Preparing for Law School
How Can I Prepare for Law School?
High School Students
- Study, Study, Study! To attend law school, you must first complete a Bachelor’s degree program from a regionally accredited college or university. Strong performance in high school will help you gain admission into the undergraduate program of your choice, which in turn will help you succeed in the completion of a well respected course of study, earning good grades along the way- an important factor the in law school admissions process!
- If you have the opportunity, talk with lawyers in your community. It will help you gain an understanding of the profession, and you might even be able to shadow a lawyer!
The most important thing a current college student can do is to earn the best grades possible. This means hard work, and lots of study. While not the only factor, undergraduate GPA is a heavily weighted factor in the law school admissions process. So above all else, do the best that you can in your courses.
Freshman and Sophomore Year
- There is no particular major or field of study required for admission to law school. It is best to enroll in a course of study that you find interesting and engaging, and feel comfortable in. Having said that, there are several factors that may give your future application additional strength including: (1) selection of rigorous and challenging courses rather than “easy A courses”; (2) a well rounded course of study that includes work in humanities, social science, mathematics, science, English, and foreign language.
- In addition, those who wish to enter a specific area of the law will often fair better in the job market if they have selected a particular undergraduate major. For example, those who wish to specialize in patent law are well advised to select an undergraduate major in the hard sciences or engineering disciplines, while those who wish to focus on business law would do well to consider an undergraduate major in economics, finance, or other business related fields.
- Enrolling in required and elective courses that will give you practice in reading, writing, research, and critical thinking is a good idea, as developing these skills will serve you well in law school and beyond.
- Beyond coursework, it is important to begin to get involved in student organizations, extracurricular groups, or public service organizations which will show qualities of involvement and service and may be a way to gain a position of responsibility and leadership.
- Begin to establish relationships with professors whom you think might be able to write good letters of recommendation for you.
- Speak with local attorneys and begin to explore the legal profession.
- It is a good time to familiarize yourself with the application processes and requirements for some of the schools you think you may wish to attend. Application procedures are similar, and almost all schools require application through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). Visit a particular school’s website, or the LSAC website for information.
- The Junior year is a good time to begin preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), as an optimum time to take the LSAT is the summer before your senior year. The LSAT is not a knowledge based test, rather it is a skills based test. This means, the more you practice, the better you will score.
- Think about trying to secure a law-related summer internship to gain exposure to the law profession.
- Ask for letters of recommendation early in the year, and give your professors plenty of time to write the best letters possible. Supply them with any information that may help them (transcript, resume, reminder of your performance in their classes).
- Start writing your personal statement early. You will need plenty of time for multiple revisions. The personal statement must be free of grammatical and spelling errors.
- Start gathering any materials you will need for the application process early!
- Apply to any schools you are interested in as early as possible. Most schools use a rolling admissions process, which means that they do not wait to make decisions after all the applications are in. The earlier you apply the better chances you have at admission.
- If at all possible, it is a very good idea to visit the schools you are interested in. Each law school has a different feel and culture. It is important to select the school in a particular range that fits your needs.
- Carefully read and submit all applications and materials by each school’s deadline. Double check all materials, typos reflect poorly and can count against you in the admissions decision.
- Monitor your email and LSAC accounts to read and respond to any requests by the schools you have applied to. Ensure that you pay any deposits by the appropriate deadlines if you wish to hold a seat. Fill out a FAFSA so that the financial aid process will go quickly.
- Make your final selection, and notify other schools that you will not be attending. Finish your undergraduate program strong. Take some time to relax!