Category Archive: Law School Advice

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What Majors Are Best for Law School?

Undergrads with dreams of eventually attending law school often wonder if there are certain majors that will better prepare you for law school (or that will make your application look better). I’ll go ahead and end the suspense now: There’s definitely no mandatory major if you plan to head to law school. With that said, you can definitely do some thinking and maneuvering to put you in the best position when it comes time for applications. Here’s some general tips and advice for when you’re deciding:

The most important thing is to do something that you know you’ll do well at. With law schools being a numbers-oriented business, that’s the most important piece of advice I can give.

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4 Things to Do Before You Start Law School

Today, we’re happy to welcome Alison Monahan, founder of The Girl’s Guide to Law School and co-founder of the Law School Toolbox, Bar Exam Toolbox, and Trebuchet Legal, to the blog. She’s here to share some tips on starting off on the right foot in law school.

In these last few weeks before law school orientation, what – if anything – can you be doing to set yourself up for success as a law student? Reading the Constitution? Brushing up on the Federalist Papers? Yeah, probably not so helpful.

Here are a few things that might help!

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Choosing a Law School: How Much Does Location Matter?

After you’ve combed through your stacks on stacks on stacks of acceptance letters, you’re on to one of the trickiest parts of the law school application process (after the Mauve Dinosaur game, of course): actually picking a school.

Among the myriad factors you’ll want to consider is location, location, location. Are you hoping to move back to your small town to practice after graduating? Are you dying to get out of suburbia? Itching to get to the Big Apple? Sunny California?

If so, it can be advisable to try and select a law school near your target area. For example, if you want to live and work in Los Angeles, then picking USC over Georgetown may make sense, despite the latter’s higher rank (lots to be said for the fickleness of rankings anyway — but you get the idea here).

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How to Spend Your Last Summer of Freedom

If you’ve completed the LSAT, applied to schools, and accepted an offer of admission, congratulations! This post is dedicated to answering a very common question from rising first-year law students—how should I spend my summer before beginning law school? My answer, in a nutshell, is: “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.”

The summer before I started law school, I went on vacation. I busied myself with watching movies, playing videogames, exercising, reading, and fishing. I tried to spend as much time as possible with my brother and my best friend, and I tried to put the thought of law school out of my mind entirely (with a couple exceptions that I’ll get to later). And I have no regrets.

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Is a 1L Law School Prep Class Worth It?

I’ll be heading off to law school in a few short months, and my mailbox certainly shows it. Over the last three months, I have received admissions responses from law schools (mostly acceptances, I am happy to report), followed by daily credit card offers, followed by a persistent bombardment of brochures from companies that would like me to take a class to learn how to succeed in law school. I was happy to hear back from law schools, and as far as the credit card offers go, if a brotha’ is going to take out a $60,000 loan, he might as well earn some frequent flyer miles when he buys his top ramen and SpaghettiOs; am I right?

Armed with some shiny acceptance packets and an even shinier line of credit, I now had to make sense of these “learn how to be a good law student” brochures.

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How Should Pre-Laws Spend Summer Vacation?

Summer’s just around the corner, which, for the prelaw, means that you have plenty of time to beef up your law school application. If you’re taking the LSAT, you’ll be spending some time studying for the LSAT, though not all your time studying for the LSAT (despite what you may have been led to believe, vitamin D insufficiency does not automatically add ten points to your LSAT score). And if you’ve already taken the LSAT, you need to figure out what to do for the summer. Should you get a part-time gig at a law office, or should you do something unrelated to the law, so you can show admissions offices that you have outside interests?

For the most part, law school admissions is based on three components: your GPA, your LSAT score, and the “character and individuality” factor.

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How to Decide Where to Apply

If you want a J.D. from an ABA-approved institution, there are 204 schools you can apply to. Most of us can’t apply to all 204. And why would you want to? That would be expensive and a huge waste of time.

So how do you figure out which law schools to apply to? There are four key factors to consider.

1. Rankings
Rankings are important for two reasons: A) They can help predict which schools you’ll get into, and B) They dictate how prestigious your degree is seen to be.

Regarding Point A: Your LSAT score and undergraduate GPA factor heavily into a law school’s admissions decision.

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To Gap Year or Not To Gap Year?

I graduated from my undergrad in 2010. It took me four years to make my way to law school. I wrote about how I decided to go to law school before, but today I bring you my take on the gap year(s).

Generally, I think it’s a great idea to take a year off. Once you start law school you’ll never have the chance to take a “gap” year again, unless something goes horribly wrong. Law school is a lot of work, and so is being a lawyer. Taking some time off can also help you work harder once you get to law school without burning out.

If you’re only going to take one year off in between your undergrad and law school, you don’t really have to do anything special.

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What Kind of Summer Job Can a 1L Get?

For most people, law school is about getting a job. If things go well, you’ll probably have some sort of offer for permanent employment in the fall after your first year. But before you get there, you’ll need to get a job for your first summer. For many, this will be a first look at legal work. You’ll have several options.

Judicial Internships
During a judicial internship you’ll get to work in the chambers of a judge. You probably won’t have a lot of contact with your judge, but you’ll still get to observe cases and you’ll work pretty closely with the clerks.

The great thing about judicial internships is that you get to apply for them before your first semester grades come out.

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Choosing a Law School After You’re Accepted

At this point in the year, as you’re practically blowing your nose and wiping your bum with an unmanageable mountain of law school acceptance letters (*fingers crossed*), you enter the hardest part of the application journey: deciding where to go.

For most people, the primary factors to consider are — in precisely this order — cash, money, guap, and cheeze. Whether in the form of scholarships, grants, or financial aid, it’s imperative that you consider where your school choice will land you financially in three years. That’s truer now than ever before, because graduate school debt, and law school debt in particular, has drastically increased in the last few years without a commensurate rise in payment or employment prospects. In fact, since 2008, many firms have actually scaled back their hiring, and some schools have responded with shady-at-best practices to obfuscate their blighted placement records.