Why Do People Go To Law School?
- Marvin Harvey
Pursuing a law degree can make it possible for you to pursue an array of career opportunities. There are many kinds of lawyers, including intellectual property, immigration, family and real estate lawyers. You might also consider a legal career that’s not a lawyer.
Why do I need to go to law school?
Summary – Going to law school in the United States may help you pursue careers in policy that can address some of the world’s most pressing problems. Being a practising lawyer can also potentially have a high impact. The educational experience itself can offer meaningful career benefits.
Do I really want to go to law school?
Should I go to law school? That is often the question for many recent graduates thinking about pursuing a legal career. You may have watched Law and Order growing up and dreamed of being a top lawyer like those in the show, and you’re curious if it’s really possible.
- Only go to law school if you love law or know you need a legal education to pursue the career you want.
- Getting into better schools will open up a lot more doors for you.
- If you haven’t shadowed or spoken to a few lawyers yet about their careers, make sure to get some real experience before you apply.
- People who want to go into law should have realistic expectations. The work may not be as profitable or glamorous as you might think.
- Important skills a law student needs include communication, decision-making, persuasion, persistence, and emotional stability.
What type of person is good for law school?
Qualities of a good law student (and lawyer!) –
- Interest in law Believe it or not, law schools want applicants who are interested in the law. Your personal statement should answer the questions – why law school and why now. An important part of law school and legal practice is scholarship – writing and interpreting the law. While it doesn’t matter what your undergraduate major was, law school applicants should have an interest in law. You don’t need an “aha” moment, or have a definite plan for after law school but your interest in a legal education and a legal career should be explicit.
- Ethics Law schools and the legal profession value integrity and honesty. Any type of service that emphasizes academic integrity or ethical standards is great to emphasize. It is important that everything you describe in your personal statement displays your strong sense of ethics – including your “work ethic.”
- Intellectual curiosity Law schools pride themselves on providing students a variety of learning opportunities. Therefore, schools value intellectual curiosity and academic ability. Law schools have at least one writing-intensive class as well as a class focused on trial advocacy. Clinics and externships – practical learning – provide out-of-classroom learning as well. You should be able to show in your personal statement moments when you went above and beyond to learn something new, where you took advantage of opportunities and thrived.
- People skills Lawyers work with people, clients and other lawyers. The legal profession is collaborative. While the stereotype of the lawyer is someone who is argumentative, in fact, law schools want people who can talk to many different types of people without confrontation. Avoid that old adage in your personal statement: “My parents said I should be a lawyer because I like to argue.” This kind of perception shows law schools that you haven’t spent enough time learning what the practice of law is all about.
- Tenacity Try, try again. That’s a lawyer’s motto. Sometimes your side wins, and sometimes it loses. Sometimes you may not even agree with your side. But in all cases, a lawyer has to be willing to pick up and try again and work hard for every client despite differences. In your personal statement, you should show moments when you have overcome obstacles,
While law schools aren’t looking for cookie-cutter applicants, they do want students who show these qualities, which are essential for success in law school and in your legal career. Remember to show, don’t tell, – provide evidence! – at least some of these in your personal statement, and you will set yourself up to be a winning applicant. Christine Carr is a Harvard graduate with over 15 years of admissions experience, including nine years as Associate Director of Admissions at Boston University School of Law. She has read over 10,000 personal statements and counseled thousands of prospective applicants through the application process. Want Christine to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch! Related Resources:
- The Law School Admissions Guide: 8 Tips for Success
- 3 Musts for Your Law School Application Resume
- How to Project Professionalism, Positivity, and Confidence in Your Statement of Purpose
Is law school hard for everyone?
Getting in–and Staying in – Having a good GPA and acing the LSAT are good indicators that you are qualified for law school, but they don’t necessarily mean that you’ll make a good law school candidate. This is why law schools look at not just your LSAT and GPA, but also your resume, personal statement, and recommendations to determine whether or not you’ll make a good fit and can cope with the program.
- Every year, when admissions open for law school, thousands of hopefuls apply.
- Many of these applicants go through the process without having an inkling of what law school will be like.
- They could save themselves a lot of time and trouble by asking a practicing lawyer, “How hard is law school?” It’s people in this category that typically end up complaining the loudest about law school being hard.
If you aren’t committed to learning or don’t possess the required skills or mental agility, you might find yourself struggling to cope. Also, it’s not a program that you can coast through simply because you are smart. Cramming won’t save you when exams come around.
The law school coursework is diverse and vast, which means you can’t afford to slack off. You need to put in the necessary work throughout the program if you want to succeed. In summary, law school is hard. Harder than regular college or universities, in terms of stress, workload, and required commitment.
But about 40,000 people graduate from law schools every year–so it is clearly attainable.
What makes law school so hard?
2. How hard is it to study? – Studying in law school requires a different approach than studying in undergrad. The law is extensive, and you need a comprehensive, practical understanding of the materials. It’s going to take more than memorizing notes (which is often the approach for undergrad).
- Study groups
- Supplemental materials
- Law library resources
- Past exams
Why am I interested in a career in law?
Making a difference – Professor Crisp said: “If you are the type of person who believes in making a difference, studying law could not be more fitting. Maybe you will choose to go into the legal profession and fight for people who have been wrongly convicted of a crime.
You might use the communication and debating skills you learn to step into politics. Your knowledge of the law could help you set up a charity to fight social injustice.” For many people, a rewarding career is more than just a good salary. The important thing about a career in law is the ways in which it can be fulfilling and bring positive change to the world.
Depending on the niche you choose, you can take on cases that have an impact on the environment, human rights, or even simply the life of your client.
Is it hard to fail out of law school?
You and the Law | How to flunk out of law school Recently accepted by a mid-west law school, “Howard” wrote, “I never really studied much in college, cramming for tests and assume law school will be like that, but my wife tells me I will flunk out if I approach it that way.
- What do you say, Mr.
- Beaver?” I say, “You have a very intelligent wife.” Admission to law school does not guarantee that three years from now Howard will graduate and be admitted to the bar.
- The flunk-out rate for law students is in the range of 12-25%” says Lisa Blasser, a Claremont-based attorney, and author of “Nine Steps to Law School Success: A Scientifically Proven Study Process for Success in Law School.” So, what explains someone failing? “They simply are not taught how to study.
Law school is not like undergrad. A very different skill set is required to succeed. When law students don’t study properly, there is a good chance they’ll underperform and unfortunately, fail.” Blasser set out a by-the-numbers list of what a student has to do in order to flunk out of law school: 1.
Apply to law school to make someone besides yourself happy. Consequences: Your heart won’t be in the game. You’ll be immersed in an extraordinarily difficult academic environment, lacking the internal motivation necessary to succeed.2. Lack passion to succeed. Consequences: You’ll lack the innate energy needed to get through that 60th hour of studying.
When studying becomes unbearable, it is critical to rely on the reason you are putting yourself through the trenches. Your passion is the fuel that carries you through those difficult moments.3. Think that studying in law school is similar to studying in college.
- Consequences: Assuming you already know how to study actually limits opportunities for learning in law school.
- It is unlike any other academic experience and you need a linear, systematic study process to succeed.4.
- Think that you don’t need to create a study calendar.
- Consequences: Stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, guilt, no free time, being unaware of what you need to do to succeed every day, then failing your midterms and finals.
Sound fun? 5. Think that you can pull an all-nighter or cram for an exam. Consequences: You won’t have enough time to organize and articulate your thoughts in writing in a meaningful way on the exam. Success in law school does not stem from memorization and regurgitation.
Instead, success comes from having a deep understanding of the law and then applying the law to varying facts, all of which you have analyzed in detail prior the exam.6. Make it harder on yourself by not reading commercial outlines and supplements. Consequences: You will get frustrated reading archaic cases/terms and may miss the issue presented in the case.
Acclimate yourself to the facts, issue and outcome of a case by reading a simple overview of the case, that is drafted in layman’s terms, prior to reading the edited version in your textbook. Doing so saves time because you’ll already have an understanding of the main points, making it easier to connect the dots on the second read.7.
Select members of your study group who don’t possess the same passion to succeed that you do. Consequences: Study groups become more of a gossip fest, and waste of time. Associate with students who value their legal education and succeeding in law school just as much as you do.8. Maintain an empty happiness tank by ignoring family, not taking coffee breaks, skipping celebratory dinners, dropping loved ones and ignoring all of the things that make you feel human outside of law school.
Consequences: You’ll burn out quickly and face the possibility of anxiety and depression. Depression among law students is 8-9% prior to matriculation, 27% after one semester, 34% after two semesters, and 40% after three years.9. Set unrealistic goals for yourself.
Consequences: Getting a 4.0 is outside your control on the first day of class. What is within your control is accomplishing the set of tasks you assign yourself every day. The days will ultimately turn into weeks and before you know it, you will be in a place to achieve that 4.0 by completing those smaller, realistic daily goals.
Concluding our interview, she offers this encouraging advice to all law students: “Dig deep into your heart when law school gets tough. Believe that you are 100% capable of learning how to succeed and succeeding. Be kind to yourself when setbacks arise.
Is law school just memorization?
Memorization Techniques & Learning The Law – California Desert Trial Academy College of Law in,, When talking about memorization and studying, it means understanding material and memorizing a substantial amount of material, in a short amount of time. While law school exams primarily require applied knowledge, not rote memorization, you still have to know the material, which requires some (a lot of) memorization.
Repetition of the material is necessary for retention of the material. This requires repeatedly studying a topic or concept and actively practicing your recall of it. There are devices available to help you such as your course outline or even flashcards. Of course, any device is only as good as the time truly spent repeating your review of it.
A key to learning and remembering is spaced repetition of the review of the material. Learning material in shorter sessions over a longer period is much more preferable and effective than cramming at the end of the semester. You still must learn and apply the knowledge.
- This means knowing the actual meaning of legal terms, their applications, and the exceptions and variations associated with these terms.
- Ultimately, how you accomplish this is up to you.
- At this point time, you should be well familiar with your learning style.
- Everyone learns differently and you know the best way that you have learned information in the past.
Awareness of your learning style will save a lot of time when studying and memorizing material You likely fall into one of the following three learning styles defined by a plethora of studies:
Visual learners learn best through seeing, and typically prefer visual aids such as flashcards, diagrams, and pictures. Auditory learners learn best by hearing verbal or vocalizing written material. Kinesthetic learners learn best when they are actively hands-on with the material or subject matter.
A mnemonic device is a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something. They may seem a bit outlandish for law school, but every law student is familiar with IRAC and TTIP. These devices can be useful if they help you truly learn the material.
- Making up your own by using the first letter of each definition of a key legal term may help jog your memory when you need it most and even be fun.
- The path to becoming an effective attorney-advocate leads to the,
- The distance learning program offered by the is tailor-made to meet the needs and demands of students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online, : Memorization Techniques & Learning The Law – California Desert Trial Academy College of Law
Do you need a high IQ to be a lawyer?
Artificial Intelligence Will Not Replace Lawyers With IQ And EQ There are three categories of intelligence in the legal vertical-intellectual, emotional, and artificial. Many lawyers have elevated IQ’s, though relatively few seem to possess high EQ’s- commonly called ‘people skills’.
- Only the best lawyers—trusted advisers- have both.
- Artificial intelligence (AI), a recent entrant in the legal vertical, scores high on IQ, but the jury is still out on whether machines can develop comparable EQ.
- What kind of intelligence is required for legal delivery? The simple answer is: it depends upon the task.
Identifying an appropriate division of labor-who does what—now involves not only human resources but also machines. What, then, makes a human lawyer different from a machine version, and what are the core strengths and limitations of each? Lawyers Are Brighter Than Most People Think Lawyers have amongst the highest average IQ’s of all job categories.
Note: that’s analytical not emotional intelligence. They also have significant formal education and professional licensure-neither of which make them practice ready. But it does provide a degree of analytical rigor. Let’s stipulate that, as a group, the million-plus U.S. lawyers are reasonably intelligent.
How is human intelligence—IQ and EQ- applied to legal practice, and what functions require specialized training and social skills that cannot be performed by machines? Put another way, what are the core functions that lawyers perform, and what attributes differentiate effective human lawyers from machine ones? Short answer: lawyers have analytical skills that enable them to identify client challenges and to apply legal expertise that produces solutions commensurate with client risk tolerance and objectives.
- Great lawyers have a combination of IQ and EQ.
- They combine intellectual agility with an ability to read people.
- And while some of the rote chores that support the work they do—legal research, discovery production review, statistical analysis—can certainly be performed by machines—only human lawyers can synthesize it and communicate it to others in a way that evokes confidence (“I’m sure glad she’s my lawyer!).
This requires EQ as well as IQ. Trial work requires this melding of IQ and EQ, but it applies to other practice areas, too. The Power And Prevalence Of Persuasion In Law Lawyers are in the persuasion business. They must be persuasive to prospective clients, clients, colleagues, opposing counsel, and the arbiters of disputes.
- What makes an attorney persuasive? There are several common elements—legal expertise, command of the facts, knowing the client’s objective and risk tolerance, appreciating the other side’s case, and an ability to present a cogent, convincing synthesis.
- That’s the IQ side.
- Then there’s EQ- the lawyer’s personality and style.
That’s unique to the individual. It might also be at the core of what separates humans from machines. Robots are being programmed to have personalities and moral compasses, but the ability to connect with others is something that only humans have. Machines eclipse humans in their ability to mine data, but humans bring data to life by applying it usefully and persuasively.
Machines cannot instill confidence as a great lawyer can. Consider medicine where machines have been used for decades. Robots sometimes perform surgery, but it’s the doctor that is the ultimate decision maker and the one in whom the patient reposes confidence. That relationship between doctor and patient—as well as attorney and client—is built upon trust and is something that cannot be replaced by machines.
Emotional Intelligence Is More Important Than Ever EQ—the ability to read people, to establish credibility, and to connect with them-is grossly undervalued in the legal industry. Paradoxically, as technology has emerged as a key component in legal delivery, emotional intelligence has become more important than ever.
- That’s because technology has spawned disaggregation and a supply chain.
- Integration of the supply chain requires collaboration between and among different providers, disciplines, and cultures.
- This, in turn, requires EQ-oriented skills that most lawyers have neither been taught at school nor honed on the job.
Collaborative skills are important as the boundaries between law and other professional services become blurred. Lawyers must be able not only to collaborate with other lawyers—inside and outside their organization—but also with staff, paraprofessionals, other disciplines, and even machines.
Inter-generational collaboration is also essential in today’s marketplace Lawyers must have the ability not only to relate well to younger generations but also to be open to providing them—and the new skill sets and perspective they bring- a seat at the management table. Cultural sensitivity and awareness is also important as society and the legal workplace becomes more diverse and global.
EQ has long been regarded by lawyers as ‘squishy’ ‘feminine,’ or largely irrelevant. That’s when the world—and legal delivery—was very different. EQ is a vital form of intelligence-and always has been- the legal industry would do well to prize, teach, promote, reinforce, and reward.
- It is the major differentiator between humans and machines.
- Artificial Intelligence: The New Smart Kid In Class (AI) has emerged as a third form of legal intelligence.
- It has already been ‘employed’ by a number of in-house legal departments and law firms.
- Technology is rapidly moving from data collection and the creation of benchmarks to substituting for certain human functions—including those once performed by lawyers.
And if you are skeptical about machines performing legal tasks because of their ‘complexity’, don’t be. Consider that Accenture, provider of high-level strategic services to the Fortune 500, announced in December, 2016 that 5% of its workforce is not human.
And that percentage is certain to grow. It’s understandable that AI evokes dread, fear, and uncertainty. But it also has great potential to improve the delivery of legal services. For example, AI can play an important role ameliorating the access to justice crisis. That’s not to suggest that it will replace lawyers, but it can certainly be leveraged to reduce their price tag that is out of reach for most people requiring ‘retail’ legal services (divorce, housing issues, immigration, etc.).
AI can be used to address important but relatively simple legal problems. Take, for example, DoNotPay, a robotic online service that’s already serviced hundreds of thousands of customers. Its initial application was defending parking tickets— now it also provides Government housing assistance in the UK, deploying bots.
What’s important here—and equally applicable to the corporate segment of the market—is that AI is another resource to make legal resources more accessible, cost-effective, efficient, and measurable. How, when, under whose supervision, and at what cost it is deployed is another issue. Will lawyers be working side-by-side with robots? Yes.
Technology is already an integral component of legal delivery, and AI is simply the next phase. The challenge will be for lawyers—or others managing the legal delivery process—to find the right mix and level of supervision for human and humanoid. My friend Ken Grady, an astute observer of the legal industry, envisions the ‘augmented lawyer,’ one made more efficient, effective, and affordable by collaboration with machine.
That sounds right to me. Conclusion Legal expertise remains a lawyer’s core skill, but it takes more than that to thrive in the current marketplace. Today’s lawyers also require – technological proficiency, project management, and financial basics to cite a few. They also need ‘people skills’ to complement professional ones.
Being a lawyer involves earning client confidence and trust. That requires not only technical competence but also an ability to understand, communicate, and manage relationships with others in the legal delivery process-most especially clients. Lawyers that combine IQ, professional skills, and EQ will never be replaced, no matter how smart AI becomes.
What attracts you to be a lawyer?
1) It offers diverse career options – With a multitude of positions and an ever-expanding range of practice areas, law offers you the opportunity to specialise in what you find personally interesting. Family, environmental and criminal law are just a handful of the routes you can go down.
Do law students have free time?
Be selfish with your schedule but generous with your time – Last week, Bentley Tolk of the Legal Marketing Launch Podcast and I had the opportunity to review and discuss several principles from Cal Newport’s latest book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World,
- I wish this book came out before I enrolled in law school.
- Needless to say, I highly recommend this book – as well as Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success & Happiness – to anyone who is going to embark on the law school journey.
- And believe me, it is quite the journey.
Newport defines “deep work” as “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.” Alternatively, he defines “shallow work” as “noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted.
These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.” To successfully transform into a “depth devotee,” Newport outlines four rules: i) work deeply; ii) embrace boredom; iii) quit social media; and iv) drain the shallows. His main tactics for developing “deep work” muscles are to create artificial constraints on your schedule, carefully block out deep work hours, and preserve these hours against incursion.
Newport’s four rules set the foundation for developing these “deep work” muscles. If done properly, law school is the ultimate intensive training course for becoming a “deep work” expert. If one treated law school like a full-time job, he or she may spend forty hours a week in class and studying.
Through my encounters in law school, I’ve discovered that many students who just finished undergraduate school and many professionals coming from the work force have a hard time adjusting to the daily mental grind and exam-focused approach of “law school life.” But the top 10% of students seem to have an innate understanding of the “deep work” principles.
The most successful law students are selfish with their schedule. They are not Facebooking, Tweeting, or texting during their study hours. The most successful students are more productive in less time than the other 90% of their peers. As the random motivation poster states, “it’s not the hours you put in, it’s what you put in the hours.” In law school and life, habits can make or break you.
- They can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
- To support the best habits, Newport highlights an “arsenal of routines and rituals designed with the science of limited willpower in mind to maximize the amount of deep work you consistently accomplish in your schedule.” It may sound counterintuitive, but by being selfish with your law school schedule you will actually have more free time to allocate to outside activities.
Students who are most committed to their daily-study schedules will have the most free time. If one treated law school like a full-time job, he or she may spend forty hours a week in class and studying. I know many successful law students who spent less time than this, I know several students who spent more time.
Law school can become quite insular if you let it. But if you are committed to a study schedule, you will have more free time than you peers to get out of the law school bubble. In my law school experience, I have witnessed people have mental breakdowns, gain weight, and end relationships due to unhealthy “work-life balances.” Hopefully by the end of law school, you will find a purpose, not just employment.
If you treat law school like a full-time job, than you still have eight free hours a day (assuming you need eight hours of sleep). Newport suggests you view this free time as a “day within a day.” In other words, you should and can make deliberate use of your time outside of law school.
By committing to a study schedule, you will have more free time to volunteer and do pro bono work, network and participate in your state and local bar association, stay in touch or reconnect with friends and family, and enjoy your favorite hobbies, By being selfish with your schedule, you can be generous with your time.
There is no reason you should wait until after law school to network or volunteer. At the beginning of this post, I mentioned another book, Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge, In his book, Olson reminds the reader of Parkinson’s Law – work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
Parkinson’s Law is another critical reason to set a schedule, or create artificial constraints. If you don’t run your day, your day will run you. Olson warns his readers that if they have bad habits time will expose them, but if they have good habits time will promote them. At the beginning of this blog series, I promised that these posts would contain the information my peers and I wish we had known before embarking on our law school journey.
I hope an idea or two has resonated with you. For those readers who plan on attending law school in the fall, I wish you all the best. Please remember, with experiences like law school, it is easy to become one-track-minded and singularly focused. But it is important to regularly recognize people who have helped you achieve your personal success.
What GPA do you need for law school?
What is a good GPA to get into law school? – Only a very few law schools and colleges accept potential student candidates with an undergraduate GPA of 3.49 or lower. Most prestigious law schools require a GPA of 3.85 or higher. However, statistics show that some undergraduates have been accepted at Yale and Harvard with a GPA score of 3.56 and 3.50, respectively, although they likely had a higher LSAT score, excellent recommendations, and an optimal personal statement.
Are law school classes everyday?
Law School Schedule In General – Most law schools offer classes at a variety of times during the day. Morning classes might start as early as 7:45 am, and the final evening class can begin later than 6:00 pm. This does not mean that students are in classes all day every day.
- Most students take an average of four classes each semester.
- Just like in undergrad, law school courses are not scheduled every day.
- Some classes are scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays, others for Tuesdays and Thursdays, and some follow other combinations.
- Generally, classes worth more credits meet only once or twice a week but for longer sessions; classes worth fewer credits may meet only once or may meet more frequently but for a shorter amount of time.
Additionally, many schools have a “lunch hour” when no classes are held. This time not only allows students to recharge for the afternoon but also provides time for student-run clubs to meet and for special guest speakers to offer presentations. Most classes are scheduled Monday through Thursday while only a handful of classes are offered on Fridays.
How important is the law school you attend?
The Benefits of Attending Law School – Attending law school can be an excellent decision to further your education. A law degree can lead to a high earning potential, increased job opportunities and a broad professional network. This degree can also grow your critical thinking and communication skills. We explore a few potential benefits of law school below.
Why do I want to go into law?
7 reasons to study law at university What do Barack and Michelle Obama, Mahatma Ghandi, Rebel Wilson and David Stern all have in common? They each have a law degree, but have all used it in different ways. A opens doors to many different opportunities.