Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Law School Admissions => Topic started by: mryser on May 27, 2015, 04:45:43 PM

Title: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: mryser on May 27, 2015, 04:45:43 PM
Please I need your help!

I am currently a high school student (class of '16) and I am completely lost in what to do for higher education. I am a 4-year classically training vocalist and love to sing, and therefore my plan until this point has been to pursue a dual major of Music Education and Vocal Performance. However this year I took an AP American Government and Politics course and I LOVED it! I was fascinated and intrigued by Monetary Policy and found Constitutional Law interesting and exciting. I want to make a difference and help people and I have begun to question my original plan.

If I were to pursue a politics-based major, would political science be a good choice if I hope to one day go to law school (an attorney to then become a politician or political speech writer)? What would be a good undergraduate program instead of political science that still deals with politics? Is it advisable to pursue a Political Science major with minors in music, economics, and english and still maintain a high GPA and graduate in 4 years? Would it be better to pursue a dual major? If I pursue a dual major is realistic to still attempt a minor in music?

I know very little about pursuing law school and could use all the advice and input you can give me.
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: Citylaw on May 27, 2015, 05:35:10 PM
There are no prerequisites for admission to law school other than a bachelor's degree and an LSAT score.

The better your GPA and the better your LSAT score the more opportunity you will have.

Basically, pursue something your interested in for undergraduate if your into biology then get a B.S in biology and get a 4.0. If you want to get a B.A. in music then get a B.A in music and get a 4.0.

You essentially want to get a B.A or B.S. while getting the highest GPA possible. So keep it simple and study something you enjoy and don't make any life altering decisions based on wanting to go to law school at this point.

A lot will change in your mind during college and maybe you will go onto law school, but maybe you will fall in love with chemistry and get a degree in that. Whatever, you study take it seriously in undergrad and it will keep as many graduate school doors open as possible.

I know Med School has substantial pre-req requirements, but law school does not.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: Miami88 on May 27, 2015, 09:16:00 PM
I did a BM (bachelor of music) and a MM (master of music) prior to law school. I ended up getting accepted into several of the T14 law schools, including University of Michigan (where I am now), with significant scholarships. In other words, study what you love. Undergrad is merely a time to expand your mind and learn how to become a competent, insightful adult. With exception of professional degrees (i.e. accounting, engineering, etc.), the name on your degree will mean relatively little in the long run.

Also note that studying and loving some theories and tid bits of con law in high schools is likely not what law school of the legal profession is exactly like. That's not to say you won't like law school - it's just not a sufficient reason to change life plans.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: Groundhog on May 28, 2015, 06:13:41 AM
I don't have the exact quote, but there's only like a dozen lawyers who regularly deal with Constitutional issues, and they all went to Yale, Harvard or Stanford decades ago. Don't let this discourage you but you should have a realistic picture of what lawyers do.

I enjoy my job, but many find aspects to be mind-numbing. Checking evidence and that all of the metaphorical Is are dotted and Ts are crossed isn't for everyone.
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 28, 2015, 08:36:53 AM
As others have stated, it doesn't really make much difference what you major in. A biochem major with a 3.5 GPA will be considered a little "better" than an Art major with a 3.5, but it's not a huge difference. As far as the slew of potential social science/liberal arts majors (poly sci, history, English), they'll all be viewed as more or less the same.

One thing I would urge you to consider is debt. I know that when you are 18 and choosing colleges the cost of attendance can seem almost abstract. You see the numbers, but it doesn't really hit home until you actually have to start paying back those loans. If you accrue $100,000 debt for undergrad, defer it for three years while you attend law school, then accrue another $100-200,000 law school debt, you are talking about a debt that will control your life.

If you're rich or you get a full scholarship, then obviously this is inapplicable. Otherwise, be careful.

BTW, unless you get into someplace like Harvard or Yale nobody will care where you went to undergrad. Having a bachelor's from the #50 ranked music program versus the #25 ranked program will make no difference. The vast, overwhelming majority of employers won't care one bit.
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 28, 2015, 09:47:02 AM
I don't have the exact quote, but there's only like a dozen lawyers who regularly deal with Constitutional issues, and they all went to Yale, Harvard or Stanford decades ago. Don't let this discourage you but you should have a realistic picture of what lawyers do.

Along those lines, I had a conversation with the daughter of a family friend a while back who had just been accepted to a mid-range local law school. She told she wanted to go to law school to be a "human rights lawyer", working at the UN and travelling around the world. (Forgive me if I'm repeating this story, I think I told it once before).

"Wow" I said, "that's a really admirable goal. Would you also be happy as say, a public defender? Or some other kind of public interest lawyer?"
 
"No, I'll get my law degree then go to grad school for International Relations."

I mentioned that in the ENTIRE world there are maybe a couple of hundred people who do that job, that they tend to be highly experienced, that they tend to be graduates of places like Harvard and Oxford, that law school is a big and expensive undertaking, blah blah blah. She politely ignored me, and said she would follow through.

I didn't want to seem like a crusher of dreams, but at the same time I almost felt obligated to point out the reality of the situation. She was surrounded by a bunch of people who know nothing about law or international relations all telling her to follow her dream, if you want it badly enough, it will happen, etc etc.

If it was all free, then yes. But when you're talking about a six figure debt you need to be a little more objective.   
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: mryser on May 28, 2015, 11:03:52 AM
Thank you everyone for the awesome insight! I will definitely think on all of this. There is an overwhelming part of me that wants to help people and I always veiwed law/politics as an admirable and exciting career.

Just out of curiosity. A few people stated that by working as a lawyer I wasn't necessarily going to be dealing with the constitution and law school is probably not what I think it is. Can anyone give me some more insight on what to expect? My dad is an insurance agent and my mom is an OT so I have no idea what I'm thinking of getting into.
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 28, 2015, 11:37:23 AM
A few people stated that by working as a lawyer I wasn't necessarily going to be dealing with the constitution and law school is probably not what I think it is. Can anyone give me some more insight on what to expect?

What they mean is that the vast majority of lawyers do not practice Constitutional law. Constitutional cases, which would include things like civil rights, free speech, voting rights, etc., make up a VERY small percentage of all the cases filed. The people who do handle these cases tend to be highly experienced specialists.

The majority of lawyers deal with more mundane things like contract disputes, wills, divorces, and DUIs.

In law school you will take one required Constitutional law class, and have the option to take a few electives that also deal with Constitutional issues. You don't major in law school like you do in undergrad, you just take a lot of required courses and a few electives. Most of your time will be spent taking required courses like Contracts, Torts, Property, and Corporations. Most of it is very dry and difficult (especially the first year).
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: Groundhog on May 28, 2015, 08:07:11 PM
The majority of lawyers deal with more mundane things like contract disputes, wills, divorces, and DUIs.

And don't forget personal injury/liability...those lawyers who advertise on billboards are generally looked down upon by the profession, but the ones who are successful are some of the richest practicing attorneys.
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: Maintain FL 350 on May 29, 2015, 10:20:13 AM
Very true. I know a couple of solo practitioner PI lawyers whose wallets are so fat they'd make a Biglaw partner green with envy.
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on May 30, 2015, 12:48:54 PM
Honestly, just do whatever undergrad major you think you can get a 4.0 in
prelaw is not required. Only you know what your strengths are.
No one cares if you took prelaw or premed or anything. They only care about the LSAT score and GPA.
Focus on those.
Heck they don't even care the name of the school either. You could do city college with all your electives in gym and be better off than Harvard prelaw if you had the higher GPA and focused on LSAT prep the whole time.
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: Citylaw on June 01, 2015, 11:16:41 AM
There are definitely jobs such as City Attorney work where you deal with Constitutional Law all the time.  There are very few private practice attorneys that do Free Speech Work, etc, but if you are government attorney particularly a City Attorney or County Counsel there are significant constitutional issues.

However, as everyone said most people don't practice in that area, but the law is very broad. I think what every poster can agree with is that you should go to undergrad and pursue a degree you are interested in and do as well as you can. A lot will change during your college years, I specifically remember saying I would "never" go to law school in college, but it happened. I knew plenty of other pre-law majors etc that were completely focused on going to law school, but never ended up going.

Since your major does not matter for law school, but your grades do pursue a field of study you are interested in and do well academically.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: loki13 on June 01, 2015, 12:38:09 PM
"Can anyone give me some more insight on what to expect?"

No. The law-niverse is huge, and not easily reducible. That said, the three most common misconceptions about the law are as follows (in terms of people saying they will practice in a particular area):
1. I will practice in Constitutional Law.
2. I will practice in International Law.
3. I will practice in Mergers and Acquisitions.

These three areas are, well, kind of a joke- because most people don't understand that you will likely not practice in these "areas." Do some people? Sure! There are a few people that will go to HYS (Harvard, Yale, Stanford), clerk for a federal judge, clerk again (most likely), and then work for in an appellate boutique doing ConLaw cases..... but.... don't count on it.

As others have noted, most practicing attorneys either do some type of civil/criminal litigation or transactional work (real estate, licenses and business contracts, estates and trusts, etc.). For some people, this is fun and rewarding. For others, this is billable hour hell.

As for what to do in undergrad? Doesn't matter. Really. Do well. Have fun. Get good grades. Travel if you can. Live life- grad school (and/or law school, if that's what you want) will wait.
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on June 01, 2015, 02:30:44 PM
Just to add on to what others have mostly already said............I agree.

Its annoying as hell when people ask "what type of lawyer are you want to be" (as if you have any really clue) They always act shocked as hell when a 3L says "who ever hires me, whatever they do, that's what I'll do".

And then the age old token "But you plan to be one of the GOOD lawyers right, who only helps the GOOD people right"  "um.........RIGHT..........."   :P
Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: Citylaw on June 01, 2015, 02:44:10 PM
Well the question is also who is a good person.

An attorney (Lincoln) Supporting the abolition of slavery 150 years ago was looked upon by many as so evil that thousands of people died.

The definition of "good" people changes all the time and part of being a lawyer is advocating for a side.

At this moment in time defending the Police is controversial, because there is a lot of media saying otherwise, but the months after 9/11 if you represetend the cops you were a good idea.

Title: Re: Upcoming Undergrad-- Law???
Post by: 🍟💵🌲🍥 on June 01, 2015, 10:04:08 PM
Good point on the subjectiveness of "Good".  I know plenty who view defense attorneys as "scum bags who sold their soul for a dollar" (very few dollars from what I have seen for most) And yet the State Attorneys get an equal bad rap as the "bad guy" from the families of those with family facing charges.

-The line seems to be which side they view as "me and mine"

(same with plaintiff vs defendant-it literally changes with the direction of the breeze) "but that's them and this is me........" :P