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Would you recommend doing a gap year between undergrad and law school?

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I'm currently at college as an undergrad and considering law school #lawyer #law-school #college

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15 answers

John’s Answer

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Libby, a GAP YEAR might not be beneficial if your specific university your attending is a feeder schools to an elite law school. You don't mention were you are in your studies, have you graduated or are you between your Freshman & Sophomore year? As you think about these gap year pros and cons below, know that by considering a gap year you are daring to step off the beaten track. Whether you should take a gap year or not really is a debatable topic as both sides have equally strong points. Is taking a gap year the right thing for you? If you have productive plans for your gap year, can afford it and won’t feel left out then it’s great, go ahead. But if you have a tight budget or don’t have anything planned out, its best to stick with not taking a gap year.

PROS OF A GAP YEAR

HELP PAY TUITION – Let’s face it. College is expensive these days. Even if you’re attending an in-state public institution, the cost of tuition could be around $5,000 per semester. That’s a lot of debt to handle when you eventually earn a degree and get into a job that you’re passionate about. If you can take a job during your gap year and save what you earn, even if it is only part-time work, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of student debt being carried in the future.

CONS OF A GAP YEAR

EXPENSIVE – Gap years might not be everyone’s piece of cake right from the start. When you decide what you want to do with this time in hand, you could come up with some really extravagant ideas. Even if they may prove to be worthwhile and overwhelming experiences, the fact that you are going to add a quite few expenditures on your living is undeniable. Well, if you decide to travel around the world during your gap year then, depending on your location and duration of stay, you might have to pay a good amount of money. It won’t be a concern if you’re financially prepared for it but for most of the people, it might not be that easy way to go.

TEMPTATION – Even though up to 50% of students will return to their educational pursuits after taking a gap year, there is an important 50% that does not. Some students decide that educational studies are too stressful, too rigorous, or too structured to fit their needs. Instead of pursuing a high-skill career, they decide to work in entry-level positions – if you decide to even work at all. It can be easy to lose sight of your educational investment during your gap year.

MOMENTUM – There is a lot of value in having good studying habits. You’ll be breaking those habits when you take a gap year, which means you’ll need to re-establish them if/when you decide to come back to school. Although the stress reduction and personal enjoyment that comes with a gap year can recharge your batteries and be a refreshing back, returning to the learning routine can be very difficult. Life can be very different when returning to school after taking some time off, which is why some students don’t come back.

THERE ARE FOUR GOALS TO BECOMING A LAWER LIBBY

GOAL 1.) BACHELOR'S DEGREE – Your undergraduate experiences generally have numerous writing assignments and research projects which prepare you for your Law School Admission Test. Assignments may range from covering theoretical concepts in political science to making arguments in moot court, a seminar-like activity allowing you to play various roles in a trial.

GOAL 2.) LAW SCHOOL ADMISSIONS TEST (LSAT) – In order to enter law school, applicants must take the LSAT as undergraduates. Students then submit college transcripts, LSAT scores and completed applications. After reviewing applications, law schools notify candidates whether they are accepted or not.

GOAL 3.) JURIS DOCTORATE (JD) DEGREE – Law school generally lasts three years and culminates with you receiving your JD degree. Programs begin by covering fundamental topics in civil procedure and constitutional law. This may be done through case-study and precedent analysis, which is when you read over previous cases in order to understand the arguments made by both sides and the final decision rendered. Once core requirements are complete, in your second and third years you'll take electives, such as bankruptcy or family law. These opportunities allow law students to help prepare cases, revise arguments and gain better understandings of day-to-day practices in law offices or courts.

GOAL 4.) THE BAR EXAME – In order to practice law, attorneys must be licensed. Although some states practice reciprocity, allowing lawyers who have passed another state's bar to practice within their borders, each state has its own respective licensing exam. Additionally, some states may require graduates to take the Multi-state Performance Test, the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination, a local state bar exam or all three exams.

Libby, law school can be the most challenging and rewarding years of your life. These gap year pros and cons look at the various benefits and setbacks that are possible. None of them are guaranteed. Some people thrive during their gap year, then return to school ready to pursue their chosen career. Others discover that they don’t miss school and feel like they will not need it in the future. Maybe you’ll discover who you are during a gap year. Maybe you will not. If you create a plan before starting it, you will give yourself the best chance to have a successful, refreshing experience.

Hope this was Helpful Libby
Thank you so much for this advice! I have a lot to think about and am very excited. Libby E. Translate
You are very Welcome Libby, It was my Pleasure. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible.” John Frick Translate
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William’s Answer

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Personally, I would take a gap year and start to volunteer at pro bono places as well as seeing if you get employment at a law firm in any capacity to get your foot in the door. This will allow you to explore to see if you even want to become a lawyer and in what capacity. If you like it and it's your passion, then you know you're on the right path. Meanwhile you'll be creating a great web of connections so that when you pass the bar exam, you've got some experience to jump right in. I would also use the gap year as a chance to study for LSAT and to apply to every scholarship you can to help pay for school.
Thank you so much! I love idea of volunteering at pro bono places to gain experience. Libby E. Translate
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David’s Answer

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It would depend on why you want to do the gap year between going from undergrad to law school. I will say 50/50 because from experiences I have friends, family and classmate who did do gap year due to personal reason as well as taking a short break to refresh their mind and then continues on working towards the law degree. If you are doing the gap year and in between you are doing some related work either some to minimum then I do not believes there is anything wrong or considering this option as long as you feel you will finish what you started and not give up.
Thank you so much! Libby E. Translate
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Sam’s Answer

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I would suggest taking a gap year to seek out as much on-the-job, real world training in your area of interest before going on to professional school. It not only teaches you about yourself, but also allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and will give you training for practical skills that will help you get more out of any professional degree you choose to pursue after the gap year!
Thank you so much! I definitely have been considering a gap year due to these reasons. Libby E. Translate
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Janna’s Answer

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Agree that this really depends on what you plan to do. If you want to take a break and travel, go for it. If you plan to gain work experience that is relevant in your field, also go for it. Consider if taking time will give you a leg up in any way with getting into the best law program for you. Consider also how sure you are that you want to attend law school at all. If you're still deciding, it might be worth taking some time away.
Thank you so much Janna! Libby E. Translate
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Riley’s Answer

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This really just depends on what you would do with the gap year. If you want to take a year to move back home and work to gain experience in your field while having money, this is a great option! It will look good on your resume to do an internship so if you didn't do that during undergrad, maybe now is the time. However, the biggest downside to a gap year is when students lose focus of what they're doing. All too often people became comfortable in their current job and decide not to go back to school.
Avoiding loosing focus is definitely an issue. Thank you so much! Libby E. Translate
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Sam’s Answer

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I would suggest taking a gap year to seek out as much on-the-job, real world training in your area of interest before going on to professional school. It not only teaches you about yourself, but also allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and will give you training for practical skills that will help you get more out of any professional degree you choose to pursue after the gap year!
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Demetrio’s Answer

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I would recommend a gap year between Undergraduate studies and Law School. This would be the buffer to help you decide if the Law is what you want to pursue. You can work in a law office or work under the auspices of a legal entity, judge, etc, to fortify your interest and support, along with networking and preparing yourself for law school. You can ask questions and better focus yourself instead of following the crowd, immediately, to graduate school. Other opportunities may present themselves during this gap year.

Of course, you may have made up your mind and already have things in place. Law School may be the immediate step for you.

A time to reflect is very valuable. After all, my brother took a year off and worked for a Judge. He found Law School a delight. His work for the Judge promoted an interest in a Legal non-profit: Raising funds for the assistance to Judges in order to promote Legal Solutions and research online.

I did very well in my undergraduate career and I was accepted to several Law Schools. I just was not sure Law School was my direction. So, I worked for a Judge, instead of enrolling right away, at a large insurance company, who tested me everyday about my direction towards the law. It was a great experience for me. In short, I stepped away and went into my family restaurant business with my Father and, eventually, sold the business, allowed my Father to retire, and I headed to a management position in a Bank and, today, I am a Commercial Lending Officer with Berkshire Bank. I have run the gamut in life and I have been rewarded in different ways. I have learned so much and experienced many different aspects of life.

The key is make sure you are committed before any decisions. Then, adapt with your choices.
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Blake’s Answer

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Hey Libby,

I would recommend trying to get a job at a law office to keep learning in your field.

Thanks,
Blake
Thank you! Libby E. Translate
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Demetrio’s Answer

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I would recommend a gap year between Undergraduate studies and Law School. This would be the buffer to help you decide if the Law is what you want to pursue. You can work in a law office or work under the auspices of a legal entity, judge, etc, to fortify your interest and support, along with networking and preparing yourself for law school. You can ask questions and better focus yourself instead of following the crowd, immediately, to graduate school. Other opportunities may present themselves during this gap year.

Of course, you may have made up your mind and already have things in place. Law School may be the immediate step for you.

A time to reflect is very valuable. After all, my brother took a year off and worked for a Judge. He found Law School a delight. His work for the Judge promoted an interest in a Legal non-profit: Raising funds for the assistance to Judges in order to promote Legal Solutions and research online.

I did very well in my undergraduate career and I was accepted to several Law Schools. I just was not sure Law School was my direction. So, I worked for a Judge, instead of enrolling right away, at a large insurance company, who tested me everyday about my direction towards the law. It was a great experience for me. In short, I stepped away and went into my family restaurant business with my Father and, eventually, sold the business, allowed my Father to retire, and I headed to a management position in a Bank and, today, I am a Commercial Lending Officer with Berkshire Bank. I have run the gamut in life and I have been rewarded in different ways. I have learned so much and experienced many different aspects of life.

The key is make sure you are committed before any decisions. Then, adapt with your choices.
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Georgina’s Answer

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Taking a year off before making the significant financial commitment of entering law school is an excellent idea. You should use that year to really understand what a legal career requires and determine if it really a good fit for you. You can also enhance your admission package by working in the legal field, which will show your commitment to the profession. Law school is an expensive proposition, and you shouldn't take on the debt unless you are certain it will be a career you can see yourself in for at least enough time to pay back the loans.
Thank you! Libby E. Translate
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Savanna (Savi)’s Answer

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Hi Libby,

While I didn't go to law school, I found the time between undergrad and graduate school incredibly invaluable. For one, to be totally honest, it was very beneficial to work full time to have some savings. Secondly, it was a great time to meet new people and socialize. I found these friends very valuable as post-college friendships can be difficult. Thirdly, I believe I can participate in graduate level discussions at a high level based on my work experience and age. I feel like my experience has made me more aware of how the world works that college shielded me from. This has led to more understanding in my graduate level classes and challenged my learning more.

Best of luck!
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Thomas’s Answer

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Lots of good comments and advice in the answers already posted, but I'll add this: When I went to law school, the classmates of mine that had done something else, besides coming straight from undergrad, generally handled the pressures of law school better. In addition, they had better ideas of what they wanted to do after they graduated. Plenty of students who came straight from undergrad also were great students, so it really depends on you.
That is a really good thing to think about. Thank you! Libby E. Translate
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Lee’s Answer

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I would recommend not taking a break unless it is for an internship or a job that is relevant to your career path. It was hard for me to get motivated to go back to school after taking a year off between my undergrad and my masters.
Thank you so much! This is definitely something I need to keep in mind. Libby E. Translate
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Georgina’s Answer

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Taking a year off before making the significant financial commitment of entering law school is an excellent idea. You should use that year to really understand what a legal career requires and determine if it really a good fit for you. You can also enhance your admission package by working in the legal field, which will show your commitment to the profession. Law school is an expensive proposition, and you shouldn't take on the debt unless you are certain it will be a career you can see yourself in for at least enough time to pay back the loans.
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