Tips for Finding a Great Mentor to Help Make Decisions About Law School

As zoom fatigue has fully set in, a year into the pandemic, the idea of attending one more group presentation on zoom might be exhausting. But what if you are not sure how to get ready to apply to law school? Or maybe you are not even sure if you want to go to law school. You are not sure when to take the LSAT, or how long you should study for it, or how you should study for it.  

It’s so hard to get information when everything is remote and you are getting tired of large group meetings.  

One action you could take now, would be to find a mentor, and network with them about law school. Ideally, it would be a peer mentor, who attends your college and is going to law school, or an alumni mentor who is a lawyer. Hopefully it’s someone you can relate to, and talk to by zoom or in person one on one. It is great to gain the perspective from someone who recently went through the admissions process, or is going through it right now.

But how do you find a mentor? Your school might already have an established mentor program. Check with the alumni office or the career services office. Chances are, they might have a mentor program set up for students to network with alumni.  

Or you can find peer mentors through your college pre-law club, or through your pre-law advisor if your school does not have a pre-law club. Or, you could start a peer mentor program at your school, if they don’t have one.

Sometimes, once you find a mentor, its awkward to start the conversation. What do you ask them? 

Here are some questions you might ask to get the conversation started: 

 

  • What did you major in? Did you also do a minor and if so, what was it?
  • Did you take any pre-law or legally related courses, and if so what were they and when did you take them? 
  • Did you do a legally related internship, and if so what was it and how did you find it? 
  • Are you planning to go to law school right after college or take time off before applying? If so, what do you plan to do during the time off? 
  • When did you start to study for the LSAT and how long did it take to study for it? Did you take a course or study on your own?
  • How did you decide what law schools to apply to? Were you able to tour law schools, or attend admissions sessions? How did you research law schools? 
  • What clubs have you been involved in, and what clubs have been of interest to a student thinking about going to law school?
  • What books or articles or websites about becoming a lawyer/practicing law have you found to be interesting or relevant?
  •  What should I be doing as a freshman/sophomore/junior/senior if I am planning to apply to law school? What timeline did you follow?

Finally, ask if you can stay in touch with them, so you can build the relationship. One day you can return the favor, and hopefully be a mentor to someone else.


Hillary Mantis consults with pre-law students, law students and lawyers. She is the Assistant Dean of the Pre-law Advising Program at Fordham University and the author of career books, including Alternative Careers for Lawyers. If you have law school admissions questions, you can reach Hillary at altcareer@aol.com

 

 

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