As I looked back upon the advice I gave about a year ago on this topic – it struck me that despite some activity on the “LSAT or GRE Issue”, that not really much has changed – and, therefore my advisement is not much different today than it was then. This is why law schools care about your LSAT score.
I am often asked if it is worthwhile for prospective law students to invest in Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) Prep. In the past, my answer has often been a ‘soft yes’ because the answer is dependent upon the individual’s study habits, time constraints and most notably their financial situation. I’ve been reluctant to be 'all in' on a test prep recommendation, knowing that for many aspiring law students the financial constraints of commercial prep services are prohibitive.
But I also know that the LSAT is a high stakes standardized test – and applicants should do anything and everything they can to position themselves to have as many law school choices as possible. I am so pleased to finally be able to give a ‘hard yes’ to the question, now that there is free, flexible, fully online LSAT prep.
Law school is one of the most demanding academic challenges that a student can face. Reading dozens of pages to prepare for class, learning a new way of critically thinking and carefully writing, searching for valuable work experience, and establishing relationships with fellow students and professors require lots of time and attention. When thinking about my own law school experience, as well as my experiences with students to date, there are a few key themes that seem crucial to success:
I loved law school. I had great teachers, I made great friends, I was challenged daily with the material we learned in class, and (most importantly) I met my wife. It was a glorious time. And to all of the 1Ls, you’re in for the time of your life.
To help you through your journey over the next three or four years, I’d like to share some tips and words of wisdom that I wish I had when I was in your shoes.
Every great law school fosters an environment where students are allowed to pick a side and argue their position. However, one thing that remains constant in the minds of every law student is that the rigor of law school can be a lot to balance. Whether it be juggling class readings, moot court, work, family, or other commitments, the load can often times feel insurmountable.
So why would I suggest adding the SBA to the mix? The answer is simple.
I encourage my law students to notice what successful law students do and to adopt these behaviors. Savvy learners realize that professors want you to succeed. Professors use a class syllabus and class policies to guide you toward success. Early on in each course, note the professor’s office hours and best contact method. Why? The professor is inviting you to engage with the material outside of class time—take advantage of this invitation.
Imagine this scenario. You read all of the assigned cases for Contracts, highlighted the parts that seem important in different colors, and even skimmed the notes and questions following the cases. That means you are prepared to effectively participate in class, right? Not quite.
It is one of the most confounding issues facing many first-year law students. No, it is not the parol evidence rule or the rule against perpetuities. (Two bar admissions later, I still haven’t mastered that one.) It is the first draft of a legal cover letter. Many students have had very limited experience in composing cover letters prior to law school. Add to that the fact that the legal cover letter, much like a legal resume, can vary greatly from that of different professions and industries.
Celebrating diversity in the legal profession and in our lives in general is something we should all strive to do. As a result of this endeavor, we will eventually find ourselves in a discussion about a sensitive subject that we may find uncomfortable. When that happens, try not to let the uncomfortableness sideline the discussion! Below are some strategies you can use to make a conversation about an important or difficult topic a little bit easier.
The Waiting is the Hardest Part
After all the hard work that goes into completing and submitting an application for law school, it can be disappointing to find out that you have been waitlisted at one of your top choice schools. Being waitlisted can be particularly troubling for people used to being proactive, so we often get questions about the process moving forward. Here are some things to keep in mind: