Thinking of Applying to Law School?
Facts on the Legal Profession
- The marketplace for new lawyers remains strong and should continue for several years.
- A law degree is considered prestigious with considerably high earning potential in certain areas.
- A legal education offers a fair amount of flexibility and can open doors to opportunities within and outside of the legal profession.
- Many employers are recognizing that law school graduates can offer them a broad range of skills that they may not necessarily find in other applicants.
It is still, however, important to remain realistic about what the field of law entails. The well-padded life of a corporate attorney with a large expense account is more myth than reality. The media continues to perpetuate an inaccurate portrayal of the legal profession as a glamorous occupation with high profile attorneys and exhilarating court cases. This is not always the case for most attorneys’, particularly new associations just starting out. Using the Career Development Center's LinkedIn Mentor Network can put you in touch with alumni who are currently working in the field of law and can give you a chance to talk to them about their experiences.
Before you decide to apply to law school, you need to research the occupation thoroughly.
How much do you know about the field of Law?
- Explore different areas of law, such as corporate, family, environmental, patent, entertainment, public interest work, and others.
- Find out what lawyers do on a day-to-day basis, especially those in the fields you are interested in.
- Most areas are unique in their clientele, work environment and earning potential.
- Although information interviews can be very helpful to your research, working in or volunteering with a law firm can also provide valuable exposure to the field on a consistent basis.
The Career Development Center has a number of resources that can help you secure either type of experience, such as an internship or related experience.
How to Choose a Law School
- Contact law schools to find out what the experience will entail.
- Talk/shadow with current law students to get an understanding of their experience first hand.
- Some schools permit prospective applicants to attend or audit a first year class.
- Contact the Law School Admissions Office of your choice for details on what you can do to gain experience.
- Consider the facilities at the schools you are considering, such as libraries and tutorials, the focus of its curriculum, its students association and placement rate.
- Use the LSAC and LSDAS (Law School Data Assembly Service) Registration and Information Book published annually by the Law School Admission Council. It contains lists of U.S Law schools approved by the American Bar Association, and also of schools not approved by the ABA
What do Law Schools look for in a candidate?
The most important factors in gaining admissions are generally:
- Competitive Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) scores
- A strong GPA and a solid undergraduate curriculum
- A broad-based education
- Faculty recommendations are also highly important, including one from your major department.
- Demonstrated leadership and are actively involved in school and community activities.
- Work experience, travel and cultural experiences and having a diverse background are very helpful to your candidacy for law school.
Preparing for the LSAT
- You should plan to take the LSAT in June following your Junior year or October of your Senior year.
- Taking it later will delay your application, which can affect your eventual acceptance.
- It is advised that you only take the test once, unless extraordinary circumstances affect your score. Studies show that retaking the test result in little, if any, improvement.
- The decision to take a commercial course or study on your own to prepare for the LSAT depends on your individual situation.
- Commercial test prep programs can be helpful, however, if committed and diligent about studying, individual preparation is just as sufficient.
The Career Development Center has booklets available, from the Law School Admission Council, describing the LSAT and test preparation guidelines, as well as upcoming test dates. You can also access this information from the Law School Admission Council.
When to Apply?
- Most law schools admit in the fall semester and generally have a limited number of seats available.
- Start planning for admission at least one year before your desired date of enrollment.
- Applications become available toward the end of the summer, with deadlines beginning mid-fall.
- Decisions to admit, wait-list, or deny vary depending on the institution.
- Always start early. It is better to have everything ready early than to scramble at the last minute.
- Law School Timetable
LSAT Test Prep
Selected Web Resources: