In #INTHEKNOW, PreLaw Blog, Uncategorized on November 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm
While it may seem a bit early to be thinking about what you will do after law school, often times many potential lawyers don’t really know what being a lawyer really means during the application process. A law degree can mean many things besides practicing as an attorney, but if you want to do eventually does not require a law degree you should really ask yourself why you want to go to law school in the first place. Spending 3 years at law school to not be a lawyer is a lot of time, energy, and money that may not be necessary. Here are some traditional paths that a law degree may lead to:
- Law firm (big and small)
- Examples of practice areas:
- Entertainment & Sports
- Civil Rights
- As a summer associate in a big firm you will have an opportunity to work in many different areas whereas a small firm might be more specialized.
- Judicial Clerkships
- Usually a year or 2 spent after graduation working for a judge.
- This is a prestigious and competitive option and while it pays less it gives you invaluable experience that other legal employers will value.
- Other government work
- State level
- District Attorney or Public Defender’s office
- Other state offices such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
- Federal Level
- US Attorney’s Office
- Department of Justice.
- Public Policy
- Public Interest Work
- Pro bono work and fellowships
- Often there are loan forgiveness programs for attorneys who go into public interest
Any questions can be emailed to email@example.com!
In #INTHEKNOW, PreLaw Blog, Uncategorized on November 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm
Breaking Down Your LSAT Score. LSAC gives you your LSAT score percentile, this will give you a better idea of how you did in comparison to other students who took the test. Log into LSAC. Click on the LSAT tab and then the LSAT Status link. The IRR Additional Information has percentiles from past 3 years and the Conversion Table has a number of questions right for your score.
Applying Smartly. Before receiving your score you probably had a pretty good idea of what schools you wanted to apply to based on GPA and what you were scoring on practice tests. Now that you have an ACTUAL score you can better assess at which schools you will be competitive. You should still consider applying to schools that would be considered a “reach” and of course schools that would be a “safety.” Look up law school rankings, they will provide you with a nice breakdown of LSAT and GPA ranges for schools. (Make sure you know your LSAC GPA!! It may be different from the one on your transcript). Now you can assess what schools you should apply to:
- “Safety” schools. BOTH your numbers are above the school’s 75th percentile. This is a good way to get scholarship opportunities as well.
- Competitive Schools. BOTH your numbers are within the school’s 25th and 75th percentiles. This is of course NOT a guarantee of outright admission. But it means you are right in the range of students who have been offered admission in the previous year.
- Schools where you are on the fence. If your GPA and LSAT score diverge greatly however (ie: high LSAT and low GPA and vice versa) you are going to have a hard time finding a school where you fall in the median. Look at the ranges of each number, a tighter range means they put more weight on that number. Hopefully the better of your two numbers is the one they weigh more and if not then you become less competitive. This does not mean that you are not competitive but you may need to compensate with other factors such as resume, personal statement, etc. If there is a reason that one of your numbers is significantly lower than the other consider writing an addenda (see below).
- Reach schools- BOTH your numbers are below the school’s 25th percentile.
When to Retake. In reality, most people see very little improvement in their score after retaking. Remember that many schools will also average your two scores so really think about how much you would be likely to improve. Also keep in mind that most people score a few points worse (or on the lower end of the range they had been scoring) on the day of the actual test than in practice tests. Make an honest assessment of your efforts the first time around and determine you should retake based on the following considerations:
- Did you study hard the first time? Did you underestimate the test and prep for it like the SAT? Or did you really dedicate yourself to studying? If you underestimated the test, consider retaking.
- Did you have a “bad day” on exam day? Recognize that a complete disasters is much more severe than a mild disaster. A complete disaster is something like showing up late to the test, being deathly ill, dealing with a motorcycle gang outside the test center. Hopefully you cancelled your score, but consider retaking if you didn’t. A mild disaster, on the other hand, is where maybe you were just distracted or normal test anxiety. Mild disasters might just repeat themselves the next time you take the test and then it is probably not worth retaking.
- Did you prepare enough? Did you prepare LONG enough? And were you smart about how you prepared? The LSAT is one of the harder, if not hardest standardized tests. Preparation may take some people longer than 3-4 months to get their best score. If you didn’t devote the requisite time to it, consider retaking it.
- Admissions Policies of Target Law School(s). Do they average or take the higher score? If they average, any improvement you see will effectively be cut in half, so think seriously about whether retaking is worth it.
When to Write an Addendum.This is not a time to make excuses just give the facts! Consider writing an addendum to your application with respect to your LSAT score if:
- You only have 1 score and something terrible happens on test day. If you are just a bad standardized test taker, be careful. But if you are normally a good test taker and can provide evidence of this (i.e. old tests), consider writing an addendum about the disaster.
- You retake and there is more than a 3 point difference between the scores.
In #INTHEKNOW, PreLaw Blog on September 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm
A law school personal statement is one of the most open-ended papers you will ever have to write. The basic instructions are: tell me something about yourself, in English, and keep it to two double-spaced pages. Ready? Go. But for most students, the personal statement seems daunting precisely because it is so open-ended. Where do you start? The Back to School issue of preLaw magazine (Vol. 15, No. 1) has a few short tips.
- You don’t have to tell them why you want to go to law school. Some of the best personal statements have nothing to do with the law. A good personal statement is exactly that: personal. It should be sincere, from the heart, and about a topic you really care about. That being said, it is a good idea to bring the reader back to the present and mention law school, usually in the final paragraph of your essay.
- First impressions matter. Spend time coming up with a good first sentence that really grabs your reader’s attention. Admissions officers read upwards of fifty personal statements a day. They are pressed for time. Make your statement stand out right away, without sounding gimmicky or scripted. If you can’t keep a straight face while saying the words out loud, don’t write them.
- Stay focused. Two pages is not a lot of space, so don’t cram too many topics into your statement. Come up with a theme and stick to it. If the school accepts optional essays, write about another topic there. Remember that you can also submit a resume with your application, which will contain information on jobs and internships not mentioned in your personal statement.
- This is your “interview.” Law schools don’t do personal interviews, so your personal statement is your only chance to show an admissions officer that you are a person, not Applicant #2367. Tell them something that they wouldn’t otherwise know from reading your application.