Law School Admissions in Canada
There is high demand for legal education in Canada, and the demand has been rising steadily over the years. The result is that the admission into the law programs has become very selective about who gets a chance and who misses. Law school admission is expected to be so competitive each year just as one can predict. Most law schools across Canada face the problem of turning down some applicants who merit to secure their spaces in law schools. A survey over the recent years shows that about 5,000 to 7,000 applicants compete for limited 2,350 spaces in Canadas law schools. Admission Committee should, therefore, find a way of getting the best candidates out of the best applicants.
Law schools in Canada currently put some factors into consideration before granting admission to the claimants. A single academic qualification on its own, cannot guarantee a successful access. Many other selection criteria such as conducting a Law School Admission Test (LSAT), are some of the ways of getting the best candidates who are fit to get admission into the programs. With all fairness, LSAT is a real solution. Some law schools, however, engage in a rolling admission process where the vetting of the applicants begins in early winter before the final short-listing which happens in midsummer.
Not only in Canada where LSAT has been adopted but also in other countries such as the United States among other growing countries. The test is a measure of the applicants ability in reading and verbal reasoning. In design, it reveals the suitability of the candidate to succeed in law school. Through it, the admission committee can accurately determine your organizational and managerial skills, all of which are crucial to your success in the faculty of law.
Admission into a law school in Canada is not a straightforward process. The high school qualification alone cannot even allow you to submit your application. It is a requirement that you acquire an undergraduate degree or must have completed at least three years of your undergraduate degree in any field to commence with your application. Even with all that, you will still face the stiff competition and LSAT as described earlier.
Law School Admission in the United States
The demand for law school student applicants remains nearly constant due to slow growth of learning resources in such schools. However, it is a common trend in the United States that the number of applicants drops by a given percentage in the recent years. With the majority of law schools in the US having the number of classrooms or spaces that remain unchanged year in year out, there are higher chances that any application will go through just as expected.
The admission boards of various law institutions are facing the challenge of getting enough students for their resources. As a result, some of them lower their standards to attract many students in their schools. Though LSAT is still in place, its significance keeps on reducing considerably over time. The trend gives applicant better opportunity to apply for their admission as successful admission is almost a guarantee. Despite the trend, competition in top schools is still very stiff. The drop in the number of applicants seems to affect higher ranked schools than the top ones.
The admission criteria are somewhat similar to the Canadian case. A high school qualification on its own cannot see you through. An undergraduate degree in any field is a necessity to be considered legible to apply for a law school in the US. As a routine, they conduct Law School Admission Test (LSAT), however with set pass mark lower than the case in Canada. The need for early application is almost becoming a misconception. The earlier you apply, the higher your chances of being successful are a real myth considering the current trend of the Law School Admissions in the US (Shawn, 2015). There is no need to hurry with your application process. From the trend, schools find themselves with vacant spaces each year with the decreasing number of students who are applying for the course.
A common practice spotted among the US Law Schools is the student hunting. They have introduced merit-based scholarship money which is meant to attract more and more candidates to fill their free spots. In fact, the students after admission have the guts to negotiate for a greater merit-based scholarship award. The supply and demand law comes into play. Any Student in the US stands a better chance of getting admission in a law school of choice.
Law School Pedagogy in the United States
There are many approaches in transferring knowledge from the professor to a student. What makes a great law professor? That question is not just like any other, and always the response to it is not precise. There is diversity in opinions given by people when interviewed. The answer can be as many as the number of individuals interviewed. The widely used method of teaching in the United States is the Socratic Method. That entails a lecturer leading the debate selecting a student at random to discuss the assigned case. The student supports his or her arguments, and then the law professors would ask a question aimed at exposing the flaws in the argument. The examination involves interpretation of facts regarding hypothetical cases, determination of how relevant the theories are to the presented case. Finally, a student gives a well-written essay about the same.
The Socratic method of learning has received critics from different scholars. Not only do they disagree with it but also advocates for first years in the course. Most first year students in the course find it very hard to adapt to the method due to change in the system. It is not easy to go the Socratic way if you were the noting taking kind in your lectures.
Great Professors are the ones who set expectations high. They present it clear from the outset that their students can meet the course requirements (Michael & Hess, 2013). They demonstrate professionalism behavior and advise their students to face class the same way they would do in their career life by showing their preparedness and graciousness within their ability. The best trait in a law school professor is the in-depth preparation for the classes, setting aside their teaching experience.
As little as some teaching aspects can be, they matter a lot regarding knowledge transfer (Michael & Hess, 2013). Most professional lecturers get to class early and stay on afterward to respond to questions from their student. They endeavor to build a personal relationship with the students, mastering their names and responds to their emails as a follow-up activity. They demonstrate commitment, creativity, and compassion in their teaching career. What the best law lecturers offer can insights into pedagogy that surpass the boundaries of legal education.
Hess and his colleague in their book, What the Best Law Teachers Do, outlines the methods, personal traits, and strategies of professors whose students perform exceptionally well in their coursework. The same techniques are emulated by the law school lecturers in the US to enhance the learning process. It is a recommended practice to study from the rest for better but not for worse. Many teachers have adapted the techniques demonstrated by Hess to transfer their knowledge to the learners in a more efficient way Learners feel enthusiastic when learning environment and their relation with their lecturers is perfect. Lecturers who have the capability to mentor their students impact positively in the learning process.
Michael, H. & Hess, G. (2013). What The Best Law Teachers Do. Cambridge. Harvard University Press.
Shawn, P. (2015). 3 Law School Admissions Trend to Expect This Cycle. U.S News. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/law-admissions-lowdown/2015/09/07/3-law-school-admissions-trends-to-expect-in-2016
McMahon, K. (2005). Report Card on the Canadian Law Schools. The Canadian Lawyer, 1-28.
Law School Admission Council. (2017). Guide to Canadian Law Schools. Newtown PA, Author
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