The Path To Becoming a Lawyer
The path to becoming a lawyer starts way back in high school. The very best law jobs are reserved for those who go to the best law schools, with few exceptions. The admissions process to law school is very competitive. Only the students with the best undergrad GPA from the best schools along with the best LSAT score will make the cut to go to the great law schools, again with few exceptions. Therefore, a great undergrad school is very important, as is choosing your major. In order to get into a great undergrad school you need to excel in high school.
Since students do not have to take any kind of pre-law classes in undergrad it makes a lot of sense for a student to choose an major that they can excel at. GPA is of utmost importance when law schools look at candidates. A 4.0 in Art is better than a 3.0 in Neuroscience. Students must keep their GPA up.
The Law School Admissions Test is the second part of the equation. Along with steller academic credentials and great grades law schools are looking for exceptional LSAT scores. There is actually a LSAT/GPA formula that varies by school which can include or exclude you from consideration. For my tips on the LSAT, click here.
The top three law schools, in my opinion, are Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. Law schools are ranked by US News and World Report. Some companies won't even look at prospective law students who come from a school that is below the top ten in these rankings.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the law school that you choose. Nearly no one goes to a 'local' law school. People go to the best law school they can get into, regardless of location. Your options and opportunities expand greatly with the ranking and prestige of your law school. I was surprised at the number of students at my school who already had advanced degrees, there were Ph.D's, people with Master's Degrees, and even an MD. If you have these degrees you will probably have a leg up on the competition.
Once you follow all these steps and are admitted into the law school of your choice you will begin the grueling routine that is law school. I had several semesters with 16 credits, regularly stayed at the law library past midnight, and law professors began infiltrating my dreams. Remember, law firms do look at law school grades and they only want the cream of the crop.
I met a lot of people in law school who were at the top of their class in undergrad and high school. Suddenly, there was a lot of competition for that spot. Everyone is smart, everyone is used to doing well. You have to want it more.
It is tempting to travel or rest during summer breaks from law school. It is smarter to take on internships and law student jobs. These can lead to valuable employment opportunities and look great on a resume.
Good luck on your future endeavors. If you work hard and keep your eye on the prize you will reap the rewards for decades to come.
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