Monthly Archives: March 2016
If you have your eyes set on building a career in the field of law, you’d be one of the several thousand other hopefuls who are sharing your ambition. Every year, these very hopefuls embark upon the procedure to apply to different business schools, with varied levels of success. While there are various factors that play a role when it comes to gaining admission, one needs to put forth an application that centers on our strengths.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that every law school uses its own yardstick to measure every student’s application. It is nearly impossible to accurately gauge what determines an admission, however, there are certain efforts you can put in to make your application stand out.
Shortlisting Law Schools
Before you begin the actual process of application, you need to make a list of colleges that you’d be applying to. This list needs to be ambitious and realistic at the same time. A cautious approach would be to select approximately 10 colleges, instead of 4 or 5, which broaden your chances of getting into a college of your choice. Again, don’t let the cost of bearing the application fee deter you, as you can consider it to be the first step towards building your dream career.
So how does one go about selecting the colleges to apply to, out of the hundreds of options? With a little research, you can safely list around 4 colleges that you think you can realistically get into. These are colleges in the “safe” category, where you know you’d surely secure a place.
Next, you can choose another 3 colleges where you have a considerable chance of gaining admission. Applying to these colleges would be slightly ambitious, but getting into them wouldn’t be impossible.
Choosing the final 3 colleges would require a detailed and thoughtful study on your part. These would be colleges that you think are out of your league, but since we’re completely unaware of what exactly determines an admission, it would only make sense to try your luck with it. After all, applying to such colleges at the very least gives you some hope, rather than completely losing out by not applying.
While selecting this list of colleges, you need to consider each school’s requirement regarding LSAT scores and GPAs. Also, there are a few colleges that give precedence to in-state applications. You need to make a thorough study of the curriculum they offer keeping your specialization in mind, the faculty members, and importantly, tuition and boarding costs as well.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
This is as basic as it gets, but a good GPA does take you places. At the very least, a high GPA puts most of the top-ranked law schools within your reach. While most law schools do not strictly require students to have a bachelor’s degree in a specific field, it would help if you’ve studied subjects like U.S. History, Economics, Jurisprudence or Government. However, of late, top law schools have been encouraging applications from students with diverse backgrounds in order to dismiss uniformity. Therefore, you should not let your undergraduate specialization deter you from applying to the law school of your choice. Ultimately, the transcript that you send to the admission office will play a major role in getting you a positive answer, rather than your undergraduate specialization.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT) Score
It is mandatory for law school aspirants to take the LSAT before they begin their application procedure. This exam gauges a student’s proficiency through its sections on reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, and logical reasoning. One can say that the importance of having an impressive LSAT score is at par with possessing a good GPA. These two factors, in combination, more or less decide the fate of your application.
The personal statement that you send along with your transcript and LSAT score, provides the admission officer with an additional aspect to assess your capabilities. A good personal statement focuses on your background and achievements, along with your ambitions. Your academic accomplishments are clearly reflected through your transcript and LSAT score; the personal statement carries your character sketch. It is okay to highlight your achievements here; just be mindful of sounding boastful and over-the-top. Keep the tone formal at all times. You could also ask your college professor or senior to evaluate it.
While some schools insist on at least one recommendation letter, others do not require them. However, having said that, a recommendation will surely increase your chances of getting a seat in a law school. If you have had any experience working for a law firm, you could get a letter from them as it would build your case. Otherwise, you can include recommendations from your professors at the undergraduate level.
There has been a definite shift of focus when it comes to the admission requirements for any graduate course today. While law schools, until a few years ago, used to rely on the student’s academic performance to make a judgment, they’re now looking at the overall personality to come to a decision. So what does suitably manage to impress them? It’s really hard to pinpoint one aspect. Rather, it is the combination of several factors at play. Admission officers like to see a well-rounded resume that contains work experience, participation in extra-curricular activities, community service; basically, everything that does not restrict your personality to be simply described as academically-inclined.
A lawyer in the making needs to be hardworking, passionate to seek justice and possess a sharp acumen. The process to become a top-notch lawyer begins with selecting the right law school. Hopefully this writeup has shed some light on the correct way to go about the procedure.
The prospect of divorce in itself is a messy affair for those involved. One definitely wants to get it right, as far as the legal aspects are concerned. However, paying for a divorce lawyer is not possible for everyone. Many people lose out on what they are entitled to just because they cannot afford a lawyer who can represent them well in the court of law. The enormity of the legal fees plays a major role for those searching for a lawyer.
Here is where pro bono lawyers come into the picture. A pro bono divorce lawyer is one who fights a divorce case free of cost, or if not, at least at a very nominal charge. Such a lawyer may not specialize in divorce cases, however, he may provide legal services in divorce at no or little cost to individuals or charitable organizations.
Why do Lawyers Work Pro Bono?
Pro bono is the Latin phrase which translates as ‘for the public good’ or ‘in courtesy of the people’. Under the ethical rules of the American Bar Association, every lawyer is recommended to set aside 50 hours of pro bono service every year. Some individual State Bar associations may require its lawyers to put in lesser hours of such kind of service. Besides fulfilling the ethical obligation, pro bono cases enable lawyers to gain experience in fields other than that in which they specialize. For example, a criminal law attorney can act as a pro bono divorce lawyer, which adds to his portfolio, for his own good. However, the urge to act as a pro bono lawyer can also be absolutely out of unselfish interests. Even highly experienced lawyers take up cases for free in the same area that they specialize in, in case they feel that the case is challenging and interesting. Or sometimes, it could be strictly for altruistic inclination of helping financially challenged individuals, or those who have been laid off and are unable to meet the customary legal fees. Some lawyers take up pro bono cases if they feel that taking up specific cases would be for the greater good of the community.
Does this mean that anyone and everyone can avail the services of a pro bono divorce lawyer? The answer to this question is a big NO. One needs to DESERVE a pro bono service to get it. One requires to qualify on the basis of his financial status or some other disability, to be able to avail pro bono legal services. These legalities again depend upon those stipulated by the laws of one’s residing state. The other common criteria that can entitle one for pro bono services is abuse in marriage. Be it physical, verbal, sexual, or even if it concerns one’s children, abuse of any form can help one qualify for having a pro bono lawyer fighting the case. However, one needs to present strong proof of such abuse in these cases.
Ways to Find a Pro Bono Divorce Lawyer
Finding a divorce lawyer who charges less fees can be a difficult task, as most of the lawyers fighting pro bono cases do not advertise themselves. One way to find a pro bono lawyer is to call the general practice attorneys in one’s local county and check if they are taking up pro bono cases. One can also contact the State Bar Association to find if there are pro bono divorce lawyers to take up a case. Certain firms have pro bono lawyers or have an assigned pro bono coordinator to look after such cases. Check with such organizations and legal firms to see if you meet the criteria to qualify for these legal services, for free or at a reduced cost. Ask your friends and family about lawyers who are willing to offer a pro bono service. It is always advisable to look for references of people who know such lawyers, so that you are sure, that despite working for no or lower fees, the pro bono divorce lawyer would handle your case efficiently.
It is very important to have an efficient divorce attorney. Despite all the benefits of having a lawyer fighting your case for free, employing a pro bono lawyer is not completely a rosy picture. There are pitfalls associated with it which one needs to be wary of. Many times, these lawyers do not have enough experience in handling divorce cases, as that may not be their field of expertise. It is best to do your research and talk to a couple such lawyers, if that is possible, before you are sure that you want a particular pro bono lawyer for yourself.
Consult with friends and family or those who can give references regarding the lawyer you are considering. The best help that you could do to yourself is to gather as much information about the laws regarding divorce, as you can. This ensures that you are not absolutely dependent on your divorce lawyer and left in the lurch in case things go wrong or not up to your expectations. Make peace with your past in a smooth and organized way, bereft of the hassles.
Employment law covers all aspects of the legal duties and responsibilities shared by both the employer and employee. Some of the most common employment issues that result in litigation involve unpaid overtime wages, withheld wages and benefits, unsafe working conditions, wrongful termination, unlawful discrimination, disability pay, and work visa permits. Apart from filing the complaint or claim, it is equally important to hire an attorney who understands your case completely and deals with it seriously.
How to Search for Employment Lawyers
- Contact Your State Bar Association for a Referral
A sure-shot way is to visit the online American Bar Association Lawyer Referral Directory, wherein you will be able to find attorneys from your State, and who are specialists in the field of employment matters. The second thing you can do is to search for State Bar Association Referral Directories and streamline your work. For example, Utah residents simply have to access the ‘Utah State Bar Lawyer Referral Directory’, select the area of legal service they seek, select the language they prefer, and the years of active practice they prefer their lawyer to have gained. The search results reveal a detailed list of lawyers living in Utah, along with the names, email, and contact information, among others. Some referral sites do not charge money for giving referrals; however, you may be charged USD 30 once you have contacted one of the lawyers referred. However, the lawyer you meet may charge a fee for his time and service for the half-an-hour consultation. Therefore, make sure you find out the initial consultation fee so as to assess whether you’re willing to bear the additional expense or not.
- Search for Referred Lawyers
Once you have spoken to the free referral service providers and jotted down the names of the employment attorneys to contact, you can search for their credentials over the Internet. You may come across their law firm’s website, which can be an informative resource for you to evaluate the attorney, his areas of legal practice, years of experience, rate of success, and rating given by clients and other websites. Based on your needs and the research done by you, go in for an attorney who you believe will be able to give you time and invest all efforts into your case. You can do the same for attorneys who have been referred to you by colleagues, friends, and family members. That being said, make it a point to visit other employment attorneys in your area, who have successfully managed the cases of people you know.
- General Online Attorney Search
You can also conduct a generalized search engine search. Streamline the results you get by specifying the State and city in which you reside. You may also check membership directories for employment attorneys who reside in your State and handle individual cases. The results you may be given will include several websites owned by law firms and individual lawyers. Read through some of their blogs and the information mentioned on their website. Make sure that you try to focus on attorneys who are experts in Employment Law and have formidable years of experience. Thereafter, shortlist some attorneys, and call their office to fix an appointment.Factors to Consider While Meeting a Lawyer
- Is there a Conflict of Interest?
Some employment lawyers represent only employers and will not meet with aggrieved employees. On the other hand, some attorneys handle only employee grievances. Therefore, before fixing an appointment, make sure you specify the type of employment lawyer you wish to meet while speaking to the referral service providers, during your online search, as well as while contacting law firms. In case the lawyer you meet handles all types of employment cases, inquire whether he is associated with your opponent’s/adversary party in any way.
- The Traits to Look for in Your Lawyer
– During the consultation, you will need to observe the lawyer very carefully. A good lawyer is also a good listener and will always be attentive towards his client.
– Do not choose the lawyer if you find it very hard to communicate with him. Go in for a lawyer who can listen to your side of the story and give you sound advice.
-He must also be able to tell you whether your case has any merit in the court of law and whether it has any scope of success. He must do so in a simplistic manner so that you are able to understand the complexities involved in your case.
-Ensure that you observe the behavior of his staff, because the lawyer may delegate your case to them and thus, they will be doing most of the research and paperwork for your case.
-Select a lawyer who wins your confidence and has several years of experience in the field of employment law.
-He must also be well-informed about the recent trends and changes in the field of law and your job market that may affect the outcome of your case.
- Sort Out Finances
You will need to inquire about how the lawyer charges for his/her services. Most of them charge by the hour, while some may ask for refundable/non-refundable retainer fee. On the other hand, some attorneys may charge a contingency fee, wherein you will be required to pay an agreed percentage of your claim to the lawyer in case you win. In order to avoid confusion, financial loss, and misunderstanding, demand that you be given a lawyer’s retainer agreement that specifies the expenses you will be expected to bear. Find out if the law firm will bear the costs at the outset and require you to pay after the case is decided, or you will need to pay at every step of the litigation.
Keeping your finances in mind, determine whether you will be able to manage these additional expenses or not.
With a divorce rate in the U.S. of approximately 50 percent, there are many reasons why couples end up embroiled in family law battles. Custody issues generally top the list of concerns, as parents want to know who their children will primarily reside with and how substantial decisions will be made regarding the continued upbringing of the children. Here are seven family law tips to help you win difficult custody issues.
1. Be the First to Take Action
If you are the father, the worst thing you can do is wait until the mother of your children takes you to court. Make sure to file first, and it will show that you are sincerely interested in being the primary person in your children’s lives and are committed to taking action. If you are the mother, the same reasons apply. You want to show the family law judge how motivated you are to have primary custody by being the first to file a custody action.
2. Avoid Conflict
During divorce proceedings, emotions are usually volatile. Do your best to take the higher road, remain calm, and try not to argue with the other parent. Conflict will only make matters worse and will show the judge that there’s a problem with your emotional control.
3. Utilize the Police
If conflict happens and the other parent argues with you, walk out immediately and telephone the police. This will ensure that there is a record of the argument and will stop the disagreement from escalating. It’s important to remember not to argue back as that will be recorded in a police report and may be used against you at a later time in court.
4. Be Proactive With Child Support
Even if child support has not yet been ordered, if the other parent spends substantial time with the children, it’s a good idea to give at least some amount to that parent every month. Make sure to give the child support in the form of a check or money order and do not give cash.
5. Keep Records of Everything
Keep a written record of every time you see your kids and when you don’t see your kids. If you have a custody arrangement in place, make sure to record every instance where the other parent is in breach of that agreement. Record items like late pickup, missed attendance at a parent-teacher conference, and when payments to things like tutors don’t get made.
6. Be Consistent With All Your Visits
Always keep your word and make your visits on your agreed upon day. In the event that you’re unable to make a visit, call the other parent and explain. The family law judge will look poorly on not making scheduled visits.
7. Go to All Your Court Dates
Attending all court dates is extremely important. If you don’t show up for a court date, a warrant could be issued for your arrest.
If the parties cannot agree on a resolution to custody issues, the judge will make this extremely important determination using the evidence presented in court. Following these straightforward tips should help you build a case in your favor.