Getting Organized In the New School Year-What Should You Be Doing Now?

This year is definitely different. There’s remote learning, hybrid learning, and in person learning. You may be doing a combination of all three. This can make it hard to get organized.

You may not have much time to focus on external activities. So what are some quick steps to take to move your pre-law goals forward? 

Here’s a quick timeline:

Freshman Year:

  • Join Pre-law Clubs: Even if virtual, they are a great way to get involved and meet people. You may have a Pre-law Society Club and Mock Trial Team, which are great ways to start to build your college activities.
  • Think about Possible Majors: While I can assure you that you do not need a pre-law major and that any major should be ok for law school, it’s time to think about it. If you choose a major totally unrelated to law that’s fine, but then try to take some electives that relate to law, just so you can make sure you will like law school. They can be found in departments such as Political Science.

 Sign Up for the Job Listings and Internships Postings: Reach out to career services on your campus.

Sophomore Year:

  • It’s Time to Choose a Major: Again, no pressure to choose a legally related major. I majored in English in college and found that to be helpful in law school. You may want to consider Political Science, Psychology, Economics, Communications, Philosophy, Sociology, or any other subject that interests you. Law school is about writing, reading and analytical skills.
  • Start to Research Law Schools: It’s early, but you may want to set up an account with the Law School Admissions Council. You can find them at www.lsac.org. You can link to law schools and lots of law school admissions information on this site.

Junior Year:

  • Decide which law school admissions test to take and when you will take it: Decide if you will take the LSAT or the GRE. Look at sample tests for both if you are not sure, and at www.ets.org to see which law schools now accept the GRE. Think about a study schedule and look at upcoming test dates. It’s especially important to leave several months to study. If you are hoping to do a study abroad program, make sure to factor that into your study plans
  • Start to think about recommendations for law school and topics for your personal statement: Think about these now, so by early fall of your senior year, you will be ready.
  • Try to do a legal internship: Junior year is a great time to try a legally related internship. By  junior year you can generally do an internship and receive academic credit for it. 

Senior Year:

  • Set up an Applications Timeline: Try to get your applications in during the fall to take advantage of rolling admissions. The earlier you can get them in, the better. If you can’t submit them all at once that’s ok. Work on the applications that are a priority. Request recommendations from your recommenders, write your personal statement, update your resume, and request your transcript. Ask for help when you need it. The Law School Admissions Council(www.lsac.org) can help you if you have a question, as can your pre-law advisors. Staying on track with your timeline should be a priority.
  • It’s Not Too Late to Join Clubs and Find Internships: Many decide they want to go to law school even as seniors. It’s not too late to join clubs, seek leadership positions, and get legally related internships. If you feel rushed, taking a gap year before applying is a popular option.

 

Hillary Mantis works with pre-law students, law students and lawyers. She is Assistant Dean for the Pre-law Advising Program at Fordham University and author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers. You can reach her at altcareer@aol.com.

Categories: