If you’re considering law school and want to know if there’s anything you should do to prepare for it, read on to find out more about law school prep!
While popular TV shows and movies often wrongfully depict lawyers as cut-throat professionals who always handle high-profile cases and win, they usually accurately depict law school. Law school is highly competitive, requires a lot of dedication, and can be very stressful.
Luckily, there are ways you can begin preparing for law school, so it’s less daunting, which is what this guide will cover.
Your law school preparations can begin as early as middle school, all the way up until the summer before you attend! Here are some tips to prepare for law school at each stage of your academic career.
Middle school is not too early to start thinking about law school! Here are some first steps to take in your preparations.
While job experience is important for law school, you may still be too young in middle school to be employed. The good news, though, is that there are plenty of great volunteer ideas and opportunities for middle schoolers to gain experience!
Some examples include:
Volunteering will not only give your application an edge but will also genuinely form you into a more well-rounded person and help you gain valuable skills!
To be a good lawyer, you need to have strong communication and public speaking skills. Trying your hand at debate is a great way to develop those skills in middle school. Other extracurriculars like drama club or foreign languages can also help you improve your speaking skills.
The most important thing you can do to prepare for law school is to develop and keep good study habits. Forming these habits in middle school will help you solidify them for the rest of your time in school. You’ll be able to maintain consistent grades from a young age.
In high school, you can step up your law school preparations. Here are some things you can do.
Excellent reading and writing skills are crucial to succeed in law school. Honing these skills will make it easier to succeed in university, to pass the LSAT, and to excel at law school.
Many highly-ranked schools offer summer programs for middle and high school students to experience what life at law school is like. This is a perfect chance to make connections and to see for yourself what to expect.
Your career counselor is an excellent resource! They can help you decide on a wise path early in your academic career to help you gain access to many law school opportunities.
Challenging yourself by taking more advanced classes in high school will help to prepare you for the demands of high-level undergraduate courses and, in turn, life at law school.
Your first year of undergrad is a perfect time to lay the groundwork for success in law school. Here’s what you can do to prepare.
Law schools will look at your GPA when reviewing your application, so it’s a good idea to solidify good study habits early on in university. You can set yourself up for success by choosing a major you both enjoy and excel in so your grades won’t slip.
Joining a pre-law group on your university campus is a great way to learn more about law practice, build connections and networks, and get help with application and LSAT prep.
When you apply for law school, you’ll need recommendation letters. Building strong relationships with your professors from the get-go will make it easier for you to get personal, meaningful letters from them.
Cultivating a strong relationship with your professors can also help you to perform better in classes and to understand the material better.
As the law school preparations continue into your second year, here are some things to consider.
Your sophomore year is a great time to start looking into internships and other work opportunities. You’ll need some hands-on experience for your law school applications, as well as reference letters from professional supervisors.
Now that you’ve spent time exploring different courses in past years, it’s time to narrow your focus. Choose classes and activities that emphasize leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication.
Here are some steps you can take as you get closer and closer to applying to law school.
Your pre-law advisor can help you choose a wise course of action. They can help you decide on law school, study for the LSAT, and get connected with a wider network.
In your third year, it’s particularly important to prioritize your grades. Make sure you use your good study habits to maintain a high GPA for law school.
If your GPA has dropped in the past few years, don’t fret. There are still strategies you can use to get into law school with a lower GPA.
The LSAT is a challenging test that is necessary for law school admission. To help you manage LSAT stress, give yourself lots of time to prepare. This means starting your preparations in your junior year at least.
You’re almost there! Here’s what you can do in your fourth year to prepare for law school.
Now is the time to confirm which schools you want to apply to. It may be tempting to send out applications everywhere, but don’t forget about application fees. It’s cheaper to apply only to your top choices.
You can narrow down which schools you’d like to apply to by booking a tour through the school’s admissions office. This gives you the opportunity to sit in on classes and connect with professors, students, and alumni.
It’s a good idea to have all your application materials together well in advance. You’ll need to write a personal statement, put together a resume, and ask for recommendation letters from professors and supervisors. Make sure you pay attention to the requirements of each school you’re applying to.
Here’s how to prepare for law school in a few simple steps.
Law schools have extremely rigorous curriculums that you can fall behind on if you don’t have good study habits. Since practice makes perfect, you should develop good study habits during your undergrad. This means keeping up with those readings you’ve been putting off!
Your undergrad is an excellent trial run to determine which study methods work best for you.
As you develop your study habits, you can hone your organizational, time management, and prioritization skills.
While law schools typically have no preference over which major you choose to pursue, they like to see that students are intellectually curious and have developed vital analytical skills.
Some courses that law schools appreciate are:
While law school places less emphasis on the exact courses you take, you should try taking courses that sharpen your analytical skills, develop new ones, and provide you with different perspectives on the world.
This may be a no-brainer, but excellent reading skills are essential to succeed in law school. Unlike your undergrad, you won’t be able to get away with skipping readings in law school, and many of them will be tedious to get through.
Law textbooks are full of legal jargon that can get confusing, so it’s important you also develop good note-taking skills and the ability to synthesize complex information into easily comprehensible study notes.
You can best develop these skills during undergrad, as you’ll be reading complex texts and creating thorough study notes.
Other vital readings that can prepare you for law school are books written by law professors for aspiring law students. Two excellent options are “Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams” and “1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professors’ Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School.”
While many undergraduate students struggle to get actual legal experience, other work or volunteer experience can be just as helpful! When you begin applying to law schools, you’ll likely have to complete a resume, personal statement, and other essays that detail the experience you bring to your legal education.
To ensure you come across as a well-rounded candidate, you’ll want to participate in extracurriculars during your undergrad. You may join school clubs you’re passionate about, volunteer abroad, or volunteer locally at organizations you feel connected to. Law schools often look at extracurriculars to examine your community engagement and leadership skills.
You may also pursue a job during your undergrad where you can demonstrate leadership, time management, and impact. This job can be in any field, so long as you can relate it to the skills required to be a successful law student.
In law school, you’ll be expected to do the unexpected almost every day. Law school will push you to step outside your comfort zone regularly, whether it be mock trials, moot courts, or professors calling on you to explain minute details of a complex legal document.
So, to ease the stress of this experience, you can begin forcing yourself outside of your comfort zone before law school! If you’re nervous about speaking in front of your peers, try forcing yourself to participate during your undergrad lectures or join clubs where you have to speak in front of large crowds.
This step is most prevalent in the final years of your undergrad, when most students ask for letters of recommendation from their professors. To secure strong letters, you should build strong connections with your professors throughout your degree.
Ensure you participate in class, ask your professors thoughtful questions, ask for help, and attend office hours!
While you should aim to maintain a high GPA throughout your undergrad, your junior and senior years are when you want to focus the most on keeping your grades high.
A high GPA is one of the only definite scores that admissions committees have to compare you to other students–and having a low GPA can significantly impact your admission chances!
As you enter the final years of your undergrad, you should begin studying by creating a good schedule and picking a few LSAT dates so you can retake the test. Many students study and write their LSAT during the summer of their junior year.
If you entered your undergrad straight after high school, entering another rigorous three-year JD program might cause you to burn out or not perform as well as you’d like to.
So, you might want to take a gap year! During this gap year, you can gain valuable work or volunteer experience, build your resume, or even rewrite your LSAT to make yourself a more competitive candidate.
While this last step won’t necessarily prepare you for law school, it can help you survive it!
It’s no secret that law school can be extremely stressful. You’ll need to find a way to de-stress to reduce your chances of burning out. The best way to do this is to begin exploring your interests while you have time during your undergrad.
The following answers to frequently asked questions about how to prepare for law school can resolve any remaining questions you have.
You should know there isn’t one right way to begin preparing for law school, but developing the proper study habits and skills can help you transition into law school more easily! You should also be aware of the rigorous curriculum and that you’ll need to put in a lot of hard work to succeed in law school.
You should maintain a high GPA, build your resume, and begin studying for the LSAT early to score high and form strong connections with your professors.
There isn’t a preferred major that can prepare you for law school. You should choose a major you enjoy to make it easier to maintain a high GPA.
You can begin preparing for law school throughout your undergrad, so you have enough time to find extracurriculars you enjoy, develop good study habits, and take diverse courses that expand your knowledge.
In your first year, you can test out different study methods and take several extracurriculars to find out what you can manage and what interests you most.
You should give yourself enough time to study for the LSAT and retake it, so most students begin studying for their LSAT during the summer of their junior year.
The best ways for high schoolers to prepare for law school are to:
These tips will help you properly prepare for law school!
During your undergrad, you can prepare for law school by joining a pre-law organization on campus and talking to your pre-law advisor. You can also book visits to law schools, find internship opportunities, and study for the LSAT.
To prepare for law school over the summer, you should set a budget, spend lots of time reading, and establish healthy habits. You can also pursue a legal internship or attend a summer program.
Remember to enjoy your summer so that you can enter law school without stress!
Going to law school can be nerve-wracking, especially with all the horror stories about 100-page readings and intimidating, unforgiving professors. However, if you begin preparing for law school early and develop the right skills to succeed, you’ll be able to adjust to law school more efficiently and with less stress!