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Didymus

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Didymus
also, when do you learn what fields will be covered in your state's bar exam? I expect to practice in Illinois, but I don't know yet where I want to go to school..

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Sojourner
[quote name='Didymus' post='1672784' date='Oct 8 2008, 01:34 PM']thanks rkwright!

law school sounds a lot like seminary programs. You learn a lot about philosophy and theology, and not so much about how to say mass and hear confessions..[/quote]
Not necessarily. My school (University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis) has a required mentoring program which allows students to work with practicing lawyers and get real-world experience doing things related to the area of practice you're interested in. Even if your school doesn't have a program like this that is required, it should be easy enough to connect with practicing lawyers in your local legal community and find someone to teach you the practical aspects of lawyering.

Also, every school has some writing requirement. We had to do three semesters writing briefs, appellate arguments, and so on. This is (to my knowledge) very common. So, even though schooling focuses heavily on theory you should be able to find plenty of opportunities for practical experience in the field you're interested in working in.

[quote name='Didymus' post='1672786' date='Oct 8 2008, 01:36 PM']also, when do you learn what fields will be covered in your state's bar exam? I expect to practice in Illinois, but I don't know yet where I want to go to school..[/quote]
Pretty much every bar exam covers the same types of stuff. Info on the Illinois bar exam is [url="https://www.ibaby.org/home.action"]here.[/url] After you are done with school, you will have two months or so of intensive bar preparation. You can go through a program like Barbri or you can study on your own.

I'm a 3L by the way.

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she_who_is_not
I chose my school because of the clinical program. In your 3rd year you can be admitted under special license to the bar and practice under the direction of a mentor attorney.
Look for a school with a education clinic!

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rkwright
Terra I've missed you around here! I've had law school questions come up and no one to ask =(
Do you have anything lined up after school?

I think a lot of schools are recognizing this 'gap' and offering more clinical programs (we have a few) to get more practice.

I know in Texas you only need 45 hours and you can apply for a bar card to let you try some cases as long as your supervised.

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CatherineM
First off, family law involves more than just divorces. There are guardianships for the elderly or incompetent, custody that has nothing to do with a divorce (I represented a grandmother once trying to get custody of her deceased son's child because the mother was living with a pedophile), adoptions, implementations of living will documents, lots of stuff. Many disability issues will come up in family court simply because the judges are more knowledgeable about these complicated things, and family court can be accessed in an emergency easier. My first case, less than a month after getting sworn in, was to represent a child who needed heart surgery, and her parents were Jehovah Witnesses. I had no mentor, and no supervision. It was definitely sink or swim.

If you're going to practice in Illinois, it is certainly easier to pass the bar if you go to law school in the state, but you can always take a bar review class in Illinois if you go elsewhere. We had lots of practice in writing briefs, but not actual pleadings. I knew how to brief an issue for an appeal to the Supreme Court, but didn't learn how to draw up a basic divorce filing. I went to school a long time ago, so I'm sure (I hope anyway) that things have changed since then. I was the first person in my class to win a court case, to be inducted into the American Trial Lawyer's Association, and the first to publish in the state Bar Journal, although in fairness, it was about mediation. I was probably also the first to retire.

I was a different person in the courtroom. I didn't like the person I was becoming. If I hadn't gotten hurt, I'm not sure how long I could have continued.

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Didymus
Thanks everyone!

I just came back from the forum, and it was very helpful. I talked about my interest in Special Education law and most of the schools directed me to their Child Law and Public Interest Law programs. A few of the schools actually have the education clinics, and even special education clinics.. DePaul is one of them, which is awesome because I wanted to stay in Chicago and they're in the heart of the city..

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