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How to Prepare for a Law Career Early in Your Education

How to Prepare for a Law Career Early in Your EducationBy Anica Oaks

Getting accepted into and successfully graduating from law school is a challenging goal. However, it’s never too early to begin preparing for a law career through the following four tips.

Extracurricular Activities

Both law students and credentialed lawyers must excel at making concise and persuasive verbal and written arguments. Be sure to join a debate club, get involved with leadership groups and develop public-speaking skills. These can be developed through volunteering, joining community groups and participating in seminars and conferences. High school students can visit events designed for potential law students, such as single-day educational events that involve mock trials.

Academics

Students should focus on getting a well-rounded education that develops and hones their analytical, presentation and communication skills. Students should select classes that require organized research, persuasive writing and verbal critique of ideas and documentation. Because so much of an attorney’s professional practice involves clear and concise communication, students should study literature, psychology and advanced vocabulary. STEM classes will sharpen analytical thinking and technology classes will prepare students to use case and practice management software. Of course, students should pursue a graduate level college coursework related to law. And some people may eschew a traditional law degree in favor of a master’s in paralegal work.

Understand the Law School Admissions Process

The two most important factors of the law school admission process are the applicant’s LSAT score and their GPA. Some schools consider the LSAT more important, but others prioritize GPA scores. Either way, students must begin preparing during high school to build up the best possible numbers. In order to evaluate one’s chances of gaining admission to law school, applicants can compare their scores and profiles with prior applicants who successfully entered the target law school. Law schools also consider other factors when evaluating applications, such as grade distribution, college activities, work experience and professional training.

Prepare for the LSAT

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) administers the official Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which tests reading comprehension, writing skills and analytical and logical reasoning competencies. For example, the logical reasoning sections are designed to test the examinee’s ability to scrutinize and analyze arguments. This means that the examinee must ascertain the argument’s assumption, select alternate conclusions, identify logical errors and submit an alternative argument with parallel reasoning. The LSAT exam is comprised of five sections that predominately contain sections with multiple-choice questions, but there is a writing sample section. The exam contains approximately 100 items and takes about two hours to complete.

Be sure to also build and maintain relationships with a few professors who are willing to provide glowing recommendations in the future.

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