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The Top Law Schools for Bankruptcy & Debt

by Van Thompson

If you already know that you want to pursue a career in bankruptcy law, this can help guide your law school choices. Unlike with a bachelor's degree, law school students can't choose a major. You can, however, take electives related to bankruptcy and pursue a Master of Laws degree in bankruptcy after you've graduated.

Law School Curriculum

No matter where you attend law school or what you want to do after graduation, most of your classes will be the same as every other law student. During the first year, you'll take basic courses such as legal writing, criminal and civil procedure, torts and professional ethics. In your second and third years, you'll have some space in your schedule for electives, and these can be used to take advanced business, bankruptcy and debt law courses.

School Options

U.S. News and World Report is a primary source for law school rankings, but doesn't rank law schools according to specific subjects. Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago, however, published a list of schools with the best bankruptcy and business law programs. According to Leiter, excellent schools for this subject area include Columbia University, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Chicago, University of Virginia and Yale University.

L.L.M. Programs

If you want to learn more about bankruptcy law, you can pursue a Master of Laws, commonly called an L.L.M., after graduation. L.L.M. programs typically require 24 semester hours and take about a year to complete on a full-time basis. Only a few schools offer L.L.M. programs in bankruptcy law, including St. John's University and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Internships and Externships

During law school, work programs provide students with the opportunity to gain experience in a specialty. Try seeking an internship or externship at a law firm specializing in bankruptcy and debt. If your school offers a law student clinic, volunteer to work with people facing bankruptcy and dealing with debt issues. A clerkship in federal court -- where bankruptcies are handled -- can also give you a strong background in bankruptcy law.

About the Author

Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

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