Preparing Yourself for Law School
One of the most frequently asked questions aspiring lawyers have is how do they best get prepared for law school. That can be a challenging question for several reasons. Those entering law school may be doing so right out of undergraduate school. Others may come to law school after years of professional experience elsewhere in the real world. In addition, there are ultimately, many legal disciplines to choose from. There are differences in how to best prepare to become medical malpractice lawyers in Oregon or to be become international law specialists elsewhere.
What the American Bar Association has to Say
The American Bar Association (ABA) states that they do not specifically recommend undergraduate majors to prepare for a legal education. In spite of that, they do mention some courses that have traditionally served as majors for those ready for law school. These traditional subjects include history, philosophy, political science, business, economics, and English. The type of law that interests you may help you decide undergraduate courses. Medical malpractice lawyers may find taking nursing or science courses of value.
For those still pursuing their undergraduate degree, a Pre-Law Advisor at your school may be able to help you select appropriate courses that suit your interests. Remember, while you are certainly looking to broaden your education, you are also trying to develop certain skills like problem solving, critical reading and writing, oral communication skills, and improved research skills. These skills will serve you well in law school and in your legal career.
Heading to Law School Soon?
If you are heading to law school next semester, U.S. News and World Report has some more specific suggestions. If law school is imminent they suggest:
- Spend time learning 1L material before you even get to campus as a law student. Consider a summer pre-law program taught by graduates. They can provide great insights into how to succeed.
- Read and read some more. Law school includes volumes of reading that some students aren’t prepared for. Get used to it.
- Create a study plan. Make a school year calendar and allocate study-time and free time. It can be adjusted as the year progresses but make sure you have the time to dedicate to your studies.
- Talk with graduate and current students. Getting career advice from seasoned lawyers like those found at Nelson, MacNeil, Rayfied (NMR) is fine, but also get the experience of those who are just completing their first year of school. They can provide some valuable tips.
- Prepare for a long, stressful, busy first year. That means you should enjoy the months leading up to law school.
Preparing to Pay for School
One of the realities you will be faced with is that law school will have to be paid for. Before attending law school, it is prudent to learn what the total financial costs will be. What are the prospects for you to be able to find the type of position that will allow you to comfortably repay any loans? Find out every piece of information you can about available financial aid. In fact, laying out the specifics of how much law school will cost and how you will pay for it is a good part of your law school preparations. If you are going to be saddled with years of student loans, at least go into it knowing how much for how long. After all, you don’t want to make the effort and put in all the necessary work it will take to become a lawyer, and then be disappointed you chose the career.