Congratulations on making it into a pre-law program! You’ve clearly worked hard, and deserve to feel proud of yourself. However, if a legal career is your dream, this is not the time to be complacent.
Preparing for school can be quite overwhelming in general, even if you’re not also thinking about pre-law. Fortunately, there are basic steps you can take to help yourself start your pre-law path on the right foot.
Understand Your Path
The path to getting a law degree is long and arduous. It will require a significant investment from you in terms of time, money, and, most importantly, diligence. The road is long, and you want to be sure you know what it will look like.
- Pre-Law- Pre-law refers to the undergraduate coursework that will prepare you for law school. Your undergraduate GPA and your extracurricular work (including voluntary activities) will be a deciding factor in your law school admissions process. You can major in any subject you like (some popular social sciences, English, history, and foreign policy).
- LSAT- The LSAT is required for admission into American Bar Association(ABA) accredited law programs across the US. It is a highly competitive exam. You will have to answer multiple-choice-based questions from 3 sections: logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. It also includes a compulsory but unscored essay writing section.
- Law School- Law school may well be the most intense and exciting few years of your journey to becoming a lawyer. The JD (Juris Doctor) program is a three-year program designed on the principles of the Socratic teaching method. By the end of the course, you will be able to use your critical thinking and legal knowledge to tackle legal cases and debates efficiently.
- Internships- Legal internships will provide you with the much-needed practical experience that you will require to handle complicated cases independently. Ideally, you should aim to secure as many of these experiences as possible throughout your undergraduate years.
- The Bar Exam- The Bar Exam is the final step in your journey. Every state and territory of the United States has its own rules and regulations for administering the Bar Exam. Typically, it is a two-day exam featuring multiple-choice, essay, and legal writing-based questions that thoroughly test your legal knowledge and aptitude.
Reach Out to Your Advisor As Soon As Possible
At most institutions, all undergraduate students receive advisors. Your advisor may even specialize in supporting pre-law students. They can assist you with:
- Gaining exposure to the legal field
- Selecting specific undergraduate courses that will complement your legal studies in law school
- Securing internships as a pre-law student
- Researching what law schools could be right for you
- Helping you with your law school applications
The law school admission process is cut-throat. Your pre-law advisor will help you make your application stand out.
Connect With Other Pre-Law Students
Pre-law is the first of the many steps in your journey to becoming a successful lawyer. It is easy to find yourself overwhelmed by the curriculum, LSAT prep, and extracurriculars, all while maintaining a solid GPA. Connecting with other pre-law students is a great idea since they will be in the same boat as you are. You can support one another as you deal with the stressors and successes of pre-law and beyond.
Many institutions organize events (whether in-person or virtual) to bring pre-law students together. These are great opportunities for you to interact and connect with other like-minded individuals. Who knows, maybe some of you might even end up in the same law school or working together down the line.
Start Preparing For The LSAT
The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) is one of the most competitive exams in the US, with most top law schools consistently requiring scores above 165 to consider admission applications. Thus, to ensure that you leave no stone unturned in your prep, you should begin preparing for the exam as early as possible. The following tips will help you get started:
- Find The Best LSAT Prep Course For You- Prep courses are well-structured online or offline programs explicitly designed to give you a competitive edge on the LSAT. They can be extremely helpful, especially if you’re in the early stages of pre-law.
- Find Resources That Suit You- Don’t just buy the shiniest-looking book on the shelf. Instead, you can do a little research (maybe visit your school/local library) and obtain the books and resources that suit your study style.
- Attempt Practice Exams- Be sure to take practice exams regularly to familiarize yourself with the examination pattern and the style of questions. They will also help you with time management, an important skill for any competitive examination.
Get Some Volunteer Hours In
Law school admission officers do not just look at student academics but also extracurricular activities. They want to see where your interests lie, and how strong your sense of civic duty is. Not only that, but volunteering is also incredibly fulfilling and can serve as a refreshing break from your academics.
Discuss with your pre-law advisor about which volunteering opportunities would suit you and at the same time also complement your law school application. Then, make sure that you get some quality volunteer hours before your school kicks into high gear.
A Marathon, Not a Sprint
Law is a coveted profession. Succeeding as you work toward your law degree and bar accreditation will require you to be diligent in your academics and determined in your goal for over seven years. Pre-law is the first step in this marathon, and you can use the tips above to help you make the best out of it.