Applying and enrolling in law school can be an exciting and confusing time in your life. There is an ample amount of information thrown at you while you are attempting to begin a challenging but rewarding journey. You first have to maneuver through a difficult application process while trying to figure out what certain acronyms and words actually mean. It also does not help that you are thrown into a list of new terms during your first week of law school. While the beginning of your law school career can be confusing, your transition can be made easier by becoming comfortable with legal terminology. Below are terms and explanations that should assist you throughout your application process and the start of law school:
These are the levels of being a law student. 0L is the status of students who either have been granted admission to law school or are currently applying. This changes to the 1L level on their first day, since this represents first-year students. 2L signifies the ‘upper division’ or anyone above their first year but not yet graduating. 3L represents the graduating class.
This stands for the American Association of Law Schools. This organization consists of 179 member schools. They produce publications and journals, address current issues and uphold excellence in legal education.
This stands for the American Bar Association. This organization is one of the largest voluntary professional groups. The ABA is a collection of over 400,000 attorneys, law students, and legal professionals. This organization sets standards for law schools and works to continually improve the legal profession.
This is a collection of rules that are created by a state agency. There are three different types: register, code, or manual. These vary between states and territories. Registers are publications like the Federal Register that contain adopted rules or notices. Codes are publications like the Code of Federal Regulations which focuses on administrative rules. Manuals are created to assist the rule-making agencies.
This is Alternative Dispute Resolution. This refers to disagreements that are settled outside of court or not through litigation. There are two main types: arbitration and mediation. Typically, parties agree in advance to settle outside of court through ADR.
These are documents that contain the recently decided cases in a particular area or region.
This is a form of ADR. Parties agree to use a qualified arbitrator to settle the dispute outside of court. Arbitration follows a specific timeline of negotiation and the decision is binding.
This is a section of the Law School Admissions Test. Arguments are also known as Logical Reasoning Questions. These test your ability to analyze and synthesize information to come to some sort of conclusion.
The bar is the collective of all attorneys and the practice of law. It is derived from the physical swinging bar that separates the public in the courtroom.
This is a test to see if a person has the capabilities and qualifications to practice law. It is broken into three parts. The first and second parts are the MBE (Multistate Bar Exam) and the State Specific Exam which tests specific state laws/statutes. The second part is the MPT (Multistate Performance Test) which measures one’s ability to complete lawyer-specific tasks.
The Bluebook: A Uniform Guide to Citation is a book focused solely on proper legal citation. It covers all legal documents and how to create a citation for them.
This stands for Credential Assembly Service. In order to apply to law school, students must purchase this cloud service to upload their application materials to the LSAC.
This is a summary of a case. They articulate the facts, issues, and decisions made on a particular issue. Law students and lawyers frequently write these.
A casebook is a type of textbook for law students. They are supplements to conceptual textbooks in the fact that they contain excerpts from cases and legal memoranda.
Students have the opportunity to obtain a clerkship and work as a law clerk for a judge during law school. These people are responsible for researching cases, assisting judges, and helping write opinions.
This is an opportunity for 2L and 3L students. These clinics allow members of society to receive free legal aid and advice from current law students. There are specialized clinics that focus on a certain field of law.
This stands for Candidate Referral Service. If you enroll in this program, the LSAC sends your LSAT score, GPA, and other personal details to member law schools. This is a free service and a great way to get more information about law schools that interest you.
Most law schools have their 1L grades based on a curve. Since the exam is typically the only grade in the course, professors compare all the exams against each other to match the specific curve the institution sets forth.
This is the clause in the Constitution that ensures that all citizens are treated fairly and equally under the law and legal systems.
This is a hands-on opportunity for law students. An externship is a form of short-term job training/shadowing program in a certain field. They differ from internships in their duration is much shorter.
This is a legal citation. It means that the material is from the Federal Supplement.
These are book supplements that are on subjects covered in law schools. They provide a summary and explain certain areas of the law.
This stands for Hypothetical Question. These are posed by professors utilizing the Socratic method in order to allow students to gain more information about a case.
Latin for ‘the same.’ This is a legal citation to indicate a citation that is used in a row.
This is a hands-on opportunity for law students. An externship is a form of short-term job training/shadowing program in a certain field. They differ from internship in their duration is longer.
This stands for Juris Doctor. It is a first degree of law and is required to practice law. In order to obtain this degree, a student must take the LSAT and pass a three-year long program at a law school after obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
This is an opportunity for law students. Each university has several legal journals that allow students to submit scholarly publications.
The ability for a specific court to hear a particular case. There are several types of jurisdiction such as original, general, or appellate.
The study of the science of law.
A scholar that is well versed in the field of law.
This is WestLaw’s indexing system to organize cases that includes a small summary of points specific to the particular case.
This is a portion of the law school application. It is a completed version of your application that is sent to each school you wish to apply.
This is a company that facilitates one of the main legal research databases. LexisNexis Advance is the main database used to find cases and other legal documents.
This is the process of going to court to solve a case. This includes filing complaints, motions, negotiations, trials, and appeals.
This stands for Master of Laws. This is an advanced law degree that is globally accepted. This program is typically one year and can be completed after obtaining a first-level law degree.
This is a section of the LSAT. It is also known as analytical reasoning. This section feature several logic puzzles that you must figure out and answer questions about. The purpose of it is to test an individual’s analytical skills and their ability to draw conclusions.
This stands for the Law School Admission Council. This organization is responsible for facilitating the Law School Admission Test and all other law school admissions purposes. They host services for prospective and current law students.
This stands for Law School Admission Test. This is a half-day examination that is broken into five sections and a writing sample. The sections are of three categories: Reading Comprehension, Logic Games, and Arguments. This test aims to measure a student’s ability to be successful in law school.
MBE stands for the Multistate Bar Exam. This is a subsection of the bar exam. Most states include this portion on the bar exam, and it is consistent throughout all jurisdictions. It is composed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
This is a form of ADR. This is when two parties decide to settle their dispute outside of court through a neutral third-party.
This is an opportunity for 2L and 3L students. Students take on a hypothetical case in the lower, trial courts and attempt to argue a certain side of the case. This is normally taught with Trial Advocacy because students must represent a side in a fictitious court. There are competitions throughout the school year.
This is an opportunity for 2L and 3L students. Students take on a hypothetical case in the appellate court to argue an appeal. Instead of a trial, they formulate an oral argument to present why the lower courts erred. There are competitions throughout the school year.
This stands for the Multistate Performance Test. The MPT is a portion of the bar exam that tests one’s lawyering abilities. Essentially, it examines if you are able to perform a task that a lawyer would be able to do. Not all states require this portion.
This stands for the National Association for Law Placement. They are a collection of legal professionals that aim to help ensure law students and other professionals receive excellent education and fair hiring processes.
This stands for the National Conference of Bar Examiners. They are responsible for facilitating the MPRE, UBE, MBE, MEE, and MPT.
This stand for On Campus Interview. These are events hosted by law schools that allow legal employers to come and interview 2L and 3L students for summer associate and entry-level positions. These usually occur during the first few months of the fall semester or end of the summer.
This is the reasons and justification for the decision on a case.
These are breakdowns of a specific class. Typically, professors or upper-level classmates have outlines that they are willing to share with others. They are useful in getting a general knowledge on the certain course.
This is a portion of the law school application. It is a relatively brief essay about yourself in which you can address anything you wish in regards to gaining admission to law school.
This is a legal case that was decided through the courts that establishes a rule or doctrine. Other courts utilize this case to make decisions on similar situations.
This is a section of the LSAT. This part focuses on large reading prompts that ask conceptual and inference questions. This is to test a student’s ability to synthesize a large amount of information and still understand the key points.
This is a collection of judicial opinions that are combined in book form. They contain a certain amount of opinions and decisions from case law.
This is a fee that a law school requests after you get admitted into a university and decide to officially enroll. It serves as your ‘seat holder’ to confirm you are going to be in that graduating class. It typically is applied towards your tuition.
This stands for Doctor of Juridical Science. This is a research doctorate of law with the equivalent of a PhD.
This is the typical way law classes are run. Essentially, instead of telling information or explaining facts, the professor poses hypothetical questions in order to get the group thinking critically.
An opportunity for students to provide legal aid without fee to individuals. In doing so, they are providing for the common good or public interest.
These are positions for law students that have completed their second year of law school. While they are not yet lawyers or graduates, they intern at a law firm as an associate.
The highest tier of law schools. This represents the top 14 law schools in the nation.
This is a civil wrong or harm against another person.
This is a company that facilitates one of the main legal research databases. WestLaw Next is the main database used to find cases and other legal documents.
Applying to law school can be much less frustrating if you know the different terms and acronyms associated with law students. There are many unfamiliar words to the prospective student, so it can be discouraging if you are bombarded with information that you have no knowledge about. Becoming aware of legal and law school diction will not only help you when applying but also ensure your success as you begin your law school journey.
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