Dear Mentor:

What options exist in the US for research in family law?

I am an LLM student at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, India. I want to go to the US for a Research programme. I am specialising in Family Laws, and am keen on working on areas related to women, children, property and issues linked to family law. I would be grateful if you could guide me for getting information on Admissions and the required tests that I may have to take in India for Admission into a college there. Thanking you.

Madhavi Addala, Bangalore, India

Dear Madhavi Addala:

The area of law is somewhat unique relative to other areas of expertise in that it varies so fundamentally from country to country, let alone the varied statutes and legislative bodies. In fact in the US, as in most other countries, laws vary from state to state. One needs to take the Bar Exam unique to a state to obtain a professional license to practice law there. A Law Degree from India neither qualifies you nor prepares you sufficiently for the Bar Exam for any of the states in the US.

The first degree in Law in the US is typically called JD or Doctor of Jurisprudence. The educational qualification for getting into the JD program is a Bachelor's degree in any program from a "qualified" school. Typically if you have a first degree in law, which you do, you can pursue the next higher degree in Law, sometimes called LLM. Many schools offer this program.

We have a comprehensive Education Resource on iMahal, where you can find information on Law Colleges & Universities in the US. Since admission requirements vary considerably across schools, you would be well advised to research carefully the schools of interest to you. You can also find Rankings of Law Schools as well on iMahal.

Most schools in the US would require you to take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test), a standardized entrance exam, as a prerequisite for admission. Since English is not your first language, you may also be required take TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language), another standardized test.

You are probably late to apply for admission for this coming fall session, starting August-September, 2000. The admissions process for the fall 2001 session will begin August-September 2000 for most schools. We recommend that you start this process sooner than later.

Given your educational qualifications, you may also qualify for some other programs of study, such as a Master's degree in Public Health, PhD in Human Development, and so on. The PhD route may turn out to be least expensive if you can obtain financial support from your school, for which you are eligible. However, it all depends on your interests. To explore all possibilities for your future course of action, you may want to do your research using the iMahal Education Resource.

We wish you the best of luck!

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