There are numerous areas of specialization in the field of law. Some of the popular ones are:
- Admiralty Law
- Business Law
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law
- Environmental Law
- Family Law
- Health Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- Patent Law
- Bankruptcy Law
- Aviation Law
- Sports Law
- Trademark Law
The above names are a partial list for aspiring lawyers to select one that suits their interests and future career. Law schools use the terms specialties or concentrations interchangeably. The specific choices vary per institution; for example, Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law offers six concentrations: Appellate Law, International Law, Business Enterprise, Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law, and Law and Social Policy. Students who chose to specialize, make their selection before second-year classes commence.
Albany School of Law has seventeen areas, one of which is titled – Government Law and Policy. In addition to the six hours of required courses (Administrative Law and Law of Government), students take at least three credits from a list of nine electives. Therefore, government law is one area of many for those who want to become involved in governmental affairs.
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One does not need to be spending time learning about federal or state governments to pursue most of the law specialties. The Cybersecurity Law Initiative program at George Washington Law in Washington, D.C., does not have any courses devoted to governmental law or affairs. There is a course called Counterterrorism Law that covers administrative laws implemented by the U.S. government to thwart domestic and international terrorism. National Security Law teaches the protection of classified information, U.S. law as it pertains to national security, and leak control.
We provide the above example to illustrate that law programs incorporate coursework related to government operations when applicable. An individual who opts for Civil Litigation doesn’t need to study in the inner workings of government. Perhaps being knowledgeable of local and state laws will be necessary for her/his role as a litigator. The aspiring lawyer in this field will focus on classes involving legal strategy, settlement negotiations, pleadings, courtroom etiquette, arguing appeals, and pretrial discovery. In other words, the study of material a law graduate will use in her/his civil litigation practice.
Individuals who plan to enter politics at some point would benefit from the study of government. At last count in 2019, 54% of senators and 37% of House members have a law degree. Of the 535 members of the 116th Congress, 40% have attended law school. A breakdown by the political party showed that 64% of Democratic senators had law degrees versus 43% of Republicans. A law degree, then, appears to be the cornerstone for many in politics. Some experts opine that law school teaches students to see the entire chessboard while looking at several moves ahead. Lawyers learn how to negotiate and strategize, which are essential attributes for government officials.
Can I ignore the study of government then?
Probably not a good idea because law schools expect applicants to know specific areas even though there are no required undergraduate courses for law school. Some of the valuable courses during your bachelor’s degree are composition, business, economics, political science, history, and government . However, according to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) that administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the test comprises reading comprehension, logic, and verbal reasoning. Nothing specific to your undergrad studies. An economics professor at the University of North Texas in 2008 examined majors from the top LSAT scores with interesting results. The number one spot was mathematics , followed by economics (tied with philosophy/theology), international relations, engineering, and government in 5th place!
A more recent study by college major in 2019 placed Pre-law in 40th place out of 45 degrees on the LSAT. In this data, government majors were in 9th place – preceded by students who majored in art history and the classics (2nd spot). Again, mathematics majors had the highest admission score. To ace the LSAT, the research favors a penchant for logical reasoning and analytical reasoning, as well as reading comprehension. These qualities far exceed what one learns in a particular undergraduate major. This premise undermines the need to study government at any point before or during law school – unless your chose area of specialization includes coursework in this field.
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