Going to law school takes a lot of grit and laser focus. It’s not an education that’s for the faint of heart. Even if you did well in your undergraduate studies, be prepared for a learning curve at the beginning where it may look like you’re not doing so well in law school. It’s critical that you learn everything you can about the schools you want to apply to. Additionally, these are the top things to know before you apply to law school to help you find the right schools and alleviate some of the culture shocks from going from undergraduate programs into law school.
Location Matters for Various Reasons
It’s also vital to understand that location matters in the sense of not only the school itself but the city it’s in. Going to Yale Law School will introduce you to different people than you would meet at the San Francisco Law School. But being in a city like San Francisco will provide you with important opportunities that you wouldn’t have at a school like Yale that’s not in a major metropolitan area. For those wanting to work in corporate law, especially at a big tech company, you’d want to be in places closer to Silicon Valley so you can be in the right circles.
You’ll Spend All Your Time Studying
If you spent your undergrad years partying and you still got good enough grades to get you into law school, your life is about to change dramatically. Law school requires a ton of study, a lot of focus, and very long hours spent in the library learning the material you’ll need to know to eventually pass the bar exam.
Most of the friend time you’ll get in law school will be fleeting or spent in study groups. When you do have the chance, make a few friends outside the law field, and de stress by not talking about how overwhelming your schooling is.
The LSAT is Not Always Required Anymore
In previous years, the LSAT was the gold standard along with exceptional grades to help a student get into law school. Nowadays, some schools may accept outstanding GRE scores in lieu of the LSAT. And even more curious is that a few schools may even let you forego those altogether if your undergraduate grades are exceptional. There are other factors that might help a law school decide if you’re right for their programs. It’s important to learn the requirements of the law schools you intend to apply to before you invest in any of the tests.
You Don’t Need a Law Degree to Work in the Legal Field
Being passionate about the law and wanting to be a lawyer are two different things. For those who are planning a career in communications or marketing, a law degree may not be required. While it may not hurt to get one, it might also be a little overkill if your career aspirations in the legal field don’t hinge on you getting one.
You’re Going to Need to Talk in Class
While undergraduate programs are typically lecture-style with very few opportunities for responses from the students, law school is very different. They approach teaching legal topics by asking students questions in the classroom and expecting answers. This can be intimidating at first, so it’s best that you know you’ll be called upon in your legal classes to respond. It’s important to be prepared.
Law School is Expensive
No matter which school you go to, it’s likely you’ll need to take out a significant portion of your legal education in student loans unless you get college scholarships or have another way to pay them like you invested wisely or you have a trust fund. Some students work part-time jobs while they are in law school to help offset these costs. It’s important to evaluate this cost against the potential you’ll make in the law field you’re planning to go into. While some firms will help new lawyers pay off their debt, it’s not guaranteed, and the bills can be overwhelming much like those who attend medical school because law school is also expensive.
People Have a lot of Opinions About Lawyers
When you meet people who find out you’re studying to become a lawyer, they have varying degrees of opinions about that field. They range from distrust and disgust to curiosity to those who ask for help with legal problems. You’ll meet all of them on your journey. Don’t get discouraged though, stay focused on your goals and you can reach whatever heights you desire in your career path.