It’s no secret that law school can be stressful and intense, from taking high-stakes final exams to choosing a path within law to applying for jobs. Fear not: we are here to help!
We are proud of our strong record of success with law school applicants! Read on for tips from clients who have excelled in law school about how to prepare for, navigate, and get the most out of these three years.
#1. Take a variety of college courses. Taking classes across disciplines, and paying attention to what you find most engaging, will provide a variety of perspectives that can inform your practice as a lawyer. (Also, it’s fun!)
“Enjoy taking undergraduate classes that truly interest you, whether it is psychology, biology, philosophy, or economics.”
#2. But also take courses that build your writing skills and specialized knowledge. Writing is a key component of law school applications, law school courses, and the actual practice of law, so strengthening your written communication skills will serve you well. In addition, taking business courses would help you decide if you want to practice corporate law and would also provide a useful framework for working as a lawyer in all organizations.
“Make sure to take some advanced level classes that challenge you as a writer, and some that will arm you with technical knowledge that will come in handy during law school, legal internships, and full-time practice, such as finance and accounting.”
#3. Take time off after college before you apply to law school. Giving yourself a breather will help you to recover before immersing yourself in the intensity of 1L. It’ll also allow you to replenish your enthusiasm for being in class, and to clarify your desires for law school and beyond.
“I was able to get much more out of law school because I took two years off. I was excited to get back to school, plus I was more mature and had a better perspective about my career and life goals—which helps quite a bit when you’re in a professional school and thinking about what path you want to take for your future.”
#4. Use the time before law school to experiment. After college, try internships in a variety of areas. Allowing yourself a range of experiences, and examining your responses to each, will help inform your law school experience and your desires for your career. For example, working in the corporate world may confirm – or not – your interest in corporate law.
“Don’t be afraid to try things and find your interests before you go to law school. The reality is that the law is vast and there is no cookie-cutter path to law school. Prior experiences and interests will help guide you through the dense forest of the law.”
#5. Also consider working in the field of law before you apply, both to confirm that this is the career path you want to embark on and to get experience that will come in handy for job applications later on.
“If you’re interested in private practice at a big law firm, consider working as a paralegal at a firm you could see yourself returning to; that firm might be more likely to hire you, and other firms will be impressed with your paralegal experience.”
#6. Be prepared for an intense transition in your first year of law school. Know that everyone finds it nerve-wracking: you’re not alone!
“1L year was especially stressful, particularly because everything is so new and you’re still trying to create a social community at school, but also because of how early recruitment happens for jobs so grades really do matter quite a bit.”
“Law school is tough. You are surrounded by incredibly smart people all competing for a select number of jobs. And because your grade in a given class is entirely based on the final exam, you have to prepare 3 or 4 months for an unknown factor that (seemingly) impacts your life. So law students need to be good at mitigating anxiety and keeping a positive outlook.”
#7. Think in advance about how you can unwind and de-stress outside of class, whether that means joining a gym, signing up for a meditation class, or working with a therapist. Identify your preferences for studying, taking meaningful breaks, and managing your time.
“Law school is (for the most part) on your own schedule, which allows you to do things how you want to and figure out how you work best. It also allows you to work out and get a casual drink or coffee with friends (when finals are not around the corner). Make sure to do both!”
#8. Let yourself feel proud of what you’re doing and relish the connections you’re making. Try to step outside of the moment and see the big picture of what you’re accomplishing and experiencing.
“If law school were not tough, you would not feel as if you were achieving a huge accomplishment by getting in and excelling and graduating. It’s amazing to be surrounded by so many smart people. They will push you to your intellectual limits and provide you with a strong support system. Some will even become lifelong friends.”
The law school application process is complex and competitive. Contact Collegiate Gateway if you would like guidance for any aspect of your journey. As always, we’re happy to help! Explore the upcoming presentations on our website or set up a complimentary consultation to learn about our services.