Going to law school isn’t—or at least shouldn’t be—something you decide to do suddenly or aimlessly. Such a commitment of time, money, and effort should be taken on only after much deliberation and preparation, especially since your career and your future are at issue.
So, how can you best prepare for law school?
Establish a Strong and Relevant Academic Base
An appropriate academic background is necessary for applying to, being admitted to, and attending law school. Perhaps surprisingly, a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution often isn’t needed—an associate’s degree is sufficient for applying to law school in the State of California,[i] and it’s enough for a handful of other law schools as well, including Cooley in Michigan.[ii] However, most law schools do require a bachelor’s degree.
For the bachelor’s degree, the American Bar Association does not recommend specific undergraduate majors in preparing for law school; rather, it simply encourages future law students to study something interesting and challenging.[iii] Further, law schools do not require certain coursework, as they accept students from almost every academic discipline[iv] and tend to focus more on overall grades and standardized test scores. However, programs of study that help you develop and hone the following skills are most beneficial according to the ABA:
Nonetheless, certain undergrad majors may be better than others in preparing you for law school, including:
Get Some Work Experience
Beyond the coursework and academic foundations mentioned above, work experience is highly valued by many law schools. Large percentages of recent entering classes at top law schools like Harvard (82%) and Northwestern (90%) had at least one year of full-time, real-world experience because the schools felt these students were more mature, dedicated, and focused, and overall were “better prepared to handle the challenges of law school.”[xviii] And this work experience does not need to be in a legal field—though some relevant exposure to the law, legal processes, or the inner workings of a law firm may be beneficial. Any experience, as long as it’s meaningful and perhaps shows how you face challenges, handle setbacks, and work within a team, is likely to improve your chances of getting into law school.[xix]
Law school is not a simple undertaking, and it’s important that you take the necessary and appropriate steps—academically and perhaps professionally—to be prepared for it.
[i] Glendale University College of Law. (n.d.). Educational Requirements. https://www.glendalelaw.edu/educational-requirements/
[ii] Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. (n.d.). Applying Without a Bachelor’s Degree. https://www.cooley.edu/admissions/applying-without-degree
[iii] American Bar Association. (n.d.). Pre-Law. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/pre_law/
[iv] FindLaw. (2022, November 4). Best Pre-Law Colleges. https://lawstudents.findlaw.com/pre-law/best-pre-law-colleges.html
[v] American Bar Association (n 1).
[vi] Grey, S. (2022, November 11). The Top 13 Pre-Law Majors: What’s The Best Major For Law School Admission? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/education/pre-law-majors/
[vii] Law School Admission Council. (2021, December 13). Applicants by Major. https://report.lsac.org/view.aspx?report=applicantsbymajor&Format=PDF
[viii] Ebadolahi, M. (n.d.). The Best Majors for Law School. LSATMax. https://testmaxprep.com/blog/lsat/best-majors-for-law-school-2#/
[ix] Affordable Schools. (n.d.). What are the Best Undergraduate Majors to Get if You Want to Go to Law School? https://affordableschools.net/faq/best-undergraduate-majors-law-school/
[x] Ebadolahi, The Best Majors for Law School.
[xi] Grey, The Top 13 Pre-Law Majors: What’s The Best Major For Law School Admission?
[xii] Ebadolahi, The Best Majors for Law School.
[xiv] Grey, The Top 13 Pre-Law Majors: What’s The Best Major For Law School Admission?
[xv] Ebadolahi, The Best Majors for Law School.
[xvi] Affordable Schools, What are the Best Undergraduate Majors to Get if You Want to Go to Law School?
[xvii] Ebadolahi, The Best Majors for Law School.
[xviii] Kuris, G. (2021, November 1). Work Experience Matters for Law School Applicants. U.S. News. https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/law-admissions-lowdown/articles/why-work-experience-matters-for-law-school-applicants
“New hire’s remorse”—at least under this name—is a recent phenomenon that we broached last week. Also called “shift shock,” it arises when an employee regrets taking a job because it isn’t the right fit or is completely different from what was expected.
As we reviewed earlier, many attorneys are behind technologically and reticent to adopt new tech tools, despite (1) ABA recommendations to stay abreast of relevant technology, (2) sophisticated clients who expect tech proficiency in their attorneys, and (3) competitors like alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) using technology to provide legal support work at lower costs. The bottom line is that law firms and lawyers need to keep current with technology because being deficient means losing business—or going out of business.