What do I need to do in college to prepare for law school?
(United States of America)
So I am in community college and I am wondering what classes I need to take to start getting my way to become a lawyer. I'm so confused with all the steps. So what do I need to do in community college, then a university and then law school?
What classes do you need to take in college to prepare for law school? There are not any specific classes that you are required to take in college to apply to law school. If you want to take some law classes in college that is fine, but be advised that law classes will only provide a cursory introduction to a law school type of class, however they will not teach you anything about being a lawyer. In fact you won’t really know what it is like to be a lawyer until you actually start practicing law.
Further, there is no specific major that you must have to apply and be accepted into law school. Law schools accept applicants with all different types of majors, work experiences and backgrounds. However what the law school admissions committees want to see is excellence in whatever you did in college.
Law school is a highly academic setting and thus the admissions committee wants to see good grades, and a good score on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), which is a test that is similar to the SAT you took to obtain admission to college.
So now you know that there are no required classes that you have to take in college to obtain acceptance into law school… but what should you specifically do as a student in a community college to eventually become a lawyer?
1) First of all relax… you have time, remember that applying to law school is a similar process compared to applying to college, and if you have the courage to take the following steps you can become a lawyer.
2) You have to achieve high marks in your current community college classes and then transfer and graduate from a four year institution. A diploma from a four year institution is required to obtain admission into law school.
3) During your summers you should work (or volunteer) at a law related office… law firm, courthouse, legal agency, anything law related. (Do an internet search for the courthouse in your area of the country and call them up and ask about volunteering opportunities, or call up your local bar association. Not only will these work experiences provide a good introduction the how the legal systems actually function, but it will also give you something to use in your law school personal statement as evidence that you TOOK ACTION in your pursuit of a career in law. (More about this later.)
4) Prepare for and take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
5) Choose which law schools you want to apply to… if you cannot get into a top 20 ranked law school, then you want to go to a law school in the geographic area of the country where you want to practice law (because the alumni contacts are strong in that area). MAKE SURE THE LAW SCHOOL IS ABA ACCREDITED, because if it is not then you will not allowed to sit for the bar exam in most states!
6) Application – Download and fill out the applications for each school and be aware of the deadlines for submitting same.
7) Personal statement – Think of this as the college essay for law schools. Usually the subject of the essay is something similar to “why do you want to be a lawyer?” Here is where your work experience will really come in handy because instead of just talking about why you want to be a lawyer, you now have specific examples of the actual affirmative actions you took to investigate and work in the legal field.
8) Recommendations – Most law schools require two (2) recommendations… make sure they are either from professors or employers.
9) The summer after you graduate from law school will be solely dedicated to studying for the bar exam (which is usually scheduled at the end of July). The bar exam is a two day test (three days if you apply to two states) that lasts for about 6 hours each day.
Overall, the process is difficult but not so different than applying to college… you can do it!
Read through our free articles to learn more specifics about each of the above steps.