(Closed) Law School Bees Please Help

posted 6 years ago in College
Post # 3
1994 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

There’s really no cut and dry answer for this.  You should consider where you want to practice? Do you already have connections to that area? How would moving to that area would affect your finances (This is a big one! I wish I would have thought twice before moving to DC. My rent is ridiculous, meaning a very very large portion of my budget goes to housing alone)? Are you interested in public interest/government or private firm work (Realize that if you are interested in PI, you’re starting salary will be very modest, and maybe you shouldn’t take out a 6 figure loan to go to a T14, instead of getting a full ride at a lower ranked university). Also Realize that a lot of employers hire from local schools in their region, so national ranking becomes less important if you are trying to stay in that area. Do the employers you might be interested in normally hire from that school? How big is the OCI? MOST IMPORTANTLY What is the curve like? The curve probably won’t seem particularly important to you at this time, but you’ll care eventually!

As for preparation:

1. Get those undergrad loans deferred if you have any. Law Schools generally don’t automatically do this for you.

2. Take at least 2 weeks off before school (a month if you can swing it) to relax, get organized, and get physically and emotionally prepared

3. If you must make yourself read law school related crap, you should get: “getting to maybe”, “Law School Confidential”, “Ivy Briefs” (fun read, acct. of a columbia law grad’s experience)

4. Explain to the people around you that you won’t have time for them much anymore. Sometimes people don’t understand how much of a time commitment law school is, and they start getting offended when you don’t call as often or if you miss events.

5. Start researching employers ASAP! You’ll want to get a 1L summer job, and the pressure will be on to start actively looking for 1 on December 1st. It’s never to early to start thinking about where you’d like to work for the summer. Find out who hires 1L’s? Who pays (if you need to work for $)? Who has good relationships with your school? Now the Career office will not be allowed to talk to you until Nov. 1st, but you can find these things out on your own. If you have a clear vision of your target employers before the job hunting season kicks off, it won’t seem so overwhelming come Dec. 1st, when you’re also trying to get ready for exams.

6. Network! If you know any upper classman at your school, reach out to them over the summer, and let them know you’re coming. Upper classman at my school are awesome. They’ll give you the “low down” on the professors. They’ll give you their old outlines and Supplements. If you are placed in the same section they were, they’ll likely let you use their books for free, so you don’t have to spend $1000.00 at the bookstore. Upper classmen are also great to talk to about finding work. Sometimes they might have a connection at a place that you’re interested in working, because they summered their the year before.

7. Don’t add all of you’re future classmates to you’re facebook before the school year starts (a personal mistake I made, and deeply regret). You’ll have enough time to get to know those nerds all year.

8. Create a Budget. I mean go all out and do the excel spreadsheet and everything. Since you won’t be able to work 1st year, you will really need to pay close attention to the $ going in and out. And do this before the school year starts

9. Learn to meal plan. Eating out 2 or 3 meals a day is expensive, and it’s not like you’ll have time to cook every day.

I know this post is all over the place, but I hope you find it somewhat helpful. Smile


Post # 4
287 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

 I would say the most important thing is the “feel” you get from the community.  Is it super competative, or are people more cooperative?  What is the school known for, and do you like that.  Try to talk to current or graduated students about this.  It might be hard / impossible to gauge, but you don’t want a school where you’ll be miserable, so its worth a shot.  

Second, I would say it depends on how far apart they are in the rankings.  1st tier v. 4th? go with the 1st without a doubt.  in the same tier, and both are generally well regarded and known, stick with the lower rank. 

PP covered being prepared pretty well, but I have my own 2 cents.  Be reeeeallly sure you want to go to law school.  It essentially takes over your life with stress and work, puts you in a huge amount of debt, and I’m pretty sure takes years off your life.  The market for legal jobs right now isn’t that great either (though I hope it picks up).  So make sure its what you love.

Honestly, I would take the summer before law school off completely.  You’re in for a lot of hard work, so give your brain some time to rest.  And btw, no 1L has any clue what’s going on, not one, even the people who think their majors will help or act like they’re all that.   You’re all starting from scratch, so don’t stress about prepping before, just be ready to hit the ground running.  If anything, just take note of how you learned/ studied best/worst in college, its important to know what works or not, but you’ll figure that out along the way too.

Oh, and find healthy ways to deal with stress, and recognize your weaknesses early.  I’m a comfort/stress eater, and I’ve gotten really unhealthy :(.  I wish I had started good habits before law school got going

@SincerelyShe:  I’m gonna have to disagree with #7 haha.  That’s actually how I met my husband.  Second person a friended from my law school the summer before  I started, lol. 🙂

Post # 5
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

The advice so far has been great so I’ll just add a little. I picked a lower ranked school (still First Tier)  than many of the others that I got into. I did this partly because my scholarship at this school is more substantial. But also partly because my boyfriend is established in the city where this school is and he’s been able to support me through school so I will end up having less loans when I graduate. And we plan on staying in this city so it made sense to go to the best law school in this area instead of a better one that may not have the same connections to this area. I think money and loans is a huge reason for picking a school. It’s not the best market right now so it’s important to balance the investment with the potential pay out. If you aren’t sure about what area of law you’re interested in specifically–and most people aren’t at this point– I would recommend picking a less expensive school. Unless there’s a unique area of law that you really like and only specific school are really known for great placement in that specific field. 

As far as prepping the summer before, I would recommend at least a few weeks off if you can afford it. I had about 3 weeks off from working but I also had been out of school for a year so I’d been working a normal 9-5 job all year. Going straight from school to 3 months of work to law school is Really HARD. You need to give your body a chance to relax.

I read Getting to Maybe and Law School Confidential the summer before school but I don’t think they were that useful. Interesting but not necessary. I would recommend reading fun books because it might be the last time you’ll actually enjoy reading for a while. 

If you’re in a reliationship, I would also stress making sure that your SO is ready for how hard law school will be on you. It’s really hard to go from a relationship where you’re spending most of your free time together or socializing with friends to where you only see each other for dinner and right before bed. I made sure to set my boyfriend’s expectations really low for how much time we’ll have together ( I really terrified him), so now he’s pleasantly suprised when I take a night off to spend time with him. 


Post # 6
1271 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I went with a first tier school with a small scholarship, over a second tier school with a full ride.  I did this on the advice of many lawyers, who assured me that I would make back in 3 years what I paid in student loans if I had a first-tier degree.  They were right, but that was ten years ago.  I wouldn’t take on debt to become a lawyer in this economy.

I did nothing to prepare for lawschool.  I suggest you harness your energy, enjoy your summer and be prepared to do nothing but read for the next four months of your life.  🙂

Post # 7
210 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

If you absolutely, positively have nothing else you want to do with your life other than go to law school, and you’ve thought long and hard about this decision, then the school with the full scholarship is probably the better way to go since entry-level legal jobs are pretty much impossible to come by these days.  UNLESS it’s such a low-ranked school that even getting a full ride and a 4.0 there still won’t get you a job.  What schools are you considering?  If you’re choosing between paying for Harvard (or similar) or getting a full ride at a place that’s barely accredited, go with the Harvard-type choice.  Otherwise, go with the full ride.  Does that make sense?  But READ THE FINE PRINT on your scholarship offer.  Is there a minimum GPA to keep the scholarship?  If so, find out what it is and then find out what the median GPA is for 1Ls at that school.  There are a lot of schools (schools that people consider reputable) who scam their students by offering 3-year full rides contingent on certain GPAs.  People take them, thinking they can get a 3.3 or whatever without a problem, only to find out that the average gpa is a 2.5 and only the top 5% of the class clears a 3.3.  I know people who have ended up taking out massive loans for a mediocre private law school education that they were tricked into believing would be free.  And the worst part is that they turned down acceptances from much higher ranked public schools because they thought they were getting a full ride.  It’s better to know this now – law schools are in the business of scamming their customers students.  They also frequently lie about fudge the numbers on how many of their students are employed after graduation and what their salaries are.  Absolutely do not believe a thing the school says re: employment rates or starting salaries. 


Post # 8
1271 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@bryce234:  Hahahaha.  I cosign to everything you wrote (including the “deletions”).  😛

Post # 9
363 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Another word of caution. Fiance went to law school, graduated 5 years ago and is just now getting to a place where he is feeling happy. The first 3-4 years he struggled in a job he hated, bringing home about 20k/year. So did most people in his class, if they were lucky enough to be employed in the field. Recently there were 240 applicants for 1 spot in the awful, terribly paid job he was finally promoted from. People “volunteered” for that job, just for the chance at that crappy pay when a spot opened up. I know of about 3 people from his class who got the big, six figure salaries, and they are now buried so deep in work they haven’t been heard from in forever.

Make absolutely sure this is what you want. Maybe find a job as a paralegal for some time first. I’m currently working as a paralegal (didn’t go to law school), and while I’m not making what I’d like to make, but my earning potential is decent. Also, a number of people here who started as paralegals and went to law school then had an In and they’re all pretty much employed. 

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