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So, you want to study MEDIA LAW?

Considering media law? Well, it’s time to begin thinking outside the journalism world and begin to think like lawyers – or at least as a potential law student which means you need a plan.

No matter what the concentration, begin the search early. You may find that while one school does not offer an exact "media law" concentration, it may have entertainment and communications law with a special seminar about the media side. These circumstances make the decision of where to go to law school mainly objective from the matriculant.

When choosing a law school, however, several factors – that may not have been named in the undergraduate picking process – play a major role in a decision.

Here are some major points to look for:

LIBRARY RESOURCES: A large amount of coursework in law school will stem from research. With the law changing constantly, it is important to consider the library’s subscriptions to periodicals as well. Poor libraries may lead to a school dropping in ranking, which ultimately leads to fewer recruiters on campus.

JOB PLACEMENT: Nobody wants to go through at least 3 years of law school and find that there is no job to seek – everyone who went to the heavily recruited schools have taken the job. Not every student can attend Yale, but a school’s placement data must be evaluated. Look at what field you want to go into. If you want to apply your law degree to a career in a large private practice, than the University of California – where 24 percent of the graduating class went on to work for a private practice of more than 100 attorneys - would be more appealing than Mercer University where only 4 percent went on to work in a practice of 100 attorneys or more.

AVERAGE SALARIES: After three years of law school, many may be in debt. Relax – a law degree will pay for itself at the right school. The average salaries posted on a law school’s profile is a good indicator of how recruiters rank and perceive the program and their willingness to hire from a specific office.

VARIETY: Although students choose an area of concentration, it is important that a law school offer a variety of concentrations and seminars so students may learn in an interdisciplinary fashion. The more a student can learn in law school, the more likely they are to find a job. Keep your options open and do not choose a school solely based on one concentration area.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Of course location, expenses and distance play a role. Law school has been cited as “one of the hardest things to do, but the most rewarding.” With the pressures of school there is no room to be uncomfortable in a living situation. Make sure to check out surrounding areas and price compare on-campus and off-campus living.

View school profiles for several Media Law programs

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© 2002 Kimberly A. Lopez