An important step in the process is studying for and taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT exam can seem overwhelming at first blush but with adequate preparation and practice the exam becomes manageable. By taking a prep course or by using books that guide you through the test, the questions become much clearer. The key to the LSAT is practice so you are able to recognize the types of questions quickly and feel comfortable with the amount of time you are given to complete each section. The LSAT should be taken in advance in case you would like to retake the exam for a higher score and also because using your scores in conjunction with your GPA you will be able to determine which law school you should apply to.
Another important step is gathering letters of recommendation from your professors, employers or others who know you well. It is important to give the person adequate time to write your recommendation out of courtesy of busy schedules and also because professor especially are asked for numerous recommendations within similar time frames. Further, even if you have a close relationship with your reference it is smart to provide them with a letter asking for a recommendation including why you are requesting the recommendation, why you thought of that particular person to write a recommendation, why you would like to attend law school and a copy of your resume. This information will help the resulting recommendation to be tailored to you and your needs. Be sure to politely check in with your references to ensure the recommendation is completed and sent out on time.
There are many law schools throughout the United States, so it is important to establish the criteria that are important to you before looking at schools. Some factors to consider are:
- location (many schools design their programs to prepare graduates for specific state’s bar exams)
- concentrations available (especially if you have a specific area of law you know are interested in pursuing)
- job placement rate for graduates
- available resources (including cost of living)
- variety of courses offered
- class size; and
- your comfort level when you visit the school and sit in on classes.
By Quinn Morris
For more, see the American Bar Association's Page on Pre-Law preparation