LSAT to the Bar: What to Expect from Your Journey as a Law Student
There are numerous movies about law school and the journey to earning your Juris Doctor degree. From Elle Woods’ Harvard experience to “The Paper Chase,” there’s no lack of material to fuel your ambitions — and fears.
As you finish your undergraduate degree and prepare to take the next steps to law school, it’s important to prepare for the years ahead. Everyone’s experience is different, but here’s a taste of what you can expect from your journey as a law student.
Taking the LSAT
Before you even start applying to law school, your LSAT score can make or break the start of your law studies. This test is designed to measure the skills you’ll use the most as a law student, so it’s important to do well. To prepare, spend several months studying and practicing. Take courses, utilize prep books, and get tips from other students. Even if you typically do well on standardized tests without studying, higher scores improve your chances of acceptance and scholarship offers. This is one test you don’t want to cram for.
Applying to Law School
When considering applicants, law schools put the most emphasis on college GPAs and LSAT scores. Each school posts the scores they’re looking for, so it’s always a good idea to take a look at these numbers. If you don’t meet their standards, that doesn’t automatically exclude you from attending, though it can make it harder. As you choose your potential schools, focus on the options where you’ll be the strongest candidate. Then, carefully build your applications. Take the time and attention to craft stellar essays, ask for letters of recommendation, and gather any documents you need. Many law schools require interviews, so make sure you’re professional, prepared, and pleasant. You’ve got one shot with your application, so make it count.
Succeeding in your studies
Though you’ve been in school for years, you’ll quickly learn that law school is a new experience. Your hours will be filled with reading about cases, writing case briefs, creating outlines for final exams, and preparing for the questions your professors will spontaneously call on you to answer. It’s hard work, but also full of endless possibilities. Your years at law school provide valuable opportunities to discover what you want to do with your career and to meet people who are already working your dream job. Work an internship and find a mentor. There are many bar association groups and school organizations to help with this. Work hard, take advantage of your resources, and embrace everything law school offers.
The bar and beyond
As you reach the end of your journey as a law student, the bar exam is the next challenge to overcome. To practice law, every law student has to pass the bar exam for the jurisdiction/state they’ll work in (or pass the Unified Bar Exam, which is accepted in 35 jurisdictions). Before taking the test, you’ll want to check for any prerequisite requirements, including applying for character and fitness, which may be due before or after the test. The bar exam is your last step as a law student, so make sure you do everything you can to ensure your success. Once you’ve passed, the next step is to find a job — as the lawyer you’ve worked so hard to become!
Do you know what to expect in your time as a law student? Let us know what questions you have in the comments!