that be fine this grades to apply school requiring candidates exceeding 250? A general answer would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
A
不一定, 有些學校對托福的門檻很嚴格, 有些學校則較有彈性. 如果你的目標學校門檻皆在250, 我會建議你多申請幾所.或重考會較保險. (2005-12-07 15:27)


End of Chat


 

 

Host: (Dan Chatham)

It has been a pleasure chatting with you all today. I will be at the World Graduate School Tour fair tonight (www.topgraduate.com) and will be joined by an alum, David An at about 6:00. David is now a Fulbright Fellow and can tell you about life as a student in the International Affairs program. The program includes courses in Business, Economics, Politics, and Policy. Our school is the only International Affairs school focused entirely on the Pacific and I look forward to speaking with you about it. Thanks for having me.

 

Host: (Ellen Wang)

最近是申請的高峰期,學術交流基金會的留美資料圖書館,開始湧入學生潮,預約免費修改申請文件,和申請策略…..等服務,鼓勵申請學生多和顧問作諮詢,也多多參加諮詢講座,多方蒐集資訊,自己申請學校一定也能有好成績的。祝大家申請順利。

 

Host: (Clarence Fu)

學術交流基金會下週一到週五每天下午都有免費英語練習活動及講座,邀請到獲得Fulbright獎學金來台研究的學人為同學介紹各個領域及如何撰寫該領域的SOP,歡迎大家參加,我們地址:北市泉州街1之A號,學術交流基金會的網址www.ustudy.org.tw.