How do you make sure you get the right fit and best use the coming months wisely to prepare?
However, the hard work isn’t over yet, because now the ball is back in your court and you must choose which law school to attend. For those who got into their first choice it will be a no brainer. But for most – and this includes top ranked students – decisions must be made. How do you make sure you get the right fit and best use the coming months wisely to prepare?
How to Get the Right Fit
To evaluate schools, ask yourself a few questions:
Where do you want to practice?
If you were fortunate enough to be admitted to a nationally recognized, top tier law school, congratulations; you will be pretty much able to pick and choose where you want to practice law. For everyone else, geography will come into play. Think hard about where you would like to live and work after graduation. The bottom line is that your school choice will lay the foundation for network building and play a pivotal role in your future career.
What areas of law interest you?
Some students enter law school knowing the type of law they’d like to practice, while others are excited by the many possibilities. Either way, it’s important to evaluate each school’s program offerings and reputation for specific practice areas. If you are unsure about where the law may lead, you may want to consider larger law schools which typically have the ability offer a wider range of options.
What do the career prospects look like for graduates?
Contact each school’s career center to find out how many students get law-related jobs upon graduation. Don’t be shy asking about what typical salaries look like. Find out about recruiting opportunities both on and off campus. Making personal connections and gaining experience matters, so find out if you will get support with finding externships and participating in clinical programs.
What will your quality of life be like?
Time and money are both precious, so often would-be students apply to law school sight unseen. As you whittle down your list, now is the time to visit the leading contenders. This will help you get the lay of the land when it comes to your target law school’s culture. Is the vibe laidback, cutthroat, or something in between? Do students seem to have time for a social life, or is it a grind 24/7? Once you commit, you will be spending the next three years at your selected school, so be sure to take your personal happiness into account.
How do the schools which have admitted you compare cost-wise?
Money matters, especially for those students who may be entering law school with debt they’ve accrued from their college days. To help you consider the financial ramifications, create a cost comparison chart. Include tuition and projected cost of living expenses, being realistic with your estimates. On the plus side, add in any scholarships or financial package details that may offset your costs. Use this compiled information to help in your decision-making process.
How to Get the Right Fit
If you’re completing college this spring or leaving a job to start law school, you’re probably looking forward to a well-deserved break. While you deserve one, your transition to law school will go more smoothly if you do some homework. Find out what you need to know about the Socratic method, briefing cases, and how our legal system works. Here are three great books to get you started:
- What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: An Introduction to the Study of Law, 3E by Tracey E. George and Suzanna Sherry will help you understand what to expect in class, why the Socratic method remains a tried and true teaching tool, and basic legal concepts.
- Open Book: The Inside Track to Law School Success by Barry Friedman and John C.P. Goldberg offers insight for briefing a case, details the elements to look for, and then explains how to use your briefs to prepare for and ace exams.
- Whose Monet: An Introduction to the American Legal System is an informative and entertaining book by John A. Humbach. Whose Monet provides a highly accessible orientation to the American legal system and modern civil litigation while following an art dispute through the court system.