I am sending you this email because i am seriously interested in continuing on to Law School once I graduate College. I am rising Junior at Tuskegee University, majoring in Political Science. I am currently researching Law Schools and any other things that may aid me in my quest to Law School.
I was wondering if you could help me in any way that you can. If you could provide your expertise or any advice that you feel will be helpful to me. I am trying to learn more about the LSAT and LSAT Preparation. How to make myself a more desirable Law School Candidate, How can I get into a Top Law School, Early Admissions, Intersnhip Oppurtunities, How to pick a Law School that is suitable for me and any helpful websites, books, or programs that I should look into.
I really appreciate it.
Please feel free to contact me
Evaulation of where you eventually want to practice:
***best school in that area
***legal market there now and expected trend for the future
***legal market there for the area of law you wish to practice
***any geographic locations off the beaten track you want to consider? (Beaten track is any state that touches a coastline or has a high URM count...New York metro, DC Metro, Texas, Cali, Tennessee etc.)
Sources to use for research include the ABA's and that state's (and city's, if it has one) bar's websites
Evaluation of the field in which you eventually want to practice:
***best geographic locations to get jobs in it
***best schools in said locations
***legal market for this field now and expected trend for the future
***any fields off the beaten track you want to consider? (Beaten track is anything trendy that people are rushing like lemmings, or anything bleeding jobs right now, such as biglaw, international law, environmental law, intellectual property (IP) law, insurance defense law. There are fields that are always solid streams of work, such as criminal defense, immigration law, family law, and public interest but the public interest budgets are limited and the applicants are UNlimited).
Evaluation of the schools you are thinking look good to attend
***T-14s (you will need to write a targeted paragraph into the PS you send to these schools that shows you know the school, researched the school, and know how it can help you achieve your particular goals/how you can add to the quality and diversity of its student body)
***schools located in the geographic areas you wish to or are considering to live and practice in. This is not a small item here. Where you go to school, if not a national (T-14, and in this economy, more like T-10) school, determines where you will most likely be able to get hired and therefore where you will practice for probably the rest of your life. Lawyers don't move around state to state when they feel like uprooting like in other professions, at least not from what I can see. You can't go to a regional school in the Southeast and expect to get someone to even look at your resume in the Pacific Northwest. If you want to live in the Great Lakes region and did not get into a T-14, you must go to a school located in or very near the Great Lakes region. This also makes sense as far as working on contacts outside of class your 1L year to develop a network that will help you get that 2L summer job and that first job after passing the bar. Can't work on a Great Lakes network when you are down in Florida somewhere. Lawyers like to help out their alma maters apparently and most of them tend to work near their alma maters, and this subtle nepotism is rampant and ingrained nationwide.
Sources include the LSAC website, the ABA guide to the schools (also found on the LSAC site), the schools' websites, many schools' online prelaw handbooks (even schools you don't plan on attending have interesting and informative reads), LSD (this site), TLS (top-law-schools.com), etc., AND to get the flipside of what happens to those who don't make it or went into law and did not get what they wanted out of it...above the law website, big debt small law website, etc. Always good to know the heights of heaven and the depths of hell possible in your future profession. If nothing else it allows you to learn from the right choices AND the mistakes of others, including their attitudes.
You should have about 15-20 schools on your list by the time you are done evaluation and research as to what suits your goals and needs (and wants)...4 reaches (you are below their 25th percentile numbers), 4-6 average matches (you fall within their middle 50% of scores), and 4-8 safeties (you are above their 75th percentile numbers).
Numbers/scores = GPA and LSAT.
So as you can see, you have PLENTY to do just this year alone. And once you get accepted somewhere(s) hopefully by this Christmas, you will have the joys of FAFSA and scholarship hunting to afford the portion of law school the school itself and the federal government's less than $20,000 MAXIMUM budget doesn't cover. (Yes, getting accepted is one thing, affording it is another. If the gov't provides less than $20,000 max to any student per year, and the law schools cost an average of $30,000 per year...you see the disconnect there? Scholarship hunting and getting schools to pay for your schooling will need to be a priority if your parents can't foot that bill. I don't suggest anyone use any private loans to finance this given the state of the legal market...unless you get into Harvard, Yale, or Stanford).
Oh, and apply for an LSAC fee waiver. Getting that one means an automatic fee waiver from most schools (have to write to Yale to get them to give you theirs).
And, attend the nearest LSAC Law Forum. I have read that schools will give you waivers there too, plus you can ask your questions (if you research the schools ahead of time and walk prepared with them written down) to the people who might best be able to answer. Just don't expect them to be a real source of truth on employment stats and pay stats upon graduation. They only know what the graduates who responded to the surveys tell them, and graduates who have terrible news are not likely to broadcast it.
Best way to look up how the graduates of that school are doing is to the check each state (that you are interested in living in) bar's website, look up grads for a particular school, and call them and ask! Do your own fact-finding. I plan on doing this soon as I am done with my LSAT. Call a bunch of them and find out what I want to know from the horse's mouth.
Anna Ivey's guide to getting into law school is a good book to read
So is the guerrilla guide to getting a job in law (after you get accepted you can read that so you know what to do BEFORE you have to start doing it)
I have heard good things about cracking the lsat. I just borrowed one from the public library so I will soon find out if it's up to the hype.
Look up these books on Amazon.com and you will see the reviews and what other books in this category people who checked out that book also liked, and that will give you an idea of books to help you through this process and through law school.
Get into top law schools by having a banging LSAT score and personal statement. And above all by applying the DAY THEIR APPLICATION WINDOW OPENS. Do not even look into what schools' deadlines are, because that will give your mind a false sense of time. MANY, MANY people who want your spot are taking the June LSAT in less than month intending to have everything ready to go by September 1 when the first set of schools start taking applications. That is what I am doing unless my LSAT score is ridiculous (then I retake in October and will still be otherwise complete). YOUR deadline is when the window OPENS. Have your stuff done and sitting in the LSAC's LSDAS records ready to go 2 weeks before that if at all possible (however you will take the October test so aim to have all else done by then except the test).
Most minorities apparently do not bother applying til the last minute and that is good for you if you know that and take advantage of it, bad for them because seats are filled as soon as applications start rolling across the admissions committee's desks.
If your LSAT and/or GPA are not above the 25th percentile score for the T-14 you want to get into, please make up for this with an even more perfect and engaging personal statement and super-early application.
Also pick one of them to apply Early Decision (ED) with the understanding NOT to do this if you are not prepared to find a way to afford it and put your ED deposit down if they say yes! EA is great if the school has it because they don't require a binding automatic yes from you.
And, keep a chart of these schools, how many LORs each requires, what types of essays (anything optional, treat it like it's required, the other overachievers are treating it that way), and anything unusual required like a Dean's certification form. Put it in excel or on paper but keep one folder or notebook with all your law school info.
And keep a chart of your lsat practice scores and how many errors you are getting on each section type. Helps you see trends so you can figure out where to focus your energy and not waste time blindly. Write down anything unusual that affected you positively and negatively such as construction starting up outside during the LG section or having drank coffee before starting that test.