Where Do I Start?

There are many careers in the legal industry in addition to becoming an attorney and it’s important to explore before deciding. Roles such as mediators, crime scene investigators, paralegals, and corrections officers are just a few of the many careers available. As with any career decision, explore and understand the opportunities that exist in the field of law before committing to the additional time and expense of law school.

“Why are you interested in law school?”

That’s one of the first questions you will want to answer if you’re considering law and law school. Having a clear and thoughtful response is critical. We encourage you to do research and gain experience to thoroughly explore whether law is a good fit for you and your career goals.

Law school requires a tremendous investment of time, finances, and commitment, and it’s much too expensive to use as a way to explore careers or fill a gap after you graduate from college. It’s best to explore and gain experience through internships and volunteering to decide whether law is the right path for you before you go to law school.

Explore—Some Easy First Steps You Can Take to Explore Law

You can begin exploring law and law school by:

  • Talk to as many attorneys as you can through informational interviews. (The Pre-Law 101 workshop will help you get started)
  • Take a course to explore a legal topic area.
  • Join a student organization related to your area of interest such as the Pre-Law Student Association or Mock Trial. This will also help you make connections not only to law professionals, but also to other pre-law students at St. Olaf.
  • Volunteer at a law office or seek a summer internship to gain experience and explore to the daily tasks of an attorney or other law professionals.
  • Observe a class at one of the local law schools (the University of Minnesota Law School, the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, or the University of St. Thomas School of Law) by contacting the admissions department there.

Now is the time to get to know your professors and advisors who could potentially write letters of recommendation for you if you decide to apply for law school. Attend office hours and ask them about a topic they discussed in class that you were interested in.

And you can start learning about the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) by attending a Pre-Law workshop, researching the test online, and/or exploring the LSAT preparation materials available in the Piper Center.

Gain Experience—Explore Law by Experiencing It Firsthand

The best way to determine if law is truly the right career path for you is to gain some experience in the field. So once you’ve done some initial exploratory activities like talking to attorneys or taking law-related courses, the next step is to work in the law in some capacity.

You don’t need to work at a law firm to get this type of experience! In fact, almost every experience can be related to law in some way.

With that in mind, here are some experiential ideas you can look into:

Online Resources

These resources explain what you can do with a law degree, connect you to Oles in Law, explain common areas of employment and salary details, as well as provide additional information about law school.


Alumni and students exchanging thoughts at the Ole Law event sponsored by the Piper Center.