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« on: October 16, 2005, 01:12:56 AM »
Yep, the LSAT is a critical factor. Order the Actual LSATs from LSAC, and practice, practice, practice them. You can raise your score substantially with practice.
Your major is fine, especially if you're thinking of patent law. Firms LOVE people who can take the patent bar. And the science background will be fine for law school itself -- law is a new way of thinking for everybody.
For the personal statement, it sounds like you've got great material to work with. Law schools just want to see an interesting person with a genuine interest in becoming a lawyer. So all you have to do is explain how much you enjoy your job and how you plan to use that experience in your career as a lawyer. Providing a very brief explanation of why you dropped out of pharmacy school is a good idea, just so they don't get the wrong idea.
« on: October 16, 2005, 01:08:28 AM »
I'm a 2L now and will be 32 when I graduate. I'm a female at a top-15 school, and I have a very-good-but-not-stellar law school record. My pre-law-school career was OK, but not incredibly impressive. I have relatively weak interview skills.
My advice: be very prepared to answer: "So, you had a great career ... what made you give it up and go to law school?"
When interviewing this fall, it was hard to answer that question when a firm did not do anything that I could specifically relate to my previous work experience. I did not have a compelling story about a big transformative moment either. So I think that hurt me a bit.
But I eventually found a biglaw-paying firm that DOES want me for my background, and I think I will like it there.
Bottom line -- it depends where you go to law school, how your grades are, and how well you can explain the decision to make the transition to law school.
« on: October 16, 2005, 12:34:30 AM »
I'm in law school now. If I had college to do over again, I'd take some advanced courses in American history so that once I got to law school I'd understand the context of the legal decisions we're reading. I also might seek out more public speaking experience.
Otherwise, it's just a matter of keeping up your GPA and demonstrating leadership in some campus organization.
I seriously doubt that admissions committees care much about whether or not you intern in a law firm. If you do manage to get the opportunity, though, it would be good to see whether you actually want to be a lawyer. I'm going to intern next summer without ever having had that experience!
« on: February 20, 2005, 02:20:01 AM »
I'm a 1L now.
I didn't read One-L until after my first semester. It was somewhat entertaining, but it wasn't anything that would have helped me do better in school.
I did read Law School Confidential before law school, and I recommend that one. School (at least where I go) isn't as nasty as it sounds in Law School Confidential, but you do need to be prepared for very hard work. My advice: choose a relatively small school. I think that's why the atmosphere here is good -- there's a strong incentive for everybody to want a good reputation.
Getting to Maybe is really good. Also, Bramble Bush by Karl Llewellyn is good if you have time.
« on: February 20, 2005, 02:00:59 AM »
Hi. I'm a first-year law student at one of the top 15 law schools in the US. So that's where this advice comes from.
Advice for a high school graduate/college freshman:
People come to law school from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, and different academic backgrounds help different people in different ways. Math and philosophy courses helped me with the LSAT. Math will probably help me with tax law. Science courses helped many of my classmates prepare to enter patent law. History majors in law school have a great perspective on the context of the legal decisions we read about, especially in Constitutional law. Speaking Spanish is nearly a prerequisite for certain jobs in legal aid offices. Economics majors have a huge advantage in analyzing the policies behind property and contract law. Major in what you find interesting, and do well in it. In very bottom-line terms, that means making a good GPA and getting to know some of your professors so that they will be able to recommend you to law schools. But from a broader perspective, if you study something you find interesting, you will be able to build on whatever you learned once you get to law school. (Or, you may decide you don't want to go to law school at all, in which case you will have set yourself up for a career in something else that interests you.)
Don't worry about the LSAT right now. Start studying a few months before the exam for a few hours a week -- you can improve your performance a lot with practice. But it's not an issue at all right now.
So, let's suppose you find a major that you like, you're doing well, and you have some friends and some extracurricular activities in your life. Well, if all that is going OK, then the best thing to do is to find out whether you want to be a lawyer. Worry about law school later. I like law school, some people don't, but it's only 3 years either way. What matters is whether you will like being a lawyer. Talk to any available lawyers or law students. Volunteer to assist with something that will put you in contact with lawyers.
In any case, I strongly recommend working in some field for 2-3 years after you graduate from college before you enter law school. The maturity you gain in that short span of time is really worth it.
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