You’ve got questions about being pre-law and applying to law school, and I have your answers!
Have another question not listed on this blog? Email me, the pre-law guru, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will email you back personally.
The easy answer is no, but the long answer is that you should take courses that:
Course examples: Public speaking, Business Law, Philosophy courses (Logic, Ethics, etc.), Political Science (Constitutional Law, International Law, etc.), English/Writing courses, Economics courses
There are no preferred majors for applying to law school, but it’s crucial to do well in your classes and earn a high GPA.
However, it’s important to select a major that you truly enjoy and are passionate about. You will do better in coursework that you are interested in and will have a greater opportunity to attain academic success.
Get involved in activities and organizations that interest you the most. Law schools like to build their classes with passionate, diverse, and well-rounded students. Activity examples include: political campaign assistance, fellowships, Americorp, Teach for America, consultant, Government intern, etc.
All of your activities do not need to relate directly to law or law school, but you should take the time to investigate if law school is the right path for you.
Many students pursue internships and/or jobs to develop leadership skills, entrepreneurial abilities, communication, and collaboration skills.
You could also choose to become involved with your campus pre-law society or mock trial team. If your school doesn’t have either of these, think about starting one!
There is no exact timeline for when you should apply to law school. It depends entirely on when you feel that you will have the strongest application to law school and what works for your life path.
For some applicants, it could be wise to take time off between undergrad and law school to figure out if law is truly right for them. These applicants might work in a variety of fields such as education, public service, politics, finance, etc.
You do not need to find a job in a law firm setting, but you should focus on the quality of your experience and the skills that you will build from that experience.
The two primary factors are:
Other factors that will be considered are:
Your personal statement should give the admissions committee an idea on who you are beyond your GPA and LSAT score. Avoid regurgitating your resume as you need to say something unique about yourself and your aspirations.
Think of your personal statement as your interview for law school, as most schools do not interview.
Your narrative should focus on personal experiences that will express your motivation and focus to succeed in a law career. You’ll also need to showcase your ability to write well, since strong communication skills are important in law school and as a lawyer.
Check out my past blog post: The Ultimate Law School Application Timeline.
But the short answer is that you will begin your applications in the fall before you plan to matriculate, and you will need to submit your applications by Thanksgiving at the very latest.
The LSAT is administered several times per year with planned test dates in June, July, September, October, November, January, February, March, and April.
The ideal time to take the LSAT depends on your schedule, preparation, and application plans.
You should dedicate about three months of intensive preparation before taking the exam. It is best to take the LSAT by October of your planned application year (remember- applications are due by Thanksgiving).
For more details on the exam and specific test dates, visit the LSAC website.
It is not advisable to take the LSAT more than once since schools will see all attempts at the exam in your CAS report. The best approach is to prepare well the first time around.
You should only think about retaking the exam if exceptional circumstances prohibited you from achieving your best possible score (i.e. noise outside the testing center, illness, family emergency, etc.). Most students do not see a significant score increase the second time around.
Practice, practice, practice.
The LSAT is not a test that you should take lightly or try to cram for. The more practice exams that you take, the better you will do. You should aim to take 12-15 full-length, timed practice exams. This will build your stamina for a lengthy exam and help with your timing in answering questions.
Before you start prepping for the exam, take a free practice test. Also, consider researching test prep companies to aid in your preparation. Always be mindful of your time, budget, and the best learning environment for you (online or in-person).
You should approach this process thoughtfully by researching individual programs. Do not select schools based solely on their ranking and reputation, since that does not necessarily mean the school will be a good fit for you.
Other factors to consider are the location of schools and where you would like to eventually practice law.
Students typically apply to around 8-12 schools and have a range of reach, mid-range, and safety schools. Be realistic about your credentials and apply to a well-balanced list of schools.
You can start your research by using the GPA/LSAT Score Search through LSAC.