You have decided to go to law school after graduation but how do you choose the right one? What is your career path after you graduate from law school?
Why is it important to research Law Schools early?
Once you've identified the schools that appeal to you most, now you can list out the minimum criteria you must accomplish in order to be an applicant. However, the minimum let's you apply, but it does not make you competitive to be accepted. Plan to exceed those minimums to be a great applicant. The eariler you know your goals, the more likely you will exceed them.
You should also consider visiting your top law school choices as sometimes campus visits help give you a better “feel” for an institution. The majority of law schools offer campus visits regularly and may even offer the opportunity for you to sit in on a class or speak with current students. Make sure to reach out to their admissions offices for more information!
Fields of Law
Let’s first discuss researching the legal profession. While most individuals think of private practice lawyers when they think of life after law school, the reality is that lawyers can be found in all different fields – education, military, government, film and music industries. The list can go on and on! Below are some other great links to learn more about the legal profession:
If you are not sure exactly which type of law you want to study or what kind of lawyer you want to be by the time you enter law school, that’s okay! Most law schools have career services and other resources aimed at helping you make these decisions. You can also have the opportunity to participate in clinics or internships while in law school to help you make this decision. Clinics allow law students to practice under the supervision of a professor and are a great way to experience different types of law.
Finding the Right Law School
So you already have an idea of the type of law you wish to work in. Now it’s important to look at law schools that provide clinics and resources related to your chosen legal path. For instance, if you want to study immigration law, it would be wise to choose a law school with an outstanding immigration law clinic. It would also be wise to consider the school’s geographical setting. For instance, if you want to study immigration law, then it would be prudent to choose a law school that is close to a major metropolitan area as this can help with landing internships and jobs in this area of law.
But what if you don't know which type of law you want to study? That's OK. Whether you know what field or not, it is important that you begin your research early. There are things besides field type you can consider when researching law schools.
The American Bar Association’s Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools is a great place to start your search of accredited law schools. When selecting a law school, consider what is most important in your life. Here are some reasons that students use to identify their first, second, and third choice law schools.
- Geographical setting: Would you possibly want to work in that particular city/state after graduation? Do you enjoy their campus?
- Admission requirements: What is the average GPA and LSAT score of their first-year students? What is their incoming student profile?
- Bar passage rate: How many of their graduates pass the bar?
This is extremely important as you cannot practice law in any state without passing that state’s bar exam!
- Scholarship opportunities: How many first-year students receive scholarships? Are these recurring scholarships or only a one-time opportunity?
- Cost of attendance: How much does it cost to attend these institutions? Is it more for out-of-state students?
- Campus resources: What types of clinics do they offer? Do they have a Career Services office? Do they offer tutoring or other academic support?
- Campus involvement: What types of student organizations are there on campus? Do they have study abroad opportunities?
- Life after graduation: Where do their alumni go after graduation? What types of law do they practice?
These are just a few things to consider when looking at law schools.
Please be sure to take advatange of our pre-law events where you will have the opporutnity to network with Law School Recruiters.