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Ask the Experts

Q: What's the best way to get into law school?

A: Whether you are currently in college or you have already begun your career and are applying to law school later in life the best way to get into law school is to be prepared. This rule will apply throughout your legal education and career. There are certain things you should do to prepare yourself personally and academically and others you are required to do to prepare for the law school application process.

Targeting a School

First, make sure you want to go to law school and determine which schools will be the best fit for you academically, personally and geographically. Take part in a law-related internship to see if you enjoy the practice of law. You may find that it is quite different from what you imagine. Conduct informational interviews with current students and alumni at the law schools you wish to attend to learn about the schools and the different practice areas that interest you. The more you know the better prepared you will be to present yourself as the best candidate for a spot in a school's first year class.

Sharpening Your Skills

Once you have determined that you do in fact want to go to law school, you can begin mastering the skills required to succeed. Those skills include critical reading, writing, speaking, organizing, researching, and analytical problem solving. The same skills will be used daily in law school and in the practice of law so some mastery of them before attending will help make your transition easier.

Your undergraduate education is the first place to start building your skills. Speak to a counselor in your undergraduate career center. There are often pre-law advisors who can walk you through the application process and help you determine which schools are best for you, as well as which classes you can take to bolster your knowledge and transcript. Many people suggest majoring in English, psychology, sociology, and other social sciences. However, as long as you take a range of classes that are challenging, on subjects that you enjoy, and with a variety of professors, you will be prepared to apply to law school.

Perhaps you have already had a career and are now applying to law school. In that case, you must make clear why you have decided to make the change and determine if you have begun to master the skills required in law school.

Application Requirements

Regardless of your current educational and employment status there are requirements that you must follow to successfully complete the law school application process and thus, get into law school. Those requirements include taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), disclosing your GPA, writing a personal statement, and providing letters of recommendation, your transcript, your resume, and any necessary addenda with your applications. In order to take the LSAT you will need to register with the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). That service can provide you with applications to nearly every law school to which you may want to apply. LSDAS also compiles a report about you that will be sent to any law school you choose. The LSDAS report includes your official test scores, transcripts and recommendations. That report is required by law schools accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). For this reason, grades, test scores and recommendations are important. Think carefully about who will best recommend you as the ideal candidate for law school. Additionally, you will need to register with the Law Student Admissions Council (LSAC) which is an organization of all of the ABA accredited law schools in the US and some in Canada. The LSAC coordinates the process of applying to law school.

As you will hear repeatedly in law school, learning the law and how to be a lawyer is like learning a new language. As long as you are prepared and willing to learn you will be an excellent candidate for any school. Law school is a rewarding and challenging endeavor. Good luck applying and getting into the law school of your choice.

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