Between now and 2026, it’s estimated that Rhode Island will open another 1,000 jobs for lawyers. Lawyers average about $110,000 per year in the state. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country, but it’s also number seven in population. It seems as if the foreseeable future is favorable for lawyers in the state. If you plan on studying law in Rhode Island in the next few years, read on. This is what you need to do.
Get That Bachelor’s Degree First
The Rhode Island Board of Bar Examiners doesn’t mandate any undergraduate training before going to law school, but it does require graduation from an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school before starting law school. You don’t need any special requirements or the like to finish undergraduate school either. Coursework like English composition, political science, criminal justice, sociology, psychology and history will suit you well though. Aside from those, your major can be anything that you want it to be. If can range from anthropology to zoology. What law school admission committees want to see is the fact that you’re challenged. If you get good grades in a challenging program, that means a lot to them, and you’re far more likely to be admitted.
LSAT is an abbreviation for Law School Admission Test. It really doesn’t have very much to do with the law, but it does measure an applicant’s abilities to be successful in law school. It’s given four times every year across the country. This might be one of the most important tests that you ever took in your life, so prepare for it properly. There are commercial testing companies out there that will prepare you for taking the test. Enroll in one of the classes, and study it. You’ll be better prepared to take the test, and a boost of just five points on your LSAT could mean the difference in getting into law school. The test takes about three and a half hours to complete. It consists of the following:
- Logical Reasoning: You’re given 35 minutes to complete about 25 questions and select the best answer. You’ll be called upon to make assumptions, and determine the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments.
- Rational Reasoning: This section is similar to logical reasoning with a 35-minute time limit, A except the questions will be more verbal in form.
- Analytical Reasoning: This is also a 35-minute segment, with about 22 questions. It’s situational with a set of conditions where you must draw conclusions.
- Reading Comprehension: Another 35-minute segment consisting of passages of about 600 words. Questions might be about the main idea of the passage or it’s reasoning.
- Experimental Portion: This might consist of any portion of the test. You’re not going to be told which section it is. Make sure to treat each section of the test as if it’s real. It just might be real.
- Writing: You’ll have a half an hour to write an essay on a topic that is provided. This section isn’t scored, but it goes to every law school that you apply to.
Taking the LSAT
Apply to take the test at the Law School Admission Council. The cost is $215, and the test is administered four times per year in November, January, March and June on Mondays and Saturdays. It’s given at the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island. The LSAT is scored between a low of 120 and a high of 180. You’ll receive them about three weeks after taking the test. The Roger Williams University School of Law is the only ABA accredited law school in the state. The median LSAT score there was 150. If you want to cancel your score, you must notify LSAC within six days of the exam.
The Credential Assembly Service
There are more than 200 ABA accredited law schools that are scattered across the country. It’s not the end of the world if Roger Williams doesn’t accept you. You can still sit for the bar so long as your law school is accredited by the ABA. Your next step toward attending law school is to apply through the Credential Assembly Service. Application through the CAS is mandatory. The CAS will acquire your transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing sample and LSATs for you and send them to the various law schools that you apply to. The cost is $215 plus $45 per law school. It’s an effective and convenient was of getting things were they need to go on time.
Law School Admission
If you’ve gone this far, you probably did well on your LSATs. Now, its time to take the big step into law school. Although the list isn’t exclusive, law students typically take the following classes: Contracts, constitutional law, torts, both civil and criminal law and procedure, property, professional responsibility, evidence and the Uniform Commercial Code. Most of the ABA accredited law schools also require their students to take an internship too. You’ll be coupling what you learned in law school with real life situations. You’re going to be grades on this, so take it seriously. Take the Rhode Island bar exam seriously too. There are commercial businesses that will prepare you for the exam. Enroll in one. It can lift your score and put you over the hump. Historically, about 70% all test takers are admitted.
The Rhode Island Bar Exam
Rhode Island administers the Uniform Bar Exam over two full days, at a cost of $975 to the National Conference of Bar Examiners. It consists of the MBE, the MPT and the MEE. The MBE is the Multistate Bar Exam. It’s 200 multiple choice questions, with 100 in the morning and another 100 in the afternoon. The MPT is the Multistate Performance Test. You’re given two performance tests at 90-minutes apiece. You’ll separate relevant from irrelevant facts, analyze case materials, apply the law and resolve the question presented. The third part is the MEE which consists of six essay questions over three hours. Don’t forget about the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) either. You’ll be required to pass this exam with a scaled score of 80 or greater. The bar will not admit you until such time as you’ve passed this. The cost of the Petition for Admission to the Rhode Island bar should be found at the Rhode Island bar.
Upon passing the Rhode Island bar exam, you’ll be notified accordingly. Congratulations! You’re a lawyer now. Indeed, it was worth every bit of hard work. You can work in any state court in Rhode Island.