Law school is one of the many stops on the long educational journey to a career in law. Whether you have high ambitions of becoming a judge or desire a firm understanding of the bill before entering a career in politics, every lawyer must go through the same educational loops.
But the steps for how to get into law school can be incredibly confusing. Luckily, we included this helpful article so you can navigate the process.
What Is Law School and What Does It Entail?
Before you can apply to law school, you must hold a bachelor's degree in any subject. The specific item does not matter, but generally, law students choose subjects like English, Political Science, Business, or Economics.
The individual applies for law school must also pass the Law School Admission Test, also known as the LSAT. The LSAT measures scores regarding a candidate's core critical skills. It takes into account things reasoning, critical thinking, reading skills, and argumentation.
The resulting scores and your undergraduate history will give the law school admission officers a good picture of your potential as a candidate. You will also need forward your undergraduate transcript to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), as well as letters of recommendation from your professors.
You can also give a personal statement if you feel any part of your application deserves an additional explanation.
When Would You Need to Go to Law School?
As we mentioned, most law school applicants begin the law school application process right before they graduate with their bachelor's degree. While the senior year of college is a big time for law student applications, it is not necessarily required.
You can apply to law school at any time. Some people pursue various graduate degrees before deciding a law education, while others try their hand at different careers. Ideally, you want a time in your life when you can manage it financially.
Law school costs quite a lot of money, and when you factor in things like college debt, living costs, and meager entry-level salaries, you will find that in many circumstances it becomes quite tricky staying afloat.
Helpful Tips For How to Get Into Law School
In this section, we give you some helpful tips for how to get into law school. Ideally, you should keep this advice in mind when studying for your bachelor's degree, since factors like GPA play a crucial factor.
How Important Is GPA When Applying
It is important to remember that your grade point average is an incredibly important factor when you apply for law school. In most cases, it is more important than the nuances of what class you take. As such, we recommend avoiding harder levels, if you can.
While these more challenging courses might certainly enrich your education more, the LSAC committee will not care if they require more effort and lower your overall GPA. Maximize your GPA where you can, especially in general education courses, which might reduce your average in the long run.
The LSAC committee analyzes your GPA by average all the undergraduate courses you completed before your first degree. So, you cannot increase your GPA by taking classes after you graduate.
How to Prepare for the LSAT
If you graduate with a grade point average that you are not proud of, then there is not much you can do that will fix it. Luckily, there is one fix that will help prove to the council that you are serious about practicing law: your LSAT score.
You might wonder why the LSAT is more important than a GPA — after all one only takes a couple of hours to complete, while the other takes a whole four year. But, it is essential to remember that undergraduate careers are often unpredictable.
A GPA can do due to factors like bad professors, hard classes, and hectic family emergencies. The LSAT, on the other hand, provides a uniform standardization when grading — meaning everyone takes the same test. As such, the LSAC committee places a greater emphasis on it.
So, if you want to make up for a bad GPA, then get serious about your LSAT score. Your score is the most important determining factor when it comes to whether or not you will get into law school. After all, the exam tests your competency as a future law student.
So how do you prepare for the LSAT? There are three directions you can take, though we recommend a combination of them that will fit your studying style. You can either sign up for an LSAT prep class, hire a private tutor, or by teaching guides and study by yourself.
Each of these methods comes with some pros and cons. A private tutor provides you with the most significant opportunity for learning since it is hands-on teaching. But, it does cost quite a lot, depending on the person teaching you.
Large prep classes are slightly more affordable, but they do not offer the personalized touch of a private tutor. Studying by yourself is cheap, but if you do not understand a concept, then you will not have anyone to explain it to you.
As such, we recommend choosing two options, or all three if you are serious about preparing for the exam.
How to Choose a School
When applying to different schools, you should never limit yourself to one or two hard cut options, because the odds are you will find yourself disappointed. A good rule of thumb you can follow is selecting five schools you probably will not get into, five schools you might get into and five schools you definitely will get into.
This option will cover all of your bases when you apply, and you will most likely get some backup options if you plan realistically. However, there is also another consideration you must keep in mind when using to school.
Geographic location is important because if you cannot move cities due to loved ones, then you will want to find a school within driving distance. It is also crucial for things like scholarship costs. Financial costs should remain at the top of your list too. Not all law schools cost the same.
More prestigious options or schools in different countries can cost a lot more. If you have your heart set on a particular school, but you cannot afford it, then you will either need to take out loans or apply for a scholarship.
At this point, you should also look at your big picture goals. By thinking about the type of law you want to practice, you can ideally situate yourself in a city with a lot of firms that cater to your goals. That way you can land the internship and future job you want.
As we mentioned when you apply to law school, you must include your resume, letters of recommendation and law school application. Keep in mind that unlike any undergraduate applications, your law school application will inquire about your criminal history.
As such, you should always disclose any prior convictions. Submit your law application by December 1st, but preferably much sooner if you want a better chance of getting into the school. In regards to your statement, we recommend you keep it short, around two pages and stay on prompt.
You also need to consider things like early-decision applications that require you to go to school if you decide to go. Keep in mind that these type of binding decisions usually limit your scholarship options.
Why Is Law School Important?
Law school is essential beyond the obvious reasons like it is the next logical step to becoming a lawyer. Though getting in might seem like the hard part, staying in can be more difficult.
The school provides you with extensive education regarding the history of all types of laws, but the constitutional laws or labor laws. It also gives you first-hand exposure to the way the justice system works.
On top of that, you will have the opportunity to write for law publications, hone your negotiation skills and pursue private practice.
While it might sound overwhelming, a successful law degree can provide you with everything you need to succeed in whatever branch of law you choose to take. So good looking during your application process.
We hope this article helped you figure out how to get into law school. Law school is never a decision that you should take lightly, and the long, arduous admission process is a testament to that. But if you possess the determination, then you can enter the ranks of the judicial system.