It’s going to sound cliché, but as I approached the end of my 2L summer I started asking myself what I could do to leave the law school better than I had found it. It had been a bumpy road for me, largely because of my own struggles as a first-generation law student. Although I felt very confident about my own future, having secured a job offer with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, I realized that others were dealing with similar issues and I decided that founding a First-Generation Law Students Association (FGLSA) at Seton Hall Law School was the way to go. With plenty of help from administration and other students, the group was successfully formed in September of 2018. The mission of the organization is to create a community for all first-generation students to come together to tackle law school and the legal profession with support. FGLSA now has roughly 60 members, with more joining every week.
Congratulations! You’ve been admitted to a few different law schools! Now – you just need to figure out how to pay for it! You thought the hard part was over – but, now, it seems like it is just beginning. Let me help you get a realistic vision of what to expect/what not to expect with regards to paying for law school. Let me first encourage you to have an open mind and to not necessarily be dissuaded from applying to a school because of a “sticker” price. The truth is that in many cases you will simply not know how much a given law school will cost you until you have been admitted – at which time you may also be assessed for scholarship eligibility. So – don’t be scared off from applying because a particular school appears to have higher tuition. It will be your decision where to attend when all the facts and figures are available for comparison.
Now – here we go -
The Weekend JD program is now about half-way through its second successful year, and with two classes having gone through the admissions process, with a third in the works, I thought it would be a good time to reflect back at the questions I’ve received during this time. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received in the last 2 years.
Prospective law students have always been interested in the bar passage success rates of schools they’re considering attending. After all, while a law degree is a prerequisite to taking the bar almost everywhere, passing the bar is a prerequisite to actually practicing law in almost all states.
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 I was a law student.
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.