If you want to become a lawyer, there are steps you need to take starting during your undergrad career.
Undergrad Classes to Take
When thinking about your undergrad classes and what to take, there are no defined majors. It’s best to find a field that suits your interests, and one you want to pursue. Even though there is no particular major you need to have during undergrad, there are some recommended majors to consider:
- Political Science
- Business Administration
- Criminal Justice
No matter what you choose to study during undergrad, make sure you find something you are passionate about and gain high marks in your courses.
Extracurricular Activities, Volunteer Work and Job Opportunities
Participating in activities outside of class show potential law schools that you are a well-rounded student. You might want to look for a job in a law-related field such as a legal assistant. Or consider volunteering your time at a law firm or another business where you can work in the legal department.
In addition to finding a job or volunteer work, you should look into extracurricular activities on-campus. Join the debate team, which gives you exceptional training as a future lawyer. The debate team will help you develop strong communication skills, learn to form decisive arguments, and the ability to present and prove cases.
When you get in the pre-law society, you find that many universities have organizations set up to help students prepare for school. Try to participate in mock trials, negotiation workshops, and work through cross-examination exercises. See if your college has a pre-law society. Most colleges and universities have organizations that help students prepare for law school. In pre-law society, you will be able to participate in law-related activities on campus, such as mock trials, negotiation workshops, or cross-examination exercises.
Some other on-campus activities to look into might include Model United Nations or Student Congress. Both of these will help test your skills in diplomacy, ability to negotiate and mediate disputes. Or you could join the student government. Student government will help you develop leadership skills; you will become respected by peers, as well as be able to show tangible results on your application. Getting involved in on-campus activities will help you prepare for your future as a lawyer.
Study and Prepare for the LSAT
Before you can apply to law school, you will need to do well on the LSAT. The Law School Admissions Test is a standardized test that is specifically designed to assess critical skills required for success in law school that includes reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning.
The LSAT is administered six times a year, and it is recommended that you register early for the LSAT, so you have plenty of time to study. You will probably spend ten to twelve months studying and preparing for the exam that consists of the following multiple-choice sections:
- Logical Reasoning: Tests your ability to analyze and evaluate arguments by having you read short passages and answer a question about each one.
- Reading Comprehension: Tests your ability to make sense of dense, unfamiliar prose. You will need to understand the passages’ structure, purpose, and various points of view, rather than the facts. You will see four passages, each with 5-8 questions to answer. One of the passages will be “paired passages” with questions asking you to compare and contrast the two.
- Logic Games: Tests you on basic logic, systems of order, and outcomes. Analytical reasoning questions ask you to make deductions from a set of statements, rules, or conditions.
- Experimental Section: This is a wild card section that is used by the test maker to see how questions will perform on future LSATs.
- Writing sample: This section isn’t scored but is sent to law schools along with your LSAT score and is frequently used as a comparison tool to confirm your personal statement or help choose between two relatively equal candidates.
As you study and prepare for the LSAT, you will want to start by mastering grammar and logic. Grammar is the language of law, and the LSATs will use it to try to and intentionally confuse you. You will want to invest in the right study guides and materials. Next, set up a schedule, so you plan your preparation for the LSAT that allows you adequate time to study.
The LSAT tests your ability to analyze and decipher complicated sentences. Once you understand what the questions are asking, you will then need logic to understand how things play out. Because of how complicated the LSAT is, you should find a study group or study partner or look into signing up for a prep course.
Practice is key to acing the LSAT. Take as many prep tests as possible. Make sure to do real tests that are timed. Doing this will give you an idea of what to expect on test day. As you take the practice tests, you should do a “blind review.” As you take your practice test, make sure to circle the questions you are unsure of.
Once you’re done, take your time and go over each question without looking at the answer. Then when you mark your test, you will have your real score and your blind score. If your blind review score is low, then you need to work on your grammar and logic. If your blind review score is high, then you need to work on your speed.
Research Law Schools
Take the time to research law schools you want to attend. You will want to find out what the tuition is, whether they offer financial aid, and how much you’ll owe upon graduation. In addition to finances, you should look into the atmosphere of the school. Is the school calm and collaborative or cut-throat and competitive? Depending on your learning style, you might need to eliminate certain schools from your list.
Since you will be spending the next four years at law school, you should see what student life is like on-campus. This is an excellent opportunity to talk with current students or alumni to get a better idea of what you can expect if you attend school there.
Also, check out the school’s curriculum as well as research opportunities. You also might want to see what the faculty to student ratio is because this could affect the teaching quality.
Apply to Law School
When you apply to law school, keep in mind your application will be considered for acceptance based on the order it is completed. You want to make sure you get your application in early to have a better chance of acceptance. Your application will include:
- Undergraduate Degree
- LSAT Score
- Personal Statement
- Letters of recommendation
You can add additional information such as your resume that includes your work history, volunteer work, or any extracurricular activities you did during undergrad.
These are just five things you need to know if you plan on going to law school and becoming a lawyer.