Should you attend law school? Below are some questions to ask yourself as you’re trying to decide. In addition, our Pre-Law Career Coach, Dana Rechtzigel is happy to help you explore and decide if law school is the right path. You can schedule an appointment with Dana through Handshake.
Should you really go to law school?
As with career generally, students range from having always known they’ve wanted to go to law school to questioning that decision until they enroll. Even after law school ends, some graduates are still unsure if they want to be a lawyer or pursue another profession related to law.
So how can you answer whether law school is right for you? You can start by asking yourself these questions:
- Do I enjoy people and working closely with them regarding significant events or issues impacting their lives?
- Can I empathize with a client’s situation, yet objectively analyze the issues and their consequences through the lens of the existing law?
- Am I good at, and do I enjoy, educating people on subjects they may misunderstand or be ignorant about?
- Am I able to analyze a problem and clearly and concisely communicate that both verbally and in writing? Do I do well in these types of classes?
- Do I enjoy advocating for others? Am I able to enthusiastically argue both sides of a question?
- Am I detail oriented and do I enjoy this kind of work? Do I enjoy doing research about the facts of a situation?
- Do I enjoy reading, writing, and studying?
How to Decide Where to Apply?
There are many considerations when deciding which law school(s) to apply to. Think individually about your priorities and what’s important to you in your law school education. You’ll want to figure out which school is best for you.
Some criteria to Consider:
- Location – where do you hope to practice after graduating? Many graduates end up working in the geographic area where they attended law school.
- Career goals – do you want to work in public service? Then seek out a school that offers courses in that area. Do you want to work at a large law firm? The school’s alumni may be helpful in attaining those positions.
- What are the ranges of GPA and LSAT scores of admitted students? If you are below the 25th percentile on GPA and LSAT for that school, you may have difficulty getting admitted. Don’t focus only on the median LSAT and GPA scores and realize that every school accepts a range.
- Have a range of schools you apply to – safety, stretch, reach and make those decisions based on your competitiveness with each school’s admissions data.
Law School Transparency has detailed reports on alumni career outcomes and bar passage rates, as well as a school comparison tool.
Many students find it helpful to visit law schools. You may want to visit a school if:
- You don’t know if law school is a good fit for you.
- You’re deciding which law school(s) to apply to.
- You’ve been accepted by a school but you haven’t visited the campus.
When you visit, ask questions that can only be answered in person. Ask if you can sit in on a law class and talk with current law students. Reach out to the admissions office of each school to arrange your visit. Attending Law School Fairs and LSAC Forms can also help you explore many schools at one event.