How To Prepare for Law School (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

February 22, 2021

Law school is a three-year endeavor that prepares students to work in a variety of law professions. Some people attend law school directly after graduating with a bachelor's degree, while others change careers later in life and attend law school as adult professionals. Interested students can begin preparing for law school as early as high school to ensure they are ready for the demands of their law program. In this article, we explain why it's important to prepare for law school, describe how to prepare and offer tips for good preparation.

Related: 15 Types of Law Careers You Can Pursue

Why is it important to prepare for law school?

It's important to prepare for law school due to job competition for lawyers and to develop the necessary skills for success. Competition in law school and the law labor market is high. Taking the necessary steps to prepare for law school can help students excel in the classroom and receive great job offers following graduation.

Many law schools expect students to have certain hard and soft skills before beginning classwork. Developing these skills before starting law school ensures a smooth transition from your current job or undergraduate study into law school. Law schools often seek students with the following skills:

  • Problem-solving

  • Critical thinking

  • Writing

  • Proofreading and editing

  • Public speaking

  • Researching

  • Reading comprehension

  • Organizational

  • Active listening

  • Analyzing

Related: How to Become a Lawyer

How to prepare for law school

Students can begin preparing in high school or during their undergraduate degree if they know they want to attend law school. Those who make a career change later in life can use many of the same strategies to prepare effectively. Use these steps to successfully and confidently gain entrance to law school:

  1. Maintain a great GPA.

  2. Take pre-law classes.

  3. Join a pre-law organization.

  4. Improve soft skills.

  5. Research law schools.

  6. Attend a law school forum.

  7. Visit law schools.

  8. Prepare for the LSAT.

  9. Obtain a bachelor's degree.

  10. Submit applications.

1. Maintain a great GPA

If you know you're interested in a career in law as early as high school, begin your law school preparation by taking challenging classes and maintaining a high GPA. The better your GPA, the more options you typically have for undergraduate colleges or universities.

2. Take pre-law classes

While pursuing your bachelor's degree, speak with your academic advisor about a pre-law curriculum or suggested courses for students hoping to attend law school. Take courses that develop your law knowledge and effectively prepare you to pursue a law degree. For example, you might take criminal justice, political science, government, economics, history and philosophy classes during your undergraduate degree.

3. Join a pre-law organization

Many undergraduate colleges and universities have pre-law organizations devoted to researching law schools, working on applications and preparing for school in other ways. If your school does not have a pre-law organization, consider starting one with other students interested in law school.

4. Improve soft skills

While you're in school or your current position, actively improve your soft skills such as analysis, writing and public speaking. Identify areas for improvement and practice those skills in your personal life as well as at school or work. Speak with a career counselor or your academic advisor to determine what you can do to improve the necessary skills for law school. For example, if you are in the workforce, you might offer to make a presentation to your coworkers to improve your public speaking ability.

5. Research law schools

Law schools exist all over the world, so it is important to research various law schools to determine which one meets your academic and future career needs. For example, consider the reputation of the law school and where you want to work. Nationally or internationally known law schools are best for students hoping to work for large, international law firms, while smaller, state-based law schools are excellent choices for students hoping to work in that specific region.

6. Attend a law school forum

Law school forums are commonly held throughout the country at various times of the year. Usually, representatives from over 100 schools attend to answer questions about preparing for law school and applying for admission as well as the general law school experience. Forums can help you decide which schools you want to apply to.

7. Visit law schools

Once you've determined your application shortlist, plan visits to each law school. Many schools have prospective student events with seminars, tours and other activities designed to help candidates determine if the school is the right fit for them. Visiting law schools and speaking with current students and professors is one of the best ways to figure out which school is best for you.

8. Prepare for the LSAT

The Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT, is a standardized test most law schools require for entrance. The LSAT tests your logic, analysis, reading comprehension and writing abilities. Students who prepare for the LSAT with classes or self-directed study tend to score higher than those who don't prepare. LSAT prep courses and materials are widely available, so take advantage of them and prepare for the test to improve your chances of a high score.

9. Obtain a bachelor's degree

Before submitting applications to law schools, make sure you've graduated or are graduating within the year with a bachelor's degree. Many schools require that you submit your transcripts with final grades or an anticipated graduation date for entrance.

10. Submit applications

Plan to apply to multiple law schools. Acceptance is competitive, so submitting multiple applications increase the chances of a school admitting you. Law school applications usually include multiple components and can take some time to complete, so make sure you give yourself ample time to finish the applications.

Related: Should I Go to Law School? (With FAQ)

Tips for preparing for law school

Make the most of your time before law school with these tips for preparation:

  • Take an LSAT prep course: While schools do not require you to take LSAT prep courses before taking the test, they can vastly improve your score, which often determines whether a school accepts you.

  • Find an internship: During your undergraduate degree or even high school, find a law office that offers internships. This helps you learn how a law office functions and what the day-to-day responsibilities of a working lawyer entail.

  • Talk with a lawyer: Set up an informational interview with a lawyer to learn more about the occupation. If you can, meet with lawyers in a variety of sectors to learn about the many career options you have, such as commercial, corporate, family, criminal and public law.

  • Consider speed reading: Law school requires a large amount of reading as part of the coursework. Some students benefit from learning to speed read in order to master their assignments.

  • Work on your writing: Writing is an essential skill for law students. Make sure your writing abilities are strong before applying for law school. If you need to improve your skills, find ways to work on them outside of school or work, such as by familiarizing yourself with basic grammar principles, taking a writing night class or joining a workshop.

  • Take strong notes: Note-taking is a necessary practice in law classes. Develop strong note-taking skills during undergrad or in the workplace.

  • Purchase study resources: Resources for studying, like a writing style guide and a law dictionary, are great tools for prospective law students.

  • Read everything: Get in the habit of frequent reading. The more you read, the better your reading comprehension can become.

  • Establish healthy habits: Learn how to balance an intensive academic workload with healthy eating, exercise and personal health habits before you start law school. The earlier you establish a healthy balance in your life, the easier it is to maintain in the long-term.

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