The journey that you take in your undergraduate years prepares you for another journey called law school. You’re likely to have several legal jobs over the course of a career. Maybe you’ll choose law school right after your undergraduate studies, or maybe after taking a couple of years off to bank some money and see which way student loan forgiveness is going. Either way, whatever you learn about law school will undoubtably help you to make that transition. This is the place where you’ll learn about preparing for and getting into law school. If that’s what you wish to do with your life, it’s going to be time well spent.
Prepare for Law School in Undergraduate Years
The squeaky wheel gets the oil, so be that squeaky wheel. Stay away from advisors who will give you worthless advice, and have you taking worthless classes that will only discourage you. If you already know where you want to go to law school, go right to the source. Talk with law students there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. That person who is in law school now had many of the same questions before they started their journey too. You’re likely to get much more detailed answers from somebody who knows what they’re talking about.
Maintain that Grade Point Average
Whether you’re finishing high school, starting at a community college or a four-year college, you must maintain your grade point average. Listen to your heart. Law schools don’t really care what your undergraduate degree is in. They care about whether you’re challenged and how you held up to that challenge. On that note, a degree in the biomedical sciences might be as valuable as a degree in information technology, and a degree in information technology might be as valuable as a degree in comparative literature. It’s all what you make of it. Get challenged, and stay challenged. A 3.25 grade point average will be a big plus.
Be Mindful of the Fact that there is No Such Thing as Pre-Law
A pre-law degree doesn’t exist. You won’t find one anywhere in the country. You can take courses or even major in a field that touches on law, but be careful of those. You don’t want to get thrown into a program for a degree that you don’t want. Even a degree in general studies works. You’re exposed to a wide range of coursework, and you have acquired a broad range of knowledge. Classes like administration of justice, political science, government, sociology and psychology will all prepare you for law school. Even joining an organization dedicated to pre-law endeavors like selecting law schools or working on applications to them might be beneficial. Just remember that there’s no such thing as a pre-law degree.
Law School Research
Finding a law school that you match up with is a formidable task. Most of us won’t get into an Ivy League law school, and only some will be admitted to a major state law school. There are more than 200 law schools that are accredited by the American Bar Association though. You’re likely to find a good match if you start soon enough. Indeed, the reputation of the law school that you attend is important, but it’s not everything. If you graduate at or near the top of your law school class, you’ll be knee-deep in job offers that are waiting for you when you graduate.
Visiting Law Schools
This is generally a productive measure, especially if you live in a large city where there are a number of law schools. Visit them, and talk with current students and faculty. Maybe you’ll find that the law school that’s best for you is right in your back yard. Maybe you’ve found that you limited yourself too much, but the law school that best suits you is a couple of states over. Don’t limit yourself geographically.
Taking the LSAT
This is when things get serious. The LSAT is an abbreviation for the Law School Admission Test. It’s an exam of about three hours in length that tests your abilities at law school. It examines your aptitude at analytical and rational analysis, reading comprehension and your writing abilities. It’s probably like nothing you’ve ever seen before, so take a preparatory class before you take the LSAT. It teaches you how to take the test, and it can add 10 points or more onto your score. Scores are between a low of 120 and a high of 180. That extra 10 points can make a world of difference in where you go to law school. Whatever it costs, it’s almost sure to be well worth the price.
Get that Bachelor’s Degree First
Don’t jump the gun. Make sure that you’re graduating or graduated before applying for law schools. Then, contact the Credential Assembly Service, and get registered. You’ll be using the CAS for every law school application that you submit to an American Bar Association accredited law school. It costs $215 and $45 per law school that you apply to. Read more about the CAS at the highlighted link. A good plan would be to apply to four or five law schools. By doing so, you’re improving the chance of a law school admitting you. If more than one admits you, you’ll have some pleasant decisions to make.
7 Suggestions to Prepare for Law School:
You’ll learn that there will never be sufficient preparation for law school or the practice of law. That’s why you need to prepare as well as possible. Try the following suggestions.
- No law school is going to require you to take a prep class before taking the LSAT. Remember that such a class not only prepares you for the test, but also prepares your brain for what you’re going to encounter in the future. The same type of thinking will be done in law school, but this time, it has everything to do with the law. Start well ahead of time.
- Find a lawyer who will pay you a few bucks an hour to do the grunt work around the firm. This is an incredibly valuable experience whether is filing or helping on a brief. You’ll be doing something that you’ll be doing in the future.
- Meeting a lawyer informally will help you decide which area of the law is best for you. You can meet with tort lawyers, family lawyers and even lawyers for the arts and entertainment. They can help you decide what your best fit is. It’s all based on your own input.
- Strengthen your writing ability before law school. Writing the law isn’t like writing fiction. It’s factual writing with supporting materials. Learn how to write clearly, concisely and smoothly. You don’t need to sound like a lawyer to be a good one.
- Study up on your brief taking skills. You’ll be briefing cases for the next three years. Facts, issues, the procedure involved, holding or rule of law and the rational for it will be the foundation of your legal studies. There are even special briefing notebooks that can be used to let you write notes in the margins.
- Black’s Law Dictionary is something you’ll probably have and sometimes refer to throughout your career. It won’t hurt to buy one before you start law school. Countless notebooks will be needed too. Canned briefs are often used for follow-up on cases, but don’t rely on them. Brief the case on your own, and if you are going to use canned briefs, use them as a mere study aid.
- Faster isn’t better. It’s highly unlikely that taking an Evelyn Wood speedreading course will help. There will be plenty of time to further develop your comprehension skills. Do that with legal related reading.
- Avoid indiscretions and getting on the wrong side of the law, especially with drugs or DUI. Most drug offenses are a felony, and many DUI offenses are felonies too. Every state has character and fitness investigations before you’re ever licensed to practice. Don’t put yourself on the wrong side of character and fitness. You may get your license to practice, but there might be strings attached to the license.
Take it all one day at a time, and manage your time wisely. It’s not an exaggeration when it’s said that you’ll be spending eight hours a day studying the law, so find the time. Understanding the law takes time and sacrifice. Make sure that you understand the materials before memorizing them, and you’ll do just fine.