IS LAW SCHOOL RIGHT FOR ME?
The decision to go to law school is a big one. It demands a great deal of personal commitment and financial sacrifice. We suggest that you do your homework, but you don't have to do that alone. Explore legal work with a summer internship through Sewanee's Career Center or participate in Sewanee’s moot court competition.
How do I prepare now?
Start thinking about a major and courses that interest you. Law schools do not require a particular major or even specific courses. A pre-law student should take a rigorous range of courses and should select a major based on interest in and commitment to the subject. Regardless of major, choose courses that will aid your success in law school and in legal practice.
Keep in mind the advice of the Law School Admission Council, “Whatever major you select, you are encouraged to pursue an area of study that interests and challenges you, while taking advantage of opportunities to develop your research and writing skills.”
Your record in law school and your later success in the legal world will partly depend on how well you research, write, and speak. Choose courses that will strengthen your abilities in oral and written communications. At Sewanee, you will find a great number of courses across various departments that help you meet this goal.
To help develop your writing skills, take courses that have many opportunities for writing assignments. Quite simply, the more you write, the better you will write. For example, courses in English, History, Philosophy, Politics, and other departments where reading, and thus writing, is dominant will give you ample opportunity to practice your writing skills.
In the legal profession, whether in courtrooms or in meetings with clients, oral communication of difficult information is essential. As such, you should take courses that give you a chance to practice your speaking skills. Many Sewanee courses have a strong in-class discussion component, and, for example, our array of Constitutional Law courses in the Politics department have a moot court simulation, in which students assume the role of counsel and justices in oral arguments. Of course, Theatre courses offer a fun way to hone your oratorical talents!
A common complaint is that law school graduates do poorly situating clients’ legal problems in a larger business context. Consider using resources at Sewanee, like the Babson Center for Global Commerce, to acquaint yourself with economic and business issues that intersect with the law.
Additionally, you should participate in extra-curricular activities and internships; consider moot court or the Sewanee Career Center for internships and fellowships. Moot court is a trial simulation in which students prepare for arguing cases in front of expert panels of judges. Sewanee students then compete in a statewide trial simulation in Nashville. The Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge is a groundbreaking program where Tennessee undergraduates argue appellate cases with their peers. The Sewanee Career Center provides assistance with cover letters, resumes, networking, and preparing for an interview. In addition to both of these resources, consider reviewing our list of pre-law summer programs and our Pre-Law checklist.
Meet with Prof. Hatcher
Preparing for law school can be difficult to balance against an ongoing course load. Meet with Prof. Hatcher (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss plans for when to start law school, when to take the LSAT, when to apply and more.
how do I prepare for the lsat?
There is no one right way to study for the test. It all depends on how best you learn and retain information. Start with the resources at LSAC. Some students find classes and tutorials, such as those from PowerScore, Kaplan, or Princeton Review useful; others study only from prep books. Be sure to take practice tests to monitor your progress. When you feel ready, create an account at LSAC and register for the test.
where should I go to law school?
Law school is preparation for a vocation, so you should go to law school in an area you want to live and work. Networking in law school can help to line up summer clerkships, which leads to jobs after law school. Also, consider the type of law you want to practice and look at schools that specialize in that area. Always remember that just because a school is higher ranked does not mean that it’s right for you and your career plans. Start a spreadsheet with columns listing law schools you’re interested in, GPA and LSAT ranges, tuition, bar passage rates, and employment rates for each one. LSAC and ABA reports offer data on accredited law schools.
How do i apply?
- Create an account at LSAC
- Take the LSAT
- Write a personal statement [move text from “how do I write a personal statement” from old site here]
- Prepare a resume. Sewanee Career Services has an array resources to help.
- Acquire a transcript
- Solicit letters of recommendation. It’s helpful to ask a professor who has observed your intellectual abilities and work ethic as well as an employer or supervisor who can comment on other attributes such as your ability to work with others, time management, and communication skills.
HOW DO I pay for law school?
Many schools offer scholarships, so ask an admissions officer for details about that particular school. Check out the following resources as well:
Finally, consider printing and reviewing our Pre-Law Checklist, a helpful summary of the information listed above. It walks you through important steps by school year to realistically prepare you for entering law school.