If you want a future career in law, there are things you can do to prepare yourself.
- Know Which Classes And Activities You Need During Your Undergrad
While law schools don’t require a specific major for acceptance, you will want to consider the following majors:
- Political Science
- Business Administration
- Criminal Justice
No matter what major you choose, make sure you pursue something you are passionate about.
In addition to doing well in your undergrad courses, law schools will want to see that you have interests outside of class.Consider working or volunteering at a law firm or at a law-related place. Gain a perspective of what it’s like to work in the law field as well as make connections.
Get involved with extracurricular activities to help you prepare for law school. Join the debate team where you will develop strong communication skills and learn how to form decisive arguments.See if there are research opportunities with one of your professors. Conducting research can help you develop skills in data collection and analysis. Research is one of the strongest extracurricular activities you can add to your law school application.
Most colleges and universities have a pre-law society you can join. This will help you prepare for law school by offering law-related activities on campus like mock trials, negotiation workshops, and cross-examination exercises. Or join your school’s Model United Nations or Student Congress. Either of these will help test your skills in diplomacy, ability to negotiate and mediate disputes.
- Know What the LSAT is and What is on It
The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is a half-day, standardized test specifically designed to assess key skills that you will need to succeed in law school. These skills include reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning.
When you are starting to prepare for the LSAT, you will want to make sure that you register early. Registration for the LSAT should take place ten to twelve months before you plan on taking it.
Once you register for the LSAT, you will want to start studying. The test consists of multiple-choice sections that take 35-minutes each with one unscored experimental section. The experimental part is a wild card and will used by the test maker to see how questions will perform on future versions of the LSATs.
The rest of the test consists of:
- There are two sections of Logical Reasoning, which is worth 50% of your total score. The section will test your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments by having you read short passages and answer a question about each one.
- Reading Comprehension is worth 27% of your total score and will tests your ability to make sense of dense and unfamiliar prose. You need to understand the passages’ structure, purpose, and various points of view, rather than the facts.
- Logic Games is worth 23% of your total score and tests you on basic logic, systems of order, and outcomes. There are also analytical reasoning questions that will ask you to make deductions from a set of statements, rules, or conditions.
- One essay or writing sample isn’t scored but is sent to law schools along with your LSAT score. The essay is frequently used to help law schools choose between two relatively equal candidates.
- Make Sure to Study and Prepare for the LSAT
Once you are registered for the LSAT, you will want to start studying and preparing right away. Set up a study schedule so you can balance your undergrad courses with study time. Next, purchase study materials and study guides and take practice tests. Practice tests will help you gain perspective of what the real timed test will be like on your test day. Consider joining astudy group or find a partner to help you study or sign up for an LSAT prep course. Study groups and prep courses will help you learn how to read the questions on the test and how to choose the correct answer.
As you are studying for the LSAT, you will want to master grammar and logic.Grammar is the language of law, and the LSATs will use it to try and confuse you. The LSAT tests your ability to analyze and decipher complicated sentences. So, once you understand what the questions and answers say, you will need logic to understand how things play out.
- Research and Apply To Schools
Before you send in your applications, you will want to research schools that you would like to attend. Read reviews of the schools and professors. Check out the job assistance program for each school, and look for schools that allow you to take some courses online. Make sure to look into tuition costs as well as financial aid opportunities.
Once you have chosen the schools you want to apply to, you will need to send in your applications. Applications are considered in the order in which they are completed. A completed application will include:
- Undergraduate Degree
- LSAT Score
- Personal Statement
- Letters of recommendation
- Additional information to think about including: resume, work history, extracurricular activities pertaining to law, volunteer work, etc.
- Application fee
Remember that timing is important when submitting your application because law schools admit students on rolling admissions process.
- Know What to Expect During School
The Juris Doctor program is designed to help you develop the legal skills and abilities you need to become a successful lawyer. You will develop a strong understanding of legal fundamentals, concepts, and theories. The courses you take will help you develop analytical, research, and writing skills as you learn the history of law in the United States and how to apply it to today’s society. You will participate in case studies and conduct research work as you learn how to apply various laws to real-life legal matters.
Some subjects covered in a law curriculum include:
- Constitutional law
- Criminal justice
- Civil procedure
- Democracy and coercion
- Legal process and society
To become a lawyer, you must graduate from a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA accreditation signifies that the law school has satisfied and sustained certain standards established to ensure a quality legal program).
- Prepare for Your Career as a Lawyer
Once you have completed law school, you will need to take the bar exam in the state you plan on practicing in since each state has its own requirements. The bar exam is a two-day examination that will test your knowledge of legal principles and the state’s laws. In addition, the exam might also include a test that will measure your understanding of professional conduct.
After you obtain your law license, you will need to find an associate-level job at a law firm. Most lawyers start their career by working with more experienced lawyers and attorneys. As an associate, your duties will include:
- Conducting research and analyzing legal problems
- Interpreting laws
- Preparing and filing legal documents
- Preparing documents for trials
- Advising clients and representing them in court
These six tips will help you prepare for a lucrative career in law.