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Tips for applying to law school

Undergrad in social work with a minor in political science. The goal is to obtain my msw and attending law school later down the road. #lawyer #law-school #law-practice

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Angie’s Answer

Hi Brenda,

There are several steps you will need to take to apply to law school:

- Take the LSAT exam and try your best to score as high as possible. You might want to take a course that will prepare you for the LSAT - or at the very minimum invest in resources such as study guides and books to prepare you.

- Prepare your letter of recommendations and give the people who will be writing them (professors, supervisors etc.) plenty of time to write them.

- Write a strong personal statement which allows the committee to know who you are and why you would make an excellent candidate for law school.

- Include your resume but make sure your personal statement does not reflect it too closely (remember, the personal statement is telling the committee more about YOU as a person).

- Research schools that will be a good fit for you (specialities, location, tuition, etc.) and apply early.

Hope the above helps. All the best!

Angie recommends the following next steps:

Take the LSAT exam and try your best to score as high as possible. You might want to take a course that will prepare you for the LSAT - or at the very minimum invest in resources such as study guides and books to prepare you.
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Nick’s Answer

Echoing the advice given above about going in understanding the extent of the time and monetary investment. Often times there is a misconception that there is a path to law school which usually involves a political science or humanities undergrad. This is not the case. In fact, applicants who already have a specialized career/education can be very competitive. I am not familiar with the MSW, but I would venture to say there are specialized opportunities for a MSW/JD in government and non-profit. I suggest you identify your primary passion and start there. Based on your post, MSW is your main focus, so start there keeping your options open later down the road. If you first purse a MSW, do you best to earn great grades as law schools will request transcripts. I also recommend investing in a formal LSAT preparation course - it is a steep up front cost (I think like 1-2k) but an LSAT score of 5-10 points higher (out of 180) can be the difference between no financial aid and substantial scholarships.
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Kim’s Answer

Hi Brenda,

I'm not sure of the plan you have for yourself! How long do you want to be a practicing MSW before going to law school? What is the reason you want to do that, as opposed to just going to law school, if I might ask?

I am asking all these questions because, I don't want to just say, "Well, if it was me . . . !" However, if it was me, I'd consider going straight to law school. Reasons?
1. your brain is attuned to the idea of learning!
2. finances. Getting both an MSW and a law degree will be expensive
3. family. If you start a family, that will make it even more difficult (but, not impossible!)
4. health. Health can take a turn for the worst at any time. If this is a lifelong dream, I wouldn't put it off.

But, that being said, I do believe we benefit a lot more from advanced degree programs if we have some life experience behind us first. And, if the area of law you want to get into is related to Social Work, I can see your point.

So, regardless which way you go, I want to encourage you to challenge yourself academically as much as possible while in undergrad school. That would include taking the tough teachers, not the easy ones. Getting familiar with accounting/finance, Truly learning grammar. I have read too many cases that hinged on the grammatical interpretation of a statute, and I had no idea what they were talking about! A Latin vocabulary class, if offered. Debate team, speech team. Pre-law club. Moot Court, if offered. And definitely, most definitely, take Logic!

I would also recommend belonging to Toastmistress club throughout your professional career, to work on your speech skills. And do whatever you can to stay current with technology.

Hope this helps!
Best of luck!
Kim
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Rachel’s Answer

GPA and LSAT will be the most important aspects to your application. Make sure you major in something that will allow you to maintain an excellent GPA. Take an LSAT prep course.
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Richard’s Answer

If you really want to attend law school, stay focused and plan small steps toward your goal. After you attend college, prepare for the LSAT. You can either study on your own or pay for a review course. You have options to go to law school in three years, or some schools even have night programs where you can attend part time. Through your experience getting your MSW, you will probably gain insight on whether you want to be a public defender, bankruptcy lawyer, or maybe work for legal aid, etc. Focus any volunteer work or free time on these areas.
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