Law School Discussion

Best work experience prior to law school

Best work experience prior to law school
« on: February 09, 2013, 08:06:16 PM »

I know some schools, more specifically Northwestern, really value work experience in their applicants, and I'm currently considering three opportunities:

- Paralegal at a DA's office,
- Paralegal at BigLaw,
- and Investigator for a governmental agency.

Which experience would help me stand out the most? It should be noted that I'm planning on getting a couple years of work experience prior to heading back to school. Feel free to suggest other positions I should look into.

Thank you.


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Re: Best work experience prior to law school
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 11:44:32 AM »
I'm not being snarky at all, but it may sound that way.

Why do you think Northwestern would be impressed by a paralegal position?   What is it about a job in that area that would make you a more attractive candidate?

Low-level jobs in the legal field may appeal to some employers, but I can't imagine law schools caring much.  They like unique job experience.  If you are trying to impress an admissions board, call a few schools and ask them what jobs they are impressed by.  I'd be blown away if anyone mentioned the word "paralegal," but I've been wrong before.

Personally, I think working as a paralegal is valuable experience for individuals going into certain types of law, but it's also negative for individuals going into other types of law.   

Re: Best work experience prior to law school
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2013, 08:22:47 PM »
I will agree with Jack and the reality is law school admissions care very little about work experience unless it is something impressive i.e. NBA basketball player, Navy Seal, Founder of a Multi-Million Dollar Company, etc. Working as a paralegal won't hurt you and it may be a good idea to expose yourself to what the legal profession really is before making a 3 year 100,000 commitment, but it will be of marginal value for law school admissions.

Realistically the most important thing you can do for law school admissions is nail the LSAT. Your post does not indicate whether you have done that yet or not, but knock that out and have a score if you have a 155 Northwestern is just not going to happen.  You need to score in the top 5% of test takers to get into Northwestern and there is a 95% chance you won't be in the top 5% I hope you are, but take the rest and see what your options realistically are.

I guess if your goal is to work in BigLaw then be a paralegal for BigLaw if you want to be a D.A. after law school work for the D.A. etc, etc. 

One thing I caution 0L's about in your position is how long are you going to be a paralegal 1 year very quickly turns into 3-4 and then you don't have time to take the LSAT and you never end up going. The longer you wait to enroll in law school the likelier life is to get in the way. Maybe you will meet a girl/guy, maybe some issues will arise in the family, maybe you will get sick, the list is endless and the longer you wait the less likely law school is to happen, but if you have 0 experience in the legal field I think a year or so as a paralegal can be helpful.


If you haven't already take the LSAT so you know what your options truly are. If you are going to be a paralegal really set a date for when you are quitting the job if you don't have that or an LSAT score when you start as a parlegal your first day of 1L will probably never come. Good luck to you.

Re: Best work experience prior to law school
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 06:48:39 PM »
As a disclaimer, I have just applied to law schools in Dec and am awaiting to hear from all the schools I applied to. But I have been working for the last 2 years since graduating from college in a field that has absolutely nothing to do with law, but is rather highly technical. Honestly, I chose the job because well, the market was bad, it didn't seem that bad at all when I first interviewed and also I didn't exactly have a clue what exactly I wanted to do with my major. What I did know was that I did not want to go immediately into any postgraduate program after graduation.

So I guess what I am trying to say is take the job that is the most interesting to you now. If anything, I think you would be a more attractive candidate if you come from a background outside of the law so when you're writing your personal statement you can explain how whatever work experience you have now is applicable to the legal field. I can tell you have some interest in the law and justice based on the positions you list, but in general I think any of them will give you great experience and skills outside of the classroom. Good luck!