Six Things to Consider Before You Decide to Attend Law School
It is quite different to dream of becoming a lawyer one day and to actually make the commitment to apply to and attend law school. If you are considering taking a committed step toward a law career, take a moment to fully consider the following six aspects of this life-changing decision.
In addition to choosing your desired schools, look into how you will finance your educational endeavors. Find out what kinds of scholarships or other financial aid you may qualify for. Think about whether or not you will realistically be able to both hold gainful employment and attend law school simultaneously. What types of housing are available near your school or schools of choice? Could you share housing or rent a room from someone on or near campus? Look into whether or not you will need to purchase required books for your classes. Find out if there is someone ahead of you in law school who may allow you to purchase or borrow their used books. There are many ways to reduce educational costs, but you need to spend some time looking into them and weighing your options.
It can be difficult to narrow down a school—or even several schools—to apply to. Factors such as geographic location and tuition play a big role in the decision. It is also important to be knowledgeable about school acceptance rates, median test scores, national quality rankings, and graduate employment rates. Attending law school is a huge commitment, and you want to be sure you are making an informed decision. Don’t rule out the option of pursuing an online Master’s in Law, as opposed to attending traditional law school. You may be pleasantly surprised at the benefits, including flexible scheduling and cost effectiveness, of this option.
Take some time to reflect on your motivation for pursuing a career in law. Be true to yourself and pinpoint whether you are making the choice based on family expectations, intellectual stimulation, or a keen interest in a certain niche within the law field. Being true to yourself about this decision can be extremely helpful as you make this education and career decision.
Ideal Work Schedule
After you have determined your key motivation for attending law school, think about your ideal work schedule after graduation. Chances are, if you desire a highly successful law career, you will need to put in a substantial amount of work hours at unorthodox times. If you know ahead of time that this type of work schedule will bother you, take a step back and think about whether or not there is a different educational goal that you would like to pursue instead. Many jobs have standard weekday hours, but law is not typically one of them.
What is your background experience in the law field? Have you finished an internship, completed part time legal work, volunteered, or at least job shadowed someone in the field? If not, strongly consider doing so before making a solid commitment to pursuing a career in law. You may even want to spend some time becoming familiar with various legal journals or honing your oral advocacy skills.
Are you determined to live in a certain geographic area? If so, look into the job market and median salaries in that area. Research alumni networking organizations and advocacy groups that may be able to lend suggestions in that geographic area.
Take your time and make the right decision for you. Some law school graduates feel fulfilled, while others feel disillusioned. Honest reflection and research conducted prior to making a law school commitment go a long way in determining your future educational path.